Is It Safe to Exercise With A Bad Back?

Back Pain Exercise

Let’s talk about exercise and back pain…

Last week one of my patients came to me with a question, and it’s one that we get asked often:

Is it OK to exercise when my back is hurting? I just got into a routine of going to the gym and working out 3 times a week, I really don’t want to stop…”

I understand the frustration, but I also know that the thought of doing any movement at all when you’re going through pain might feel a little scary.

You don’t want to run the risk of aggravating it anymore, just incase it turns into something more serious.

You don’t want to go “too hard” in the gym incase you pull another muscle.

And you don’t want to take up one day to find that you can no longer roll of of bed easily, go for an evening walk or even drive because what you did made it worse.

But don’t let that worry you too much- that’s rarely ever the case!

An aching lower back doesn’t mean you’ve got to be stuck at home with heat and ice packs until it magically disappears.

You CAN keep moving! In fact, not moving at all can make your back pain worse!

Here’s why…

If you suffer from lower back pain that comes and goes, gentle walking paired with exercises designed specifically to improve lower back strength can make a big difference.

Walking is a completely natural movement that keeps your joints mobile and muscles working- even those in your feet, legs, hips and toro- which play an important role in keeping the muscles in your back that hold you up right, strong.

Stretching combined with walking will improve your back strength, flexibility and posture, which in turn, can help stop back pain from creeping up on you when you least expect it. It can even reduce the amount of pain you feel so it can stopping getting the way of your day.

So here’s the important question to answer now that you know it 100% is O.K. to exercise even if you’ve got a bad back…

What exercise can you actually be doing? Because of course, too much exercise or strenuous exercise could make it worse or keep it hanging around longer.

Introducing Yoga.

Even though there are some false beliefs around Yoga, like “you’ve got to be flexible etc., etc… you can ditch those because it’s for everyone!

Let me tell you why- Yoga helps build strength.

Yoga requires you to concentrate on specific muscles in the body while holding poses- many of which improve back strength. When these muscles are stronger, your back pain can be greatly reduced and is less likely to affect you as bad as it once did.

Yoga not only strengthens, but it also relaxes the body and reduces any tension in stress-carrying muscles (a.k.a your back!)

For people with lower back pain, stretching is crucial. Stretching the muscles in your legs actually helps to increase range of motion in your hips. This takes the stress off of your lower back- which in addition increases blood flow, allowing nutrients to flow in, taking care of the muscles in your back.

It’s also one of the best forms of exercise to maintain and improve a healthy posture. Great for your back and can stop back pain it it’s tracks! Not to mention that it feels great when you can walk around confident and tall.

So there you have it, gentle walks and yoga.

Both of these will help you gain back your strength in your back so that you can return to doing the exercise you love the most.

If you want tips to easing back pain, here’s a free special report with 7 top tips to keep active with less back pain, just click below for your free copy:

 

Click Here To Download Your Free Back Pain Guide
Nick Hunter, PT, DPT

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