Exercise and Chronic Back Pain
When in pain, exercise is probably the last thing you want to do, as it seems to add further pain. But not exercising regularly will cause your pain to get worse as the muscles lose strength and function.
Walking is the best place to start for most people. Most doctors now prescribe exercise for optimal health; it’s not like the old days when they would tell you to be on bed rest. It is reasonable to initially take a short rest (a day or two). Regular activity is the best medicine for chronic pain.
There are many benefits to exercise; some reasons why exercise and activity help relieve chronic pain are…
1) It keeps your joints moving well.
Arthritis is a reason to move, not a reason to not move your body!
2) It helps to keep muscles strong.
Strong muscles equal better bone support. Work your back; don’t neglect to include it as part of your exercise routine. Notice which movements are painful and work around those moves.
3) Being active is great for mental health.
Living with chronic pain can be depressing and may cause anxiety especially if one isn’t able to carry out tasks as once before. Being active boosts self-esteem and confidence, along with a sense of taking control of the situation. Exercising in groups has proven to be beneficial to help motivate & encourage one another.
4) It helps to maintain a healthy weight or lose weight.
Being over weight can add to the pain (both physically and mentally).
What kind of exercises to do…
First, consult your health care provider before starting any new exercise program. Depending on the degree of pain, location of pain, fitness level and what you enjoy doing, a physical therapist can help you develop an exercise program that suits your needs.
Here are some ‘staple’ exercises that are good for most…
Bridge/Single Leg Bridge
Quadruped Alternate Lifts