Back pain is a common problem that people of any age face with. According to the National Institute of Health, about 80% of adult Americans will experience any type of back pain at some point in their life. What if you are dealing with back pain and don’t know how to relieve it. The pain you are feeling every day is getting in the way of everything making it very painful or impossible to perform daily tasks.
How about when you are a very active person and exercise regularly? Will exercise make your back pain worse? Is it safe to work out with back pain?
How exercise can help prevent an injury?
You probably know that it is very important to stay physically active in order to enjoy a healthy life and keep your body fit. This is also important to prevent injuries to the back in the future if you are already facing a back problem now. However, did you know that it is very important to stay active while you are having an injury as well, so you can speed up the recovery process and get rid of that back pain as soon as possible?
As long as you are very careful when it comes to how much stress you are putting on the injury and you watch the range of motion, regular movement is therapeutic and necessary for the rehabilitation. Even though it might seem strange, lying down or sitting will make the pain even worse and prolonged the recovery period. However, you should listen to your own body and know what and when you should exercise. It is very important not to overdo it, and if you feel intense pain to just relax or take it a little bit easier, but still keep yourself active as much as you can.
Bed rest, especially for a prolonged time in cases of severe back injuries can lead to other health issues like muscle loss, blood clots in the legs, including depression.
Can you work out with back pain?
As mentioned, bed rest is recommended only during the first couple of days after the injury. After two to three days, or even more, based on your condition and severity of the injury, you should start moving and becoming active as much as possible. How much you will be able to exercise is individual, but listening to your body and not overdoing it will help. However, make sure not to move and exercise in a way that will make your pain even worse.
Ideally, your exercise should consist of building strength, aerobic fitness, and flexibility movements. By gaining muscle strength, especially in your core, you will not only have better support for your spine, but you will also increase the flexibility and the range of motion. Cardio exercises will increase the blood flow to your back, which will, of course, speed up the recovery period and reduce muscle stiffness.
It is recommended to start with a cardio warm-up for about 10 to 15 minutes. Make sure to always warm up your body correctly before moving forward with other exercises. If you can’t exercise yourself and need the support from specialists, you can always consult one of our physical therapists, who will gladly answer all your specific questions regarding your pain, but also offer a personalised plan on how to return to your work-out routine and recover as soon as possible.
Exercises for different types of back pain
Based on the type of injury you have and the back pain you are feeling, there are various exercises with which you can start your recovery. The following exercises are recommended for mild or moderate back pain, but you should keep in mind that everyone is individual and have a different response to the pain and injury.
If your back pain is also accompanied by a tingling sensation and numbness on your lower extremities or pain then you should seek professional medical help from a doctor or a physical therapist before starting with the exercises in order to correctly evaluate your condition and give you the green light for exercising or recommend any other treatment if needed.
These exercises will also prevent any recurrent back pain, so make sure to exercise even when you are not in pain and not only when you are facing a back problem.
Upper or middle back pain
If you are experiencing upper or middle back pain, focus on strengthening the posterior chain which is made up pf the muscles found along the back of the body. Exercises recommended for this purpose are overhead presses, deadlifts, lat pulldowns, rows, etc. Besides strength training, you should also work on increasing the mobility and range of motion. Chest stretches or a Child’s pose are also recommended in this case.
Pregnancy back pain
If you are experiencing back pain because you are pregnant, low intensity exercises a couple of times a week are recommended in order to ease the pain. The best time to exercise is the second half of your pregnancy. Some of the exercises recommended for this type of back pain are curl-ups, knee pulls, pelvic tilts, Kegal exercises, lateral straight leg raises, water aerobics, etc. However, as the pregnancy progresses you should modify the exercises and slow it down based on how you will feel.
Pulled muscle back pain
If you are experiencing back pain because of a pulled muscle you should start with simple movements like bending over through your legs and not the back. Once putting on socks or tying your shoes becomes possible, you can start with further exercises. As long as putting on socks or tying up your shoes is impossible and very painful you should not continue with other types of exercise as they can make your back problem even worse. Instead in the meantime, try with simple movements until you will feel better.
Muscle spasms back pain
If you are experiencing back pain because of muscle spasms you should start with simple movements like bending over or squatting before you start with other exercises, especially weight training.
In conclusion, physical exercise is very important during the recovery period after an injury of the back, and bed rest, as well as, a sedentary life will make the situation worse. However, you should listen to your own body and start with easy movements. If needed, book an appointment and consult a physical therapist.