A natural response to back pain is to avoid strenuous activity and rest. This is far from the truth. While resting for a day or two after the onset of back pain or injury may be a good idea, any longer than that may hinder the healing process and worsen the pain. Studies show exercising strengthens the lower back, core, leg and arm muscles to help alleviate and prevent back pain, as well as increase the blood flow to the back area, which may decrease stiffness and promote healing.
Staying as physically active as possible and exercising regularly are one of the best things people experiencing back pain can do to relieve the pain and strengthen core muscles. You will want to start slowly with an exercise program so you don't hurt yourself. Here are some of the best exercises to relieve back pain:
Low-impact aerobic exercises are best to start with. These include:
Walking is the easiest way to start any exercise program and should be done for 10 to 15 minutes twice a day.
Swimming is another great way to reduce back pain because the water helps support your body.
If you enjoy bike riding, this is another good option. Just make sure to keep your spine upright.
Strengthening exercises can provide back pain relief. These include:
Pilates, Yoga and Tai Chi to help your spine become stronger. Personal preference and trial and error are the best way to find the right program for you.
Stretches may help calm low-back spasms and include:
Press-Ups is a back-friendly stretch. Just lie on your stomach, place both hands on the floor like you're starting to do a push-up, press your body upwards, allowing your back to sag. Make sure to keep your hips close to the floor, hold the position for a few seconds and repeat eight to 10 times.
Cat Stretches can help to lengthen your back, make it stronger and alleviate tension in the muscles. You can do this by getting on your hands and knees with your knees hip-wide apart, arching your back by pulling your belly button up towards your spine, slowly relaxing your muscles to allow your abdomen to sag toward the floor. Return to the starting position and repeat three to five times, twice a day.
Pelvic Tilt exercises can release tight back muscles to keep them flexible. Lie back on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat, keeping your arms by your sides. Gently arch your back and push your stomach out, holding for five seconds, then relax. Flatten your back and pull your belly button toward the ground and hold for five seconds, then relax. Slowly increase your daily repetitions to 30 a day.
Always consult with your physician before starting an exercise routine for back pain. Depending on the cause and severity of your back pain, some exercises may be harmful. If the pain persists and lasts longer than 15 minutes, stop exercising and contact your physician.