Millions of Americans suffer from lower back pain, and as a result, many of them stop exercising for fear of making their pain worse. The news is, you may not have to.
These are some simple exercises you may be able to do despite your back pain––and it may even help alleviate some of those symptoms. Now, this may not apply to everyone. Back pain is caused and manifests differently for everyone, so before you hit the mat, talk to your doctor. Get your doctor’s instruction on how you can exercise safely.
Walking can be one of the best activities for back pain. It’s a great, low-impact way of getting exercise that generally won’t put strain on your back. Walking also puts you in a position that puts the least strain on your spine.
Recreational swimming is a good way to get exercise without the back pain. When we submerge ourselves in a pool, the buoyancy we experience helps take pressure off our muscles and joints. Not everyone’s back pain will disappear in a pool––in fact, it may hurt more to do some swimming strokes. But if you want to venture into the pool, start with simple standing leg exercises, and work your way to swimming. Just don’t push it if your back begins to hurt.
Yoga can involve “extreme ranges of motion” that can make back pain worse, but there are plenty of moves that go easy on your back. Stick to what feels comfortable for you. If you go to a class, talk with the instructor first and he/she may be able to give you extra tips on how to protect your back. Yoga can be a great way to ease muscle strain and back pain!
I’m not saying go and squat 100lbs. What I am saying is if you’re already accustomed to lifting, you may continue doing it. Exercise is one of the best ways to alleviate back pain, and weight lifting is part of that. Just be careful. If you’re not already a weight lifter, start small or start with just your own body weight. Squats are a great way to strengthen glutes and hips which can help support your lower back.
The Mayo Clinic is a fantastic resource for learning about back pain. In this article, they go over (with pictures!) eight stretches to help alleviate and manage back pain. The best part is, these stretches should only take about 15 minutes each day! (You can also check out our list of stretches you can incorporate into your daily routine.)
Are there any exercises you personally do to help your back pain? What’s your experience been like?