Many people who experience back pain seek passive forms of pain management. Heat therapy, cold therapy, massage and pain medications are all common forms of passive pain management for people suffering from back pain. While these methods can be effective, active pain management like exercise is also an effective method for reducing back pain. Knowing how exercise can alleviate your back pain and what kinds of exercise are best can help you manage your back pain.
Why does exercise help with back pain?
Exercise helps people with back pain in a variety of ways.
- Endurance affects posture. A person's strength and endurance—particularly in the abdominal muscles--can affect their posture over time. Poor posture can lead to lower back pain.
- Muscular strength stabilizes the spine. Strength in the muscles surrounding the back and abdomen can help keep the spine straight while also improving the spine's ability to carry heavy loads. The stronger the muscles are in the area around the spine, the less back pain the person may experience.
- Flexibility reduces strain on the spine. Patients with lower back pain generally exhibit stiffness in the pelvis and back. Flexibility of the spine is mechanically better for performing everyday activities.
What kind of exercises should you do?
Stretches and cardiovascular exercises are both helpful types of exercises for people who experience back pain. Stretches can improve flexibility while cardiovascular exercises can improve strength and endurance.
What are the best stretches for back pain?
There are a variety of stretches that can help with back pain, including a variety of yoga poses. A couple easy to complete stretches include:
- Lay on your back and pull your knees up to your chest. Wrap your arms around your knees and broaden the back so it is stretched and open.
- Lay on your back and put your feet up a wall with the knees straight.
What are the best cardiovascular exercises?
Your doctor should be the one to recommend cardiovascular exercises, particularly if you have a history of heart problems. Swimming is good for the back and the joints. Speak with your healthcare provider before starting a swimming regimen.
Are there any exercises that are bad for the back?
High impact exercises like running can be hard on the joints and can even lead to injuries.
For more information about how exercise can help you manage your back pain, speak with a healthcare provider. He or she can tell you more about reducing your back pain.
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