Spring Newsletter

Best Back Pain Exercises

The magic pill to help your back pain isn't a pill at all, its simply exercise.

When we look at the causes of back pain from degenerative spinal conditions, we may see a common factor: weak core muscles. Your core muscles help support your spine and relieve pressure on discs and nerves. Following a basic exercise plan can help you build these core muscles and relieve many types of back pain.

Before beginning any exercise plan, consult your doctor. They may have a recommended plan for your condition and age, or may refer you to a physical therapist. If given a plan, stick to it! Results take time, and you'll be glad you followed through.

An exercise plan for core muscles may be composed of two key parts: strength training and stretching. Strength training helps build core muscles such as abs, lower back, pelvis and hips. Stretching helps increase flexibility of muscles and joints, increases range of motion, and reduces injury potential.

Strength Training

Before you grab those weights and start lifting remember a few key rules:

Proper form is critical, whether lifting a weight or performing body weight exercises. If you are struggling, you will not have proper form. Start with light weights and focus on your form, rather than how much you can lift.

Body weight exercises that use multiple muscles are preferable to isolated muscle exercises. For example, sit-ups put stress directly on lower back muscles. Planks or bird dogs involve more muscles while still engaging and exercising core muscles.

When beginning an exercise program, always do less than you think. Less weight, less reps, and less sets should be your rule if you haven't been exercising in a while. You'll find that what feels like an easy workout may leave you stiff the next day. Weightlifters are encouraged to exercise to failure. You do not want to do this. Focus on form, and lift your weights or your body slowly. Slower movements focus your muscles without excessive weight.

Stretching

Slow stretches within limits, for short durations. Just like lifting weights, too much too soon can put you on the sidelines.

Form is even more important in stretches. Always be aware of your movements, and focus on your muscles stretch - if it hurts, stop stretching.

To ensure a proper exercise plan that fits your age, lifestyle, and activity level, consult your doctor, physical therapist, or a trainer at your local exercise facility.

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