Does your back hurt? If it does, you’re not alone. Back pain is one of the most common reasons people miss work or go to the doctor. It’s a leading cause of disability worldwide.
Back pain arises from many places. The most common source of back pain is when the muscles of the lower back are overused and therefore become prone to injury. When back pain hits, your first instinct is to stop what you are doing and sit down. However, if you have previously been active, staying that way can help you get back to health quicker.
But I Hurt Too Much To Exercise!
When your back hurts, it’s hard to concentrate on anything else. You may think that working out is the last thing you want to do when your back is hurting, but it might be just what you need. As long as you take it slow and easy, without putting any undo pressure on your painful back muscles, exercise can help strengthen those muscles and get rid of your pain.
No Special Equipment Needed
For anyone wondering, you don’t need any special equipment to perform exercises to alleviate back pain. You can do them right at home. For weight lifting, you can start out with 1 pound cans of food, or for more weight, water-filled milk jugs – the kind that have a handle. Other than that, all you need is time and some space to move. You may feel pain as you start doing the exercises but don’t shy away from that, just go slowly.
Work Both “Sides” of Your Core
In the body, back muscles and abdominal muscles work together. A strong core consists of strong abdominal regions and also strong back muscles. Working one without the other can result in an imbalance and weakness that can lead to injury.
Here are some examples of types of exercise that can be performed to alleviate back pain and get you moving again. Keep in mind that these exercises are for back pain that comes from overused muscles. If you have disc or other spinal problems, it’s best to see a doctor before preforming any type of back exercise.
To gain strength, flexibility and endurance in that area, the exercises that you perform need to provide these three things.
1. Aerobic Exercise
Aerobic exercise conditions your heart, lungs and muscles of the entire body. Start out extra slowly with an aerobics class that uses your own weight. You can build up intensity as your back feels better. You can graduate to a step aerobics or aerobic kickboxing when your back pain has subsided and your core muscles are strong enough to ensure proper balance. There are lots of aerobic classes on Youtube, so you don’t need to leave home. You can also just put on some music and dance to get an aerobic workout.
2. Weight-Training Exercise
The way to build more muscle – stronger muscle – is to challenge it. Start with lighter weights and more repetitions to perfect your technique. When you think “core”, you probably think “ab muscles”. But don’t forget the back muscles. They too are part of your core. Focus on all areas of your back for an even look. You can use machines, free weights, bands and weighted bars for variety in your routine.
The same goes for your abdominal region. Don’t just concentrate on the rectus abdominis area where you see the six-pack abs. Working the oblique muscles helps with twisting and turning your body. Working the lower abs lifts the pelvis.
Stretching is important to prevent injury to your muscles. You warm up your body to get your heart and lungs ready for the challenge. Stretching the back muscles makes them more flexible. Use exercise classes like Yoga and Pilates to achieve this. These exercises may seem mild, but they are actually quite effective. Again, you can find plenty of Yoga and Pilates classes online.
Avoid performing any exercise that will put too much pressure on the lower back. Use your core to stabilize, but the weight will be in your legs or your upper body. For lying exercises, raise your legs together so the core is stationary.
Get In The Water
All of these exercises can also be performed in the water, which helps to take the weight and stress off the painful area. Many find movement in the water to be soothing.
Back pain doesn’t mean that you have to stop doing what you love. You’ll want to keep moving, but modify your exercise routine until your back pain is gone.