Do you have an aching back that is hurting your ability to perform daily tasks, you may want to consider staying active through a number of exercise routines.
You may think exercise is bad for your back but a number of researches has documented that it actually does good to your bad back. For most people with low back pain, physical activity plays a strong role in recovery.
A strong, well-conditioned back can better withstand stress and protect the spine, as opposed to one that doesn’t experience exercise. Some exercise routines like the following five are better than others when it comes to healing an aching back or preventing pain in the first place.
This combination of stretching and strengthening exercises is commonly recommended for those with back pain because it builds up the body’s core and mobilizes the spine.
When you have chronic back pain, exercise is often easier with a splash because the water minimizes stress on the back. The buoyancy of water counteracts the gravitational pull that can compress the spine.
Many gyms offer pool classes like Aqua Fit, a cardiovascular water workout designed to improve strength, or Aqua Zumba, the high-energy spinoff of the dance workout craze. If you’re hitting the water solo, simple low-strain exercises can do the trick. Try “pulling” (take long strokes with your arms, leaving legs isolated to float behind) for an upper body workout that doesn’t twist and turn your lower back.
In a 2011 Archives of Internal Medicine study, 228 adults were assigned to either 12 weekly 75-minute yoga or stretching classes, or to read a self-care book about back pain. Those in the yoga and stretching classes experienced greater relief of symptoms.
Yoga not only helps strengthen the back, it also stretches and relaxes the muscles that carry pain-triggering stress. The gentle stretches associated with yoga increase blood flow to your back, which can help heal strains.
A study conducted in 2013 and published in the journal Clinical Rehabilitation found that a simple walk could be as effective as specific strength training.
For the study, researchers recruited 52 sedentary patients with chronic lower back pain and assigned half to muscle-strengthening sessions and the other half to treadmill sessions twice a week.
After six weeks, all participants reported less pain and less avoidance of daily activities, and there was no significant difference between the two groups, showing that walking could be just as effective as other, more intensive workouts for back pain.
Raising your heart rate for an extended period through walking can help to increase the flow of blood and healing nutrients to your back.
Many people blame bicycling for causing lower back pain, but with the right form, this exercise can actually help ease discomfort. Fatigue changes how cyclists move, causing them to spread their knees and bend forward more. The more tired a cyclist gets, the worse their back posture becomes.
However, many upright and reclining bikes help riders avoid this painful position, and may offer a less stressful workout than, say, jogging.