Using Exercise To Beat Back Pain

The saying ‘excess of everything is bad’ does not exclude rest, even when you are experiencing problems like back pain. It is a rather surprising fact that lazing about after an encounter with pain in the back actually makes the condition worse. In most of the cases, physical activity is a necessity for complete convalescence.

The Role Of Active Exercise

Provided that it is not carried to extremes, physical activity helps in the distribution of nutrients into disc space and tissues in the back. This is essential for the health of muscles, joints, and ligaments. Lack of exercise causes the body to become stiff and weak. Regular exercise ensures prevention of back pain as well reduction in the severity of pain, if it is already being experienced. Not all the patients, however, are put on the same exercise program. A spine specialist will recommend a specific set of exercise techniques according to the individual level of pain and its main cause. The exercise program recommended will usually work the whole body, even though its primary target will be the back. The exercise program recommended by the therapist usually comprises stretching, strengthening, and low impact aerobic conditioning in varying proportions.


Stretching the muscles, ligaments, and tendons in the back by means of exercise is very helpful in cases of back pain. Greater mobility and flexibility of muscles, ligaments, and tendons is achieved by stretching which prevents aggravation of pain. Patients who have been suffering from chronic cases of back pain usually require months of stretching to attain pain-free motion of their back muscles. Important muscles to stretch via exercise include: hamstrings (muscles in the back of the leg), piriformis (running from the thigh bone to the spine base), Psoas Major (lower spine), and Gluteus muscles (buttocks).


To decrease the stress on the lower back, strengthening of core muscles in the abdomen, lower back, and gluteus via exercise is a significant technique that promises relief of back pain. Two main types of exercises are used for strengthening these muscles: dynamic lumbar stabilization exercises and McKenzie extension exercises. Dynamic lumbar stabilization exercises are designed to let the spine assume the position of maximal comfort. McKenzie extension exercises aim to extend the spine in order to reduce the pressure on herniated discs. This brings relief from pain. In acute cases of pain, these exercises are done several times daily.

Low Impact Aerobic Exercises

Patients with more serious back pain are advised to follow low impact aerobic exercises like walking (six to nine miles per week), biking or cross training, and water exercises.

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