Four exercises to avoid if you have back pain – and what to do instead
Physical activity is a great way to prevent and treat back pain – but did you know that some exercises can do more harm than good?
To avoid putting too much strain on the joints, ligaments, and muscles in your back, here is a list of exercises to avoid, as well as some alternatives. Talk to your chiropractor to determine which exercises are right for you.
Best And Worst Back Pain Exercises
If you’re dealing with an injury, here’s a better idea of what exercises you may want to pursue and which ones you’ll want to avoid. As always, it’s in your best interest to get an individualized diagnosis from a specialist who can see your spine in person instead of relying on general advice on the internet, but here’s a look at why some exercises are better or worse than others if you are dealing with a back injury.
Avoid Running/Jogging – back pain
– Don’t get us wrong, jogging and running are great exercise techniques for helping you stay in shape, but they may not be the best options after a back injury. Running and even jogging tends to be a rather high-impact activity, and that jarring impact can put repetitive stress on your spine. Look for some lower-impact exercises instead, like…
Swimming/Walking – back pain
– These activities help to strengthen your spine and get healthy blood pumping throughout your body without overstressing your back with high impact activities. Swimming is especially beneficial because water’s natural resistance allows you to strengthen your body in ways that aren’t possible without bands or other equipment on land.
Avoid Sit Ups – back pain
– A strong core is very important for the overall health of your spine, but you don’t want to try to improve your core through sit ups, especially if you have a back injury. Sit ups are very hard on your spine and can put excess pressure on your discs and the spinal column. This concentrated stress can overwhelm an injured area that wants to be protected as the body tries to address the injury.
Yoga/Tai Chi – back pain
– Yoga and Tai Chi are much better options for targeting your core muscles without overloading the spine with strain like you might do with a sit up. These exercises involve maneuvering your body into specific positions and holding them to develop muscles, which strengthens structures in a less jarring manner. They can also help you expand your range of motion so that movements become more comfortable.
Avoid Doing Too Much Too Soon
– Whatever exercise you’re considering for your back pain, it’s imperative that you ease into it and don’t overdo it. Too much targeted exercise can overstress an area and actually do more harm than good. You want to listen to your body and gradually work to improve your endurance or your activity levels, but don’t try to do too much too soon, even if they are ideal activities like swimming or yoga.
Pair Exercise With Other Healthy Habits
– Finally, you can get the most out of your exercise routine by pairing it with some other healthy choices throughout the day. Work to improve your diet to help lose weight and ensure your injured structures can get the vitamins and nutrients they need to help heal. Also consider giving up smoking to improve blood circulation and making posture changes to avoid overstraining specific areas of your spine with static pressure. Exercise is just part of the equation!
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