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Are You Struggling With Back Pain?

By: Allison Hollaway

 

I promise you are not alone. Back pain actually accounts for more than 264 million lost work days in a single year. That is equivalent to two full work days for every single employee in the United States.

 

Experts estimate that up to 80% of the population will experience back pain at some point in their lives. That’s right, EIGHTY PERCENT! So again, if you are someone who is experiencing back pain of any sort, you are not alone.

 

A typical response to back pain is to take it easy, by either staying in bed or stopping strenuous activity. Well, maybe you have been resting, just hoping this pain will go away after some healing time. While this might have been true in the past, extensive research has proven that resting for more than a day or two can actually undermine healing and worsen pain.

 

Most doctors and rehabilitation specialists actually encourage movement. Back exercises are almost always necessary in alleviating pain. Think about it. The longer you sit and “rest,” the more tense your muscles get, the longer your body maintains the same position, and the worse you feel. Movement can help relieve this pain, but only when done in the proper way with proper intensities and lower impact.

 

When done in a controlled manner, exercise for relieving back pain can have many benefits. A balanced workout includes both a combination of strengthening and stretching, as well as conditioning aerobic exercise that elevates heart rate.

 

Benefits of Exercise

  • Strengthening the muscles that support the spine removes pressure from the spinal discs and facet joints

  • Alleviation of stiffness and improves mobility

  • Improved circulation to better distribute nutrients throughout the body

  • Releases endorphins that will naturally relieve pain à reduces reliance on pain medications and anti-inflammatories

  • Minimizes frequency of back and neck pain episodes to reduce severity of pain

 

Recommended Exercises and Stretches for Back Pain

DEAD BUGS: help build strength in your lower back and stomach muscles .

 

HAMSTRINGS STRETCHES: relieve the back of the leg where some muscles used to support the lower spine are found.

 

BIRD DOG: great way to learn to stabilize the low back and promote rotary stability.

 

LYING KNEE TO CHEST: work those leg and abdominal muscles.

 

PELVIC TILTS: strengthens your pelvis and works in coordination with your core muscles.

 

GLUTE BRIDGES: helps to strengthen various supporting muscles for your back, as well as works to strengthen the lower back. Just remember to avoid arching!

 

AEROBIC EXERCISE: helps to strengthen the whole cardiovascular system.

 

PILATES/YOGA: stretching with a focus on the abdominal core.

 

 

Maintaining exercise is one of the most important factors for long term pain relief. Just as you wish to shed some pounds, gain some muscle, and contribute to your better overall health through exercise, it is important to maintain this same mindset for recovery and reduction of back pain. It has been found that the most common reason for a lack of adherence to exercise is increased pain caused by activity. However, when this is the case, we, as exercise professionals, can help to incorporate pain reduction management and show you techniques that will help in relieving pain.

 

 

Resources:

https://www.spine-health.com/wellness/exercise/exercise-and-back-pain

https://www.onhealth.com/content/1/exercises_low_back_pain

https://www.spine-health.com/conditions/arthritis/facet-joint-disorders-and-back-pain#:~:text=A%20facet%20joint%20is%20formed,that%20creates%20the%20motion%20segment.



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