Individuals who suffer from chronic pain can take heart knowing that pain medication is not the only answer to relief. While the simplest over-the-counter medicine can effectively alleviate minor to intense pain, intake can have some side effects.
Exercises, on the other hand, present no risk when done properly and are effective ways to reduce back pain.
How Exercise Relieves Back Pain
Other methods, like physical therapy and exercise, can help:
- Reduce the frequency of back pain
- Minimize the intensity of pain
- Strengthen the muscles supporting the spine
- Relieve stiffness and tension in the muscles for better mobility
- Decrease the risk of disability due to pain
- Enhance blood circulation and distribution of nutrients (e.g. vitamin C and antioxidants) throughout the body, reducing inflammation that contributes to chronic pain
- Stimulate the release of endorphins which:
- lessens your brain’s perception of pain and
- triggers feelings of positivity, helping relieve symptoms of depression that typically accompany chronic pain
Exercises for Back Pain
Credit: Chris Blonk
- Aerobic Workouts
Aerobic, or cardio exercises can strengthen your cardiovascular system, improving circulation. For back pain relief, low-impact exercises are recommended. Workouts should last at least 20 to 30 minutes three to five times a week. Start with a shorter session and work your way up as your stamina increases.
Low-impact aerobics include:
- Power walking
- Elliptical trainer
- Partial Crunches
Partial crunches are designed to strengthen the muscles in your back and stomach. It’s a safe exercise even for those with degenerative disc disease.
- Start on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor
- Place your hands behind your head or cross your arms across your chest
- With your ab muscles, raise your shoulders from the floor while exhaling. (Do not pull yourself up with your arms or elbows to avoid straining your neck and your spine.)
- Stay in position for one second
- Gently bring your shoulders back down onto the floor
- Repeat eight to 12 times
- Pelvic Tilts
The position of the pelvis affects the alignment of the neck and back; pelvic issues can contribute to back pain. Pelvic tilt exercises strengthen the pelvis, helping to improve posture.
Pelvic tilts can be done in various positions. For those with back pain, lying supine is the best variation.
- Start by lying down with your back on the floor, keeping your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor
- Exhale while sucking in your stomach. This will result in your lower back and spine pressing onto the floor
- Hold your breath and position for 10 seconds
- Inhale and let your spine and pelvis return to starting position
- Repeat eight to 12 times
- Glute bridge
The glute bridge strengthens your lower back muscles and the muscles that support them. This helps stabilize your spine.
- Lie on your back. Keep your arms at your side, knees bent, and feet flat on the floor
- Contract your glute muscles (your buttocks) and tighten your abs
- Slowly lift your hips off the floor as high as you can or until your shoulders, knees, and hips form a straight line
- Hold this position for three to six seconds
- Ease your hips back to starting position and rest for 10 seconds
- Repeat eight to 10 times
Credit: Christy Collins
- Sphinx Pose
The Sphinx is a yoga pose that aims to strengthen the spine and tone the lower back. This helps the lower back return to its natural curve, helping reduce the pain caused by a flattened back.
- Begin by lying prone (on your stomach), chin on the floor with your legs straight, feet hip-width apart, and arms on your sides
- Slowly bring your arms up and set your elbows under your shoulders with your forearms on the floor parallel to each other
- Breathe in and raise your head and chest off the floor, bending your back slightly and pressing your pubic bone into the floor. If you feel pain or too much pressure on your lower back, move your elbows forward
- Hold the pose for one to three minutes
- Slowly lower your torso onto the floor and rest for as long as needed
After long hours of exercising, nothing can be more efficient than a spa session at EmclinicandSpa.com. Receiving a massage once you’ve finished working out helps reduce muscle soreness and speeds up your cell recovery. It is recommended to hit a spa as soon as possible after exercising. According to a study made by Journal of Athletic Training, massage can reduce delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMs) by a massive 30%.
Be careful when performing these exercises. Make sure that you are doing the right position to avoid aggravating any issues. Do it regularly to build up stamina and maintain a healthy habit, but don’t overdo it.
If you need help getting started or are considering getting professional assistance, there are various clinics providing physiocare services. A professional Chiropractor in Brampton can give you tips on proper posture and positioning as well as prescribe other methods of treatment to help with pain relief.