Are you worried that your back pain might get worse if you exercise? Do you hesitate to exercise because the last time you did your back pain flared up? Are you fearful that physical activity might not be safe for your ‘bad’ back?
These concerns and fears are completely understandable, especially if being physically active has increased your pain before or if your pain began after you did something physically active. I get it, back pain is not much fun. And nobody wants another flareup or to do something that might further damage their back.
However, the problem is that, although being physically INactive might be beneficial in the short term, it will not pay off in the longer term. Instead, physical inactivity might actually increase your susceptibility to pain down the road. Physical activity is essential. As the saying goes, “motion is lotion.”
So rather than avoiding physical activity, the solution is to engage in physical activity in a safe manner. Exercise in a manner that will not flare up your pain. That way, you can reduce your likelihood of a flareup now and of experiencing pain in the future.
3 Tips to Exercise Safely
- Find an activity that is ‘safe.’ Different activities or exercises will affect you differently. Do not be restrictive when trying to find a physical activity or exercise that works. There are so many different things you can do. Find one that works for you. If biking bothers you, maybe start by walking. If sit ups bother your back, do front planks. Start with a safe activity and then slowly expand out into other activities. Eventually, you may be able to get back to the activities which once bothered you.
- Begin at a level that is safe. Avoid the temptation to overdo it. Start at the intensity level you are absolutely sure will not increase your pain. It is better to start too low and be safe than to do too much activity and flare up. Even if your safe level is so low you do not think there is any point in doing it, still start there. Then after having safely exercised at that level for some time, periodically increase the intensity in small increments. For example, if you know you can walk for 5 minutes without any problem, then do not try to walk for 10 minutes. Rather start with 5 minutes and then slowly increase by 10% increments every week.
- Perform the activity in a ‘spine-sparing’ way. All of your physical activities and exercises, the way you sit, stand, walk, lift, bend forward, twist, etc., strain your back to one degree or another. The amount of strain is influenced by how the physical activity is performed. The more spine-sparing the way, the less the strain and the less the likelihood of pain. Although there are many ways to spare your spine, some of the keys ways are to:
- Avoid allowing movement in your spine when you lift, push or pull.
- Avoid keeping your low back fully rounded for long periods of time.
- Keep items you are lifting close to your body.
- Push or pull items inline with your belly button.
Not sure where to start?
Maybe you feel overwhelmed right now. You realize you would benefit from exercise. You even want to start being more physically active. But you struggle with what exactly you should do and where you should start. That is completely normal and understandable. But then let us help you! Contact us today via email or by calling 905.481.0731 so that you can experience Less Pain and enjoy More Possibilities.