According to the American Chiropractic Association, ‘One-half of all working Americans admit to having back pain symptoms each year.’ Their research also indicates that ‘80% of the population will experience back pain at some time in their lives’.
Experiencing back pain can be frustrating, to say the least; it can interfere with our everyday lives and leave us feeling exhausted. Luckily there are plenty of exercises that you can try out, to reduce and eliminate back pain. With the right exercises, it’s possible to build strength, speed up the healing process, and prevent future injuries. For a few options to support your recovery, check out these eight ideas.
1 . Yoga
Yoga is both a form of exercise and an ancient spiritual practice; it involves stretching, holding bodily postures, balances, meditation, and breathing techniques. It’s a popular form of exercise to build up core strength, flexibility and improve one’s posture. Those who experience back pain would be best advised to try one of the gentler styles of yoga, for example:
- Hatha: This style of yoga focuses on the basic yoga postures; it’s ideal for beginners and is usually a slow and calming class. Throughout Hatha you’ll learn about the primary breathing techniques.
- Kundalini: The Kundalini style is similar to Hatha, focusing on the concept of ‘kundalini energy’ and learning specific chanting mantras and meditations.
- Yin Yoga: This style of yoga is the slowest practice, focusing mostly on floor postures. Each posture is held for several minutes, encouraging deep stretches that stimulate your tissues and joints.
Yoga is one of the best exercises for chronic pain, and to reduce the associated stress symptoms.
2 . Pilates
Pilates is a low-impact physical exercise class, which helps practitioners strengthen their muscles, become more flexible, and improve posture. Most of the movements you’ll perform in Pilates are intended to strengthen your core. Movements are usually slow and performed along with breathing techniques; in many ways, it’s similar to yoga. A number of research studies have concluded that Pilates effectively targets back pain; it’s often recommended by doctors, as a type of injury rehabilitation treatment. Practicing Pilates is a great way to improve muscle resistance, reduce pain, and improve postural balance.
3 . Swimming
Swimming is the perfect low impact exercise that is gentle on the spine and back. As the water supports your weight, you’ll experience less stress on your spine and joints, improving your range of motion. When you are swimming, it’s essential to avoid any movements that result in a shear force across your lower back. To avoid doing so, you could consider working with a swimming coach to improve your stroke. You could also try using a snorkel and a mask, this way you won’t need to arch your back when coming up to take a breath. As with any restorative exercise, take it easy and listen to your body.
4. Tai Chi
Tai chi is a martial art that was first practiced in China; during a Tai chi class, you’ll perform slow moves, along with breathing techniques, which help you to relax. The idea is to flow through each move; most Tai chi classes also incorporate an element of meditation. Health benefits include relaxation, strengthening your muscles.
According to research by the Arthritis Foundation, ‘the slow, focused movements of Tai chi coupled with deep breathing, can ease back pain.’ The research explores many different ways that Tai chi can support back pain, including strengthening the pelvic and abdomen muscles; enhancing flexibility and balance; and improving posture awareness.
Walking is a fantastic form of exercise; it’s health benefits should never be underestimated! A few of the advantages of walking include improved endurance and muscle strength; improved pulmonary and cardiovascular health; strengthening the bones; and reducing body fat. When you walk regularly for exercise, you can improve muscular and joint pain, including pain in the back.
Walking is a great way to build strength in the muscles that protect your spine. It’s important to get yourself a good pair of walking boots beforehand. Without the right pair of walking boots, you may not be properly supporting your back, which can cause further damage.
Biking is often practiced by those who experience lower back pain; there are plenty of reasons why biking is a great exercise option. Biking is far less intense on the spine than other types of aerobic exercise. In particular, stationary cycling or spin classes are gentle on the back and spine. When you attend a spin class, you can adjust your bike and riding position, depending on the type of back pain that you experience. For example, if you have lower back pain, you might like to try a reclining bike, sometimes referred to as a recumbent bike.
7. Strength Exercises
There are plenty of strength exercises which can help people to manage lower back pain. You can practice these in the comfort of your own home:
- Bridges: To practice on a bridge, simply lie on the floor, with your knees bent. Ensure that your feet are a hip-width distance apart and flat on the floor. You should raise your buttocks off the floor, creating a straight line between your knees and shoulders. Hold this position for around thirty seconds before lowering to the floor and repeating.
- Knee-to-chest stretches: To perform a knee-to-chest stretch, lie on the ground, keep your feet flat on the floor, with bent knees. Move one knee into your chest, pulling with both of your hands. You should hold this for five seconds, ensuring that your abdominals remain tight. Go back to your starting position, and then perform with the other leg.
8. Back Pain Exercises PRO App
With the ‘Back Pain Exercises PRO’ application, you’ll find plenty of great ideas to help ease your back pain. All of these exercises have been especially designed to eliminate back pain and strengthen your muscles. Here you’ll find a variety of categories, including neck workouts, lower back workouts, thoracic spine workouts, and recovery workouts. The app contains 100 plus exercises to help strengthen the legs, shoulder girdle, back, and abdomen. All of the exercises include video instructions, detailed descriptions, and tips. It’s simple to customize your own workouts, track your progress, and set notifications.
Before starting any new exercise regime for back pain, it’s best to consult your doctor, particularly if you experience chronic back pain or have recently been injured. Depending on the cause of our back pain, your doctor will recommend the best exercises for you or the best course of treatment. Those who experience back pain due to scoliosis would be well advised to access more information from the Southwest Scoliosis Institute. Here you’ll find plenty of resources, education, and treatment options.
Finally, it’s well worth checking out these natural remedies to soothe back pain.
- Heat cushions: Purchasing a heat cushion is an excellent investment for those who experience back pain. These go in the microwave for just a minute or so. Once they are warm, simply press onto the pain site to experience relief.
- Natural anti-inflammatories: To ease back pain, why not try taking natural anti-inflammatories, such as turmeric, ginger, or cayenne pepper?
- Natural creams: Try applying a natural pain relief cream such as capsaicin cream or CBD cream.
Hopefully, with all these exercises and remedies, you’ll find a solution to ease your back pain and improve your quality of life. It can be helpful to write down a symptoms diary. A diary can help you to keep track of which movements and exercises make your back pain feel better or worse.