Best and worst exercises for back pain

best and worst exercisesAlmost everyone’s done it — made that popular New Year’s resolution to get in shape. But right before the clock strikes midnight and the confetti hits the floor, your ambition to keep that promise evaporates into thin air. Despite your best intentions to start and stay on an exercise program, many people just like you soon discover they lack something other than motivation. What they need isn’t a trainer. It’s a clear understanding on how to begin a fitness routine that includes exercises to help, not harm their increasing back pain.

That’s why we’re making it easy to do by breaking down the best and worst exercises for anyone struggling with back pain. Remember to start slow, and always talk to your doctor before embarking on a new exercise routine, doing only what feels right for your individual fitness level.

The best exercises for back pain

Swimming: Looking to strengthen your back without putting any pressure on it? The water is the way to go. The feeling of weightlessness in the water allows you to feel free, providing both support and resistance while doing the simplest moves. Not a swimmer? Try water aerobics get back to basics by walking laps in the water.

Stretching: Getting limber may look hard, but consistency is the key to making it easy. Start with an easy move like the knee-to-chest. Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Bring one knee up to your chest and use your hands to pull the knee close while flattening out your back; then repeat with the other knee. Hold for about 20 seconds and repeat five times.

Partial crunches: Work your core muscles without hurting your back with this abridged version of a sit up. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on floor. Cross your arms across your chest in the shape of an “x.” Slowly raise your shoulders off the floor, only going half way up to your knees. Try three sets of 15, or whatever your comfort level allows.

Other moves include planks, wall squats, alternate arm and leg raises and the bridge pose.

The worst exercises for back pain

Jogging or running: Pounding the pavement may sound like a fast way to drop some weight, but it comes with a cost — to your back. All that bouncing up and down can jar your back out of its neutral position, where it’s protected, and send it into the danger zone. Consider power walking as a lower-impact way to get the job done.

Toe touches: Bending over to touch your toes isn’t something everyone’s good at. And there’s reason why. Forward bending motions can harm your lower back and repeating them can even lead to injuries, like bulging discs.

Double leg raises: This move could mean double trouble for your lower back. The reason? As your legs raise up, it causes the hip flexors to pull your lower vertebrae in an unnatural way, which can often lead to injury. What’s more, it doesn’t even work your core until you lift your legs more than 90 degrees up in the air. Find an alternate way to work your abdominals by trying planks or half crunches instead.

Other troublemakers include: torso twists, tricep dips, dead lifts and squatting with weights.

Getting in shape doesn’t have to be a pain. In fact, when done safely and correctly, it can produce a wealth of health benefits. But if you’re still experiencing chronic neck or back pain and exercise and alternative therapies haven’t produced the relief you need, call Laser Spine Institute. One of our caring team members will help you discover if you’re a candidate for our minimally invasive spine procedures.


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