Exercise — the proven way to prevent back pain

Exercise Prevent Back PainIf you’re looking for a solution to your back pain, the sheer amount of options and advice you encounter can be overwhelming. When friends, family members, doctors and specialists are all recommending different methods to prevent another onset of back pain, how do you know if something actually works? Feeling unsure about a course of treatment could have a negative impact on your recovery or even make you give up on trying to get better at all.

Luckily, a recent study has brought some clarity to this situation. In a comprehensive review of 23 clinical trials, exercise was shown to be the best method, by far, for preventing back pain. Compared to other methods like back braces and orthotic insoles, engaging in exercise on a regular basis significantly reduced the amount of sick time needed during an occurrence of lower back pain and also lessened the chance of recurrence during a 12-month period. Meanwhile, other methods were shown to have little to no effect at all.

Why is exercise the best form of low back pain prevention?

In some ways, exercise might seem like an unlikely solution for back pain prevention. Don’t doctors always tell you to take it easy? Will exercise just aggravate the issue? While rest is an important part of treatment, and certain exercises or improper technique can worsen symptoms, inactivity is really one of the worst things you can do for your back. This is because prolonged inactivity weakens important supporting muscles that should be working to take pressure off the spine.

While this study does not seek to answer exactly how exercise prevents back pain, there are a number of positive benefits of being physically active that are likely involved. A big boost exercise offers to your overall health is strengthening your heart and lungs, which can help with lower back pain in an indirect way by circulating nutrients that heal inflamed muscles or damaged connective tissue. The main benefit though is the way exercise, even a lighter aerobic activity like walking, strengthens the essential core muscles that support the spine. 

Finding the best exercise plan for you

So what kind of exercises did this study say you should be doing? Aerobics? Strength training? According to the research, any form of exercise, as long as you do it safely and with the partnership of your physician, can be effective in preventing lower back pain. The most important thing is to be consistent. Most physicians will recommend trying to do 15 to 20 minutes of exercise a day, four to five days a week, for optimal benefit. So find the groove that works for you: Zumba, Pilates, yoga and water aerobics are all great choices for patients with low back pain.

Exercise is a proven treatment for back pain prevention, but if weeks or months go by and you are still dealing with an unacceptable level of pain, reach out to Laser Spine Institute. Our minimally invasive spine surgery is a safe and effective alternative to traditional open back procedures. Contact our team today to learn more.

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