It’s bad news when your back goes out more than you do! Persistent, recurring and chronic back pain may be because you are not incorporating physical activities in your daily routine. Or are lazy. Or both.
Most of us are leading increasingly sedentary lifestyles. We drive to work, sitting in our cars, to sit at our desks in the office and relax at home by sitting on the couch. In short, we are spending a lot of our time seated and living inactively. This is one of the main reasons for back pain.
Consider this statistic (unverified, but still worth pondering over): 87% of young people have back pain. The other 13% have no computer! Computer or no computer, there is no denying that whatever the cause, back pain may make it harder to get on with life.
Almost all of us carry the weight of back pain at some point in our lives. For some, it gets better with time while for others it worsens. Those with chronic and persistent back pain may be advised by doctors to increase physical activity and keep those Extensors, Flexors, and Obliques (muscles related to the back) nicely worked.
But it is important to first find out if exercise is safe and effective for people with low back pain? Here’s clearing the clouds from your mind…
Role Of Exercise In Managing Back Pain
One 2004 study published in The Spine Journal concluded that exercise is safe for people with back pain as it does not increase the risk of further back injuries. Moreover, evidence supported the use of exercise as a means to improve back flexibility and strength. (1) If back pain is your bane, maybe the following science-backed exercises will help take the strain off:
- Low to moderate-intensity aerobic exercises such as walking and strengthening exercises are beneficial for lower back (2).
- Regular high-intensity aerobic exercise may help ease pain, disability, and strain in individuals with chronic low back pain (3).
- Core stabilization exercises have also been found to be good for reducing pain and disability in patients with lower back pain – thereby improving movement and activity (4).
- One of the major causes of chronic lower back pain is the weakening of abdominal muscles. Deep abdominal strengthening exercises can help improve mobility and make the abdominal muscles stronger (5).
The next logical question is the duration for which these exercises must be done to make you feel better? Ideally, a session of aerobic exercise could last 30 to 60 minutes, perhaps thrice a week to lead to considerable relief from the pain (6).
So far, so good. But if you are the sort who find exercise boring (for how long could you be doing repetitive things, after all?!) Fret not, there’s lots more that you can do to stay active. Keep scrolling…
Other Ways To Stay Active
Take Short Breaks
Your back will cry out for attention if you are slumped in your desk chair all day. Taking active breaks with postural change may help reduce the lower back pain that those with desk jobs dread (7). If your job requires you to sit for a long time then take short breaks after every hour – even if it means just stretch your arms out or walking around your office to stay active.
Do More of What You Love
Love swimming? Make it your weapon against lower back pain – it can help people in that particular state of misery (8). If dancing is your happy thing to do, then play music at home and dance for a while. Basically, do more of what moves you – in all ways! Just be regular with it.
Get Active Around The House
Do not underestimate the ability of simple household tasks in keeping you active and on your toes. Activities such as cleaning your room, cooking and washing dishes will not only keep you lively and energetic, but you will also be getting a lot done! The homemakers reading this will know what we mean when we say: two birds, one stone!
Look For Incidental Ways To Move Your Body Every Day
If the grocery store is nearby, walk it! Need a haircut at a salon just a mile away? Cycle it. Use the stairs instead of using an elevator or escalator. Park your vehicle at a five-minute walk from your office parking – you will introduce a brisk walk without actually turning it into a chore!.
Back pain may impact an individual’s life physically (lead to an inability to perform daily tasks or disruption of sleep), psychologically (may evoke feelings of sadness and irritability, or loss of hope towards pain management), and socially (may make you feel isolated, and leave you unable to pursue hobbies) (9). Basically, back pain is debilitating in more ways than one and dampens the zing in life. But, you can nip it in the bud. Try the exercises and suggestions above and stay gung-ho and ready to live every day to the fullest.
To know more about other science-backed natural ways for pain management, click here and download our free e-book especially designed for those dealing with any kind of chronic pain.
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements and/or product(s) described in this article are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, mitigate or prevent any disease, illness or health condition. It is advisable to consult your healthcare provider before making any changes to your lifestyle, diet or dietary supplement program.
- Rainville J1, Hartigan C, Martinez E, Limke J, Jouve C, Finno M. “Exercise as a treatment for chronic low back pain”. The Spine Journal. 4:1(2004):106-15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14749199
- Shnayderman I1, Katz-Leurer M. “An aerobic walking programme versus muscle strengthening programme for chronic low back pain: a randomized controlled trial”. Clinical Rehabilitation. 27:3(2013):207-14. doi: 10.1177/0269215512453353. Epub 2012 Jul 31. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22850802
- Chatzitheodorou D1, Kabitsis C, Malliou P, Mougios V. “A pilot study of the effects of high-intensity aerobic exercise versus passive interventions on pain, disability, psychological strain, and serum cortisol concentrations in people with chronic low back pain”. Physical Therapy. 87:3(2007):304-12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17284546
- Inani SB1, Selkar SP. “Effect of core stabilization exercises versus conventional exercises on pain and functional status in patients with non-specific low back pain: a randomized clinical trial”. Journal of Back and Musculoskeletal Rehabilation. 26:1(2013):37-43. doi: 10.3233/BMR-2012-0348. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23411647
- Chang, Wen-Dien et al. “Core strength training for patients with chronic low back pain.” Journal of physical therapy science. 27:3 (2015): 619-22. doi:10.1589/jpts.27.619. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4395677/
- Sosa-Reina, M Dolores et al. “Effectiveness of Therapeutic Exercise in Fibromyalgia Syndrome: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials.” BioMed research international. 2017 :2017: 2356346. doi:10.1155/2017/2356346. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5632473/
- Waongenngarm P1, Areerak K2, Janwantanakul P3.“The effects of breaks on low back pain, discomfort, and work productivity in office workers: A systematic review of randomized and non-randomized controlled trials”. Applied Ergonomics. 68:2018:230-239. doi: 10.1016/j.apergo.2017.12.003. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29409639
- Ariyoshi M1, Sonoda K, Nagata K, Mashima T, Zenmyo M, Paku C, Takamiya Y, Yoshimatsu H, Hirai Y, Yasunaga H, Akashi H, Imayama H, Shimokobe T, Inoue A, Mutoh Y. “Efficacy of aquatic exercises for patients with low-back pain”. Kurume Med J. 46:2(1996):91-6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10410527
- Makris, Una E et al. “Physical, Emotional, and Social Impacts of Restricting Back Pain in Older Adults: A Qualitative Study.” Pain medicine (Malden, Mass.). 18:7 (2016): 1225-1235. doi:10.1093/pm/pnw196. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5914385/