Lower back pain is a common problem that affects 80% of adults at some point during their lives. It’s also a significant cause of disability and can put a damper on things you love doing, including keeping fit.
However, a painful back doesn’t mean that you should stay in bed. While stopping strenuous activities is recommended, resting for many days can slow healing and worsen back pain.
Most doctors advise patients to attend active physical therapy for back pain sessions whose focus is on exercises that help relieve back pain.
But before your physiotherapist can decide if you’re fit for active physical therapy, they will consider several factors including:
- The cause of your painful back
- The severity of your pain symptoms, including the duration and when they occur
- Your level of activity before the start of your back problem
There is medical evidence supporting the use of physical therapy exercises to treat a bad back. Engaging in an active exercise routine helps strengthen your lower back muscles stabilizing your painful spine disc and joints. Such activities also provide posterior support and help improve your functioning when you have an aching back. Active exercises also minimize the likelihood of such pain occurring in the future.
The below exercises can help with your weak back. However, it’s always recommended that you work with a physiotherapist before you attempt any exercises, no matter how mild your back pain is.
Properly stretched back muscles are a source of relief for muscle cramps and wasting muscles. It would help if you always started with slow, comfortable and light stretches to reduce the tightness you may be feeling on your back.
Stretches often recommended for most back patients focus on the glute, abdominal, legs, lower back, and hamstring muscles.
2. Core Strengthening Exercises
Most people with back issues have difficulties bending forward, and core strengthening exercises can strengthen the muscles while protecting the back. Some of the core strengthening activities that are recommended include anti-movement exercises that ensure the body maintains its upright position.
Other recommended core stability exercises include:
- Pelvic tilts
3. Cardio Exercises
Short, low impact cardio-exercises are suitable for a bad back.
Many physiotherapists recommend the use of water physical therapy. Water makes it easier for patients with back pain to exercise as it minimizes the impact of gravity.
Water aerobics are particularly suitable for relieving back pain. You can also try out slow walking or use a step machine for a fast-paced walking workout.
4. Strength Training
Patients suffering from back pain who are part of weight and strength training programs often note a decrease in their back pain than patients who only stick to cardio exercises. But the aim of such training should be to develop your back strength.
Weight training should aim to strengthen all the muscles that support your core and back. Such muscles include the ones on your legs, chest, glutes, and shoulders.
Some recommended strength training exercises include:
- Assisted pull-ups and lateral raises
- Knee push-ups
- Leg press
Sticking to a prescribed exercise program will help strengthen your back and bring it back into shape. It’s also best to continue with the prescribed exercises even after your physical therapy sessions to prevent the recurrence of the back problem.