woman stretching outside

LIKE THIS POST? Get these delivered right to your inbox



How Exercise Reduces Back Pain

Staying physically fit not only helps you improve cardiovascular fitness, prevent weight gain and increase your energy level, but can also help you avert and relieve back pain. Although you may be tempted to stay in bed and sleep when you begin to feel that familiar twinge, it might actually benefit you to get up and get moving instead. Help alleviate a bout of discomfort and help prevent aches in the future by regularly practicing an assortment of exercises that can increase your strength, stamina and comfort level.

Reduced Stiffness

If you’re solely resting to attempt to heal and soothe back pain, you may be advised to add basic stretching to your routine to help reduce it instead. Completely foregoing physical activity may hinder your body’s range of motion, putting a greater strain on your muscles and ligaments when you do move. Performing movements such as knee-to-chest stretches in moderation, for example, can improve your flexibility and alleviate mild back pain. Although it may be tempting to push yourself when your back begins to feel a little looser, however, stop before you risk further injury. In addition, be sure to avoid any workouts that include heavy lifting, twisting or movements that will strain your neck, head or back. 

Strengthened Muscles

Although it may not seem as if you’re working the area in distress, performing exercises to strengthen your core – the muscles that stabilize your body – can also help alleviate back pain. Movements such as bridges, for example, work the gluteus maximus which helps to support your lower back as you move. Working your core and bolstering muscles in your legs, abdomen and hips can also straighten posture and improve balance which can prevent additional strain and reduce the chance of further injury.

Better Blood Flow

Performing stretches and exercises that target your core or back can reduce pain by increasing blood flow to the area. This can encourage the area to heal in addition to helping relax the muscles and reduce stiffness. Low-impact workouts such as walking, performing water aerobics or pedaling a stationary bicycle, for instance, are ideal movements for this type of conditioning since they won’t aggravate an existing injury when done correctly. If you’re currently unable to exercise regularly, massage therapy is also recommended, as it can boost the movement of nutrients and oxygen in your bloodstream, which will improve circulation and ease pain.

Improved Health

Low-impact cardio exercises and strength training has the added benefit of helping you drop excess pounds that may be putting a strain on your back. If you’re significantly overweight, the muscles surrounding your spine may be weakened and overworked, which can lead to increased back pain. By reducing your weight, you may also prevent such conditions as osteoarthritis that can lead to back discomfort. In addition, improving your diet to include more healthy foods such as salmon, leafy green vegetables, green tea and fresh fruits will not only help you steer clear of junk food and most likely cut your weight, but also help reduce inflammation that can aggravate twinges in your back.

Before you begin a new exercise regimen, especially if you have a pre-existing health condition, be sure to consult your physician. She may uncover a medical reason for your back pain that is treatable with therapy or medication. Once a more serious condition is ruled out, she can also help you determine the best type of activity to suit your fitness level and also recommend additional solutions that will focus on your specific areas of discomfort. Once you begin to increase your strength and stamina, you’ll soon discover that regular exercise can soothe and even assuage your bouts with back pain.