If you suffer from back pain, probably the last thing on your mind is exercise. Though it may feel counter-intuitive, the lack of exercise can sometimes exacerbate a painful condition. In fact, studies indicate that people who incorporate exercise and flexibility into their wellness routines manage pain better than those who do not.
Limiting your movement and avoiding exercise can actually weaken muscles over time, which can both worsen your posture and exacerbate joint problems. On the other hand, exercise offers a wealth of physical and mental health benefits, including improved range of motion, weight control, reduced risk of certain cardiovascular diseases and stress reduction.
When you exercise, your body releases “feel good” chemicals called endorphins. Endorphins not only trigger positive feelings but they also act as the body’s natural painkillers, reducing the perception of pain. Some studies have concluded that even moderate exercise can improve a person’s threshold for pain, which can make performing daily tasks easier and more manageable.
Types of Exercises
It’s important that you consult a physician before starting any exercise program, especially if you suffer from chronic pain. Your goal should be to identify exercises that don’t produce additional pain when you perform them. For most people, low-impact exercise such as brisk walking, aqua-aerobics or swimming is a good place to start. Stretches and yoga are also gentle but effective at alleviating back pain.
In the next article, we’ll go over some simple stretches for the upper and lower back that you can do at home without equipment.