Even though you may feel like resting, keep in mind regular exercise can strengthen the muscles in your back and stomach. These muscles help to support the spine, and keeping them strong can alleviate your back pain.
Light exercise is a great way to improve muscle strength and tone, and it can reduce the risk of future pain by making muscles less susceptible to injury. Exercising releases endorphins, which block pain signals to the brain and provide the body with natural pain relief. Being active also releases serotonin – a natural mood booster.
Tips for pain-free fitness
Before starting any new exercise routine, it’s important to have a chat to your doctor or physical therapist, pushing your body too hard can increase pain or cause serious injury. Always avoid any positions or activities that increase your pain. Exercises such as full sit-ups and toe-touches may put pressure on your spine, and can overstretch lower back muscles. So listen to your body every step of the way.
Get ready before you start
To establish a regular exercise routine at home, choose a time of day that suits you and dedicate that time to your body. Find a comfortable spot and wear loose-fitting clothes that allow you to move freely.
The following five exercises can help with improving strength and relieving pain, so give them a try and take note of any changes in your body. Just be sure to start slowly and don’t over-extend yourself.
Both the back and stomach muscles are engaged and strengthened by this exercise. Start by lying on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor and fingers crossed behind your neck to support your head. As you exhale, contract your stomach muscles and slowly raise your head and shoulders slightly off the floor. Hold for about five seconds before returning to the start position and repeating.
This exercise stretches and mobilises the spine. To begin, lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Keep your knees together and roll them to one side, allowing your pelvis to follow the movement. Remember to keep both shoulders on the floor. Hold the stretch for one breath before returning to the start position and repeating. With this exercise you can alternate sides, but only move as far as is comfortable for your body.
Gentle back arches are designed to strengthen the lower-back muscles. To start, lie on your stomach with your legs together. Prop yourself up on your elbows and slightly arch your back, so you feel a gentle stretch in the stomach muscles. Hold for up to 10 seconds and then repeat. Keep your hips on the ground and make sure you don’t bend your neck backwards, because this can create tension.
Knees to chest
Simple but effective, this exercise can help with muscle strength and lower-back pain. To start, lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Gently bring one knee and slowly pull it towards your chest, keeping your lower back against the floor. Hold this position for up to 10 seconds. Release and repeat using the other knee.
Often recommended for low back pain, pelvic tilts assist with strength and flexibility. To begin, lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Gently flatten your lower back against the floor by tightening your stomach muscles. Now tilt your pelvis slightly forward and hold for up to 10 seconds before repeating. When doing this exercise, avoid pressing down on your neck, shoulders or feet.
Create your own exercise routine
These five exercises are a great way to banish back pain. However, everyone is different when it comes to pain. Sometimes it takes a while to find an exercise routine that works well for your specific pain. Your doctor or physical therapist can help you design a fitness workout that’s right for you.