We’ve heard it a million times. Rest is the key to healing an injury. That’s true, but when it comes to backaches, there is actually a danger in getting too much rest. It is important to make sure the type of rest you’re getting is truly improving your back, not worsening it. It might be tempting to stay in bed all day, but this could end up aggravating the pain over time. To prevent that from happening, be sure to change positions frequently, get up and walk around occasionally, and do a few low-stress exercises to help your spine along the road to recovery.
Warm Up and Stretch
As with any fitness routine, you don’t want to jump right into a full workout. First, you want to warm up the muscles in your back, which are probably overly tight from the pain. Something as simple as walking for 5 to 10 minutes before anything more strenuous can work wonders. Likewise, stretching is one of the best ways to heal back pain quickly. Though it may be daunting when you feel as though you can barely move, stretching and warming up can make the difference between getting healthy or staying injured.
Take it Slow
Back pain makes even the simplest tasks difficult, so go easy at first. Take as many breaks as you need during your workout. Avoid activities that will put extra strain on your back, like bending at the waist or twisting the spine. It is likely that these kinds of movements caused the problem in the first place, and they may worsen your back instead of improve it.
What Exercises Should I Try?
- Aqua walking
- Working on the elliptical
- Stationary bike with good back support
- Partial crunches (crunches that bring your shoulders off the floor ever so slightly)
- Hamstring stretches lying flat on your back
- Wall sits
- Press-up back extensions
- Knee to chest (one leg at a time)
- Plank or modified plank
What Exercises Should I Avoid?
- Sit ups or any exercise that involves repetitive bending
- Double leg lifts with both legs in the air (this can cause your back to curve as you hold this position)
- Lifting weights during the first few days may cause too much pain, but when you’re ready, be sure to focus on proper form and avoid putting any extra weight on your shoulders or over your head
- Any exercise that causes your pain to worsen–many can be modified to put less pressure on your back
Pay Attention to Your Body
“Working through the pain” will only cause more damage. If the discomfort heightens while doing a certain exercise, switch to a different one or take a break. If you are aching consistently while you are active, you may want to switch to some low-impact exercises like swimming or aqua walking.
Always Listen to Your Doctor
If this is your first experience with back pain, you may want talk to your doctor about the circumstances of your case. Your doctor will be able to give you more specific information about the nature of your injury and exactly what you should do to get back on your feet. If symptoms persist, we will explore further treatment options so you can get back on your game as soon as possible.