Exercises to Avoid with Lower Back Pain

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When people suffer from back pain, it seems logical to let the back take a break from activity so that it can heal properly. While this is true to an extent, too much inactivity can sometimes worsen back pain. Doctors, physical therapists, and fitness trainers often recommend exercise for back problems. The reason that exercise is recommended for back pain sufferers is that it improves circulation to the affected back muscles, and physical activity lessens the risk of muscles tightening up in the first place. However, there are several exercises to avoid with lower back pain.

First, it helps to know the root cause of the back pain. If a specific incident is known to be the culprit, such as heavy lifting or a sudden strain while exercising, then the standard two days of rest should suffice; however,chronic back pain sufferers should always check with a doctor before attempting to perform any exercises that are meant to relieve lower back pain.

The main point to keep in mind is that any type of activity that causes pain should be stopped immediately. The best exercises to undertake while suffering from back pain are those which do not involve excessive flexion or extension.

Those who experience lower back pain should not be involved in any team or contact sports (such as baseball, football, or basketball) until they feel better. While the cardiovascular activity will certainly help the back in terms of improved circulation, there is no guarantee that another player won’t collide and worsen a back injury. Other exercises to avoid with lower back pain involve sudden movements, such as golfing or gymnastics.

Cycling should be avoided if done for recreational purposes, so those who rely on a bicycle for transportation should only travel as much as necessary and keep at a slow, steady pace. Running should be avoided altogether, since the jarring motion can have an adverse effect on the back. Walking should substitute it for a few days while the back heals, or low impact machines like a stair climber or stationary bike can be used with proper posture. Swimming is also better on the joints than just about any exercise; while it provides plenty of resistance; it also reduces the strain of weight.

Some strength training exercises are also off-limits, including sit-ups and leg raises. Both of these exercises use the lower back extensively, and often, those who are not experienced with these exercises do them incorrectly.

Many fitness trainers recommend Pilates, which is designed to stretch out the muscles and promote proper alignment of the spine. While Pilates is an effective way to improve circulation and alignment, it can exacerbate back problems if done improperly.

There are a few guidelines on which specific exercises to avoid with lower back pain, but the general idea is to listen to the body and refrain from overexertion. Exercise is supposed to make one feel challenged but not leave him or her in pain. Low-impact cardiovascular activity combined with light stretching can help relieve back problems, and in time can help improve one’s health overall.

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