A few years ago, when my mother had her back surgery they wanted her to get up to go walking very soon after. Did you know that after back surgery patients are forced to go walking after 48hrs? You might think this is cruel, like I did, because the person has not healed yet, he is in pain, it sounds insane to have them to exercise. It is however the best course to take for best recovery.
To revitalize the spine, essential and appropriate back pain exercises are needed. Exercises will promote wellness of the bones and muscles. Proper exercises may also act as preventive measures for recurring episodes of pain. They will also lessen the severity of pain of possible future occurrences of back pain.
Active back pain exercises that done in a controlled and systematic way are natural pain healers. It is hard and the patient tends to be resistant because exercise seems to increase the pain, at first it may. Some experts argue that the increase pain may be what is expected by the patient so it happens.
It works like so, active movements help distribute the essential nutrients throughout the ligaments, discs and muscles that raise the strength of each component for optimal performance. We have all heard the term “use it or lose it”, in no place is it more appropriate when dealing with the human body. And so is the opposite truth, the absence of exercises and dynamic activities help lessen the strength of each component which makes them prone to injuries, impairments and degeneration.
If you are not getting stronger, you are getting weaker. When your back is injured and recovering, it is important to get it stronger than you thought it was before.
Collectively, the back pain exercises must be a well-balanced combination of the following:
- Stretching exercises like hamstring and quads stretching,
- Strengthening exercises like the dynamic lumbar stabilization exercise
- Pelvic tilt – Do the pelvic tilt to strengthen your abdominal muscles. Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Flatten your back against the floor by tightening your abdominal muscles and raise your pelvis up slightly to create a flat angle. Hold for up to 10-30 seconds depending on your ability. Repeat.
- Leg raise – Lie with your back flat on a mat and your legs extended straight. Place your hands either under your glutes with your palms down or by the sides holding on to the bench. This will be your starting position.
As you keep your legs extended, straight as possible with your knees slightly bent but locked raise your legs until they make a 90-degree angle with the floor. Exhale as you perform this portion of the movement and hold the contraction at the top for a second. Now, as you inhale, slowly lower your legs back down to the starting position. I warn you, this is one of the hardest abdominal exercises in my experiences.
- McKenzie exercise – an exercise series that is designed to encourage the displaced disc to move back into its correct position which will alleviate the pain and allow freer spinal movement after extended seating.
- Low impact aerobics like walking, water therapy bicycling and swimming – I will soon have an article just on those low impact aerobic exercises.
Your therapist will determine the intensity and rigidity of exercises and activities primarily based on the specific diagnosis by the physician. As with any other treatments, the effects will always be determined by several factors that are uncontainable such as the threshold of the patient over pain, the level of pain that the patient experiences during attacks and the severity of the condition. It is prudent to see a physical therapist with specialization on spinal injury rehabilitation. The therapist will able to best devise a back pain exercise plan that is customized for the specific conditions and situation of the patient.
Stretching exercises work by extending the soft tissues that are found at the ligaments, muscle, tendons located around the spine and the parallel structures such as the ribs and hip bones. The spinal column and all that incorporates it are specifically built for mobility and stretching. However, due to some factors like injuries and degeneration of the intervertebral discs, these body parts cannot be moved. It is not unusual in some cases to see the spine be fused into a singular bone in certain parts. Some injuries require such fusion of the spine. When I was in chiropractic school one of my classmates had a rock climbing accident where a rock twice the size of her body fell on her. She lost a leg and in order to give a chance at even standing to use a prosthesis to walk, they had to fuse all the segments in her lower spine into one.
Patients experiencing extreme pain may find it hard to muster any strength in these areas and may require them to perform exercises that may last for some weeks. However, after some dedicated application of the exercise routines, everything may go back to normal and little or less exercise may then be performed after the healing.
Hamstring stretching exercise on the other hand focuses on the hamstring muscles that are directly linked to the low back pain symptoms. Tightness of the hamstring muscles is known to be a supporter to pelvis stress and the muscles and bones located at the lower back bone. Working on these parts may lessen the degree of pain and the frequency of attacks.
These are only two of the most commonly used stretch exercises for back pain exercises. Other stretch exercises and routines are listed in the above section of this article.