Back pain may make you feel like resting and staying off your feet, but stretching and exercise will actually help to alleviate the pain and assist the body’s natural healing response. Stretching is specifically powerful to prevent re-injury.
Any workout plan will be a little different depending on your type of injury and the severity of pain. You want to begin exercise programs gradually and increase the reps as your body recovers. It’s critical to speak with healthcare professionals beforehand as well if you want your exercise plan to deliver immediate and long-term results.
To recover carefully and conscientiously from low back pain, three activities are recommended by the American Chiropractic Association (ACA): passive stretches, active stretches, and cardiovascular exercise. Here are their tips related to each.
You usually want to hold stretches for 15 to 30 seconds. You also want to be very conscientious about how it feels. “Stretching should never cause pain nor should you feel tingling in the extremities,” says the ACA. “Stop immediately if you experience any discomfort.”
Here are three passive stretches that you will typically want to include. Each of them should be maintained for 30 seconds, with 3 repetitions, as a general rule.
- Hamstring Stretch – Lying on your back, bend one of your knees and bring the other one straight above you. Wrap a towel around the raised foot and push upward against it.
- Piriformis Stretch – Still lying on your back, bring one of your legs over the other one and pull it down against your chest.
- Back Stretch – Get down with your face toward the floor, in the push-up position. Rather than doing a complete push-up, push just your upper body off the ground.
Now here are three active stretches:
- Leg Raises – Get onto your stomach. Lift one of your legs 1 or 2 inches off the ground. Do 20 reps with each leg.
- Bridges – Lying on your back with your knees bent and touching, lift your hips up and then bring them down. Do 20 reps.
- The Pointer – Kneel on a mat. Bring your palms down straight under your shoulders, with your legs hip-width. Bring your left arm forward in front of you, and stretch your right leg behind you, making a straight line with them parallel to the ground. Keep your back straight. Maintain for 30 seconds. Do 5 reps.
You will get into better physical shape and achieve more robust health with 20-30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise three days each week. However, you want to be careful with your workouts. “Until you’ve recovered from back pain, select low-impact activities that burn calories, but won’t place undue stress on your joints,” says the ACA. “Also, before beginning a vigorous exercise program, check with your physician to rule out any possible cardiovascular health risks.”
If you are one of the 26 million Americans between 20 and 64 years old suffering from back pain, the above stretches and exercises can bring relief and prevent reinjury. However, any exercise plan should be guided by professionals and combined with other treatments to expedite recovery.
At Envista Medical, you’ll have a team of medical doctors, therapists, trainers, chiropractors, and physician assistants at your side.