31 million Americans suffer from low back pain at any given moment, and nearly 80 percent will be affected by this condition at some point in their lifetime. Given the staggering number of sufferers, many have accepted it as a frustrating, yet unavoidable part of their lives. But did you know that by simply exercising on a daily basis you can greatly reduce the frequency and severity of your back pain symptoms?
The good news is, you don’t have to kill yourself in the gym to reap the countless benefits that exercise provides. In order to prevent chronic pain, simple daily exercises can go a long way to keeping you healthy, and the extra benefits of staying fit will do wonders for your mood and energy.
Lack of Exercise Increases Back Pain
When low back pain arises, the first thing people do is move as little as possible. However, extended bed rest is actually bad for your body during a bout of severe back pain. Yes, rest will relieve your pain over an extended period of time, but you are not addressing the specific cause of your pain at its source, which usually includes muscle strains and muscle spasms.
These injuries occur as a result of overexertion placed on the muscles that support your lower spine. For people who do not exercise on a regular basis, these muscles grow tight and weak, leaving them unable to effectively serve their vital function as a support system. This in turn increases the chances of flare-ups occurring in the lower back and, as you rest the pain away, the only thing you’ll achieve is to perpetuate the problem.
How Exercise Relieves Pain
Through daily exercise, you will be able to stretch and strengthen the muscles that support your lower spine. As these muscles grow stronger and more flexible, they will be less likely to become fatigued and injured during daily movement, in turn stopping low back pain from developing. The daily act of exercising will also increase healthy blood flow throughout your body, which helps optimize muscle performance and improve the body’s healing function. As you continue your daily program, you will begin to see drastic improvements in your health, mood, and energy, as well as a reduction in the frequency and severity of flare-ups in your lower back.
Best Exercises to Prevent and Treat Low Back Pain
Although any form of exercise will provide some pain-relieving benefits, there are some guidelines you should follow when developing your daily routine. The most beneficial exercises to prevent and relieve lower back pain include swimming, walking, yoga, stretching, and gentle back exercises. The reason these exercises are so beneficial is they place little to no stress on your spine – what they do is allow the muscle to strengthen and stretch in order to relieve low back pain without further aggravating your symptoms.
The essential thing to keep in mind when designing the right program for you is to pay special attention to how your back reacts during each workout. Pay close attention to both immediate and slow-developing pain, and stop exercising immediately if your pain worsens or numbness arises in your back or legs. If you have any questions or concerns about starting a new exercise program, consult a medical professional for assistance.
Pairing Exercise with Chiropractic Care
Although muscle strains and muscle spasms are common causes of low back pain, your symptoms may also be a sign of a more serious spinal condition, such as sciatica or a herniated disc. If your back pain is accompanied by numbness in your legs or excruciating pain, you should contact a chiropractor and have the problem treated before it gets worse.
Through targeted spinal adjustments, a chiropractor can treat the underlying causes of your back pain, allowing the body to heal faster and be better suited for daily exercise. Once your serious condition has been treated, a chiropractor can help you develop an exercise program that is safe for your back and maximizes healing efficiency.
It is important to understand that daily exercise is not a cure-all solution to low back pain. In fact, its effectiveness will vary widely depending on the unique causes of your pain and medical history. However, by maintaining a regular exercise schedule, you will notice a great reduction in both the frequency and severity of your pain. If low back pain has become a major part of your life, consider starting an exercise regimen to relieve your symptoms, and consult a chiropractor to get back on the track of pain-free living without the need for invasive surgery or painkillers.
About the Author
Dr. Marc Browner is the Founder of iChiropractic and Wellness in Naples, Florida. A graduate of the University of Florida in 1991, he earned his Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Life Chiropractic in 1995. In private practice since 1998, Dr. Browner is a member of the Florida Chiropractic Society, the Florida Chiropractic Association, and he attends continuing education seminars, classes, and workshops to remain abreast of the most current treatment methods and technological advances in the field.