Back exercises are almost always necessary to rehabilitate the spine and alleviate ongoing back pain. A slow controlled and gradual exercise program that is tailored to an individual is the most effective.
While a typical response to back pain is to take it easy. This may work with some back pain but resting for more than a day or two can actually worsen pain, while not help with rehabilitation. There is always some pain involved with this process and this level of pain differs from person to person. There is a level of pain that will cause more damage than good, this can be sharp, intense and make the condition worse over time. Generally, I like working in the early stages with a 1 out of 5 or less level of pain. If the injury is acute (very recent) or long term (over 6-12 months) then working to the point where you feel pain maybe appropriate. This can be built upon throughout recovery.
Benefits of Exercise
When done in a controlled, progressive manner, exercises for relieving back pain have many benefits, including:
- Strengthening the muscles that support the spine, removing pressure from the spinal discs and facet joints
- Alleviating stiffness and improving mobility
- Improving circulation to better distribute nutrients through the body, including to the spinal discs, necessary for healing
- Releasing endorphins, which can naturally relieve pain. Endorphins can also elevate mood and relieve depressive symptoms, a common effect of chronic pain.
- Reduce the frequency of back or neck pain episodes, reducing the severity of pain when it does occur
When understanding the back muscles, you need to be aware of how the supporting muscle structure is. This is the core, adductors, abductors and lateral muscles, because no group of muscles work by themselves. The body is designed to work in sync either by direct use in moving or in a supporting role. The body needs to be in balance and where one area is stronger over another there is imbalance, and problems result. This is also true for over extending yourself in strength and/or endurance.