Exercises That Help Reduce Back Pain

It is no secret that physicians recommend stretching and regular exercise to alleviate back pain. Unfortunately many back pain sufferers attempt these exercises without the supervision of a doctor of physical therapist, which often leads to worsening back pain and further injury. Even if you only suffer from mild back pain and don’t necessarily require the services of a physical therapist, you should seek advice about what forms of exercise are effective for your back pain.

The exercises below have been proven effective for back pain relief, so find out if they can work for you.

Yoga and Pilates To Reduce Back Pain

Plenty of back pain sufferers make one big mistake that often hinders treatment: staying in bed or resting for too long. Rest is a crucial part of the recovery process, however staying in bed for more than two to three days can actually increase the recovery time. Being active is even more effective to back pain relief than rest because it soothes and strengthens the muscles, which can alleviate pain while preventing future back pain.

Yoga and Pilates combine stretching with resistance exercises that are recommended for back pain relief. While these are effective exercises to reduce pain, back pain patients must also find a therapeutic way to address muscle imbalances. For most patients it will come in the form of muscle balance therapy, but you will need to work with your back pain expert to find a proper treatment.

Pilates Exercises

Developed in the early part of the 20th Century by Joseph Pilates, the goal of Pilates exercises is to improve stability and core strength. Many athletes such as dancers, tennis players and football players turn to Pilates because it helps transform the way the body moves, allowing more efficient and graceful movements. By moving with fewer jerky movements that affect the body’s natural shock absorbers, you can reduce and prevent back pain.

Pilates is a convenient form of exercise because it requires very little equipment; just an exercise mat and resistance bands which are readily available as well as inexpensive. But more than that, back pain sufferers are turning to Pilates for pain relief because you don’t have to be a fitness buff for it to be beneficial. Although some of the positions can be difficult, they can all be modified to a lower skill level for each student.

Your physical therapist as probably told you time and again how important core strength is to reducing back pain, which is exactly the goal of Pilates exercises. A strong core helps improve overall stability, which improves posture and places less stress upon the back muscles. This is an effective combination for back pain relief.

Warning: Before signing up for a Pilates class or starting that Pilates video at home, you need to begin treatment for the muscle imbalance. Beginning an exercise regimen on imbalanced muscles will cause a further imbalance to occur with the overall effect of continuing the back pain and in some cases, worsening. Pilates for back pain can be quite effective, if done correctly.

Yoga To Reduce Back Pain

Yoga is one of the best exercises to reduce back pain because the main goal is body and mind relaxation. Reducing stress—on the body and in life in general—can reduce back pain and relax back muscles. Although yoga has been around for centuries, it has only become popular in the Western world in the last several decades as we have learned more about the healing properties of yoga.

Why yoga? Yoga exercises and poses can help reduce back pain because it focuses on proper breathing techniques and meditation. The different yoga poses require  good posture and help to keep the spine in its natural ‘S’ curve to avoid undue pressure and tension on the muscles and nerves in the back.

Just like with Pilates, any muscle imbalances you suffer from should be addressed before beginning any type of yoga class.

Some of the yoga poses that help alleviate back pain include;

  • Downward Facing Dog
  • Child’s Pose
  • Back Pigeon
  • Back Wall Plank
  • Back Fists Forward Fold

It is important to your recovery that you ease each into these stretches to avoid further injury. By addressing the muscle imbalance first through other forms of back pain therapy, you will find yoga and Pilates are an excellent form of pain relief and strengthening muscles.

Filed Under: Back Pain
Written By:  Updated:
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Jesse Cannone, CFT, CPRS, MFT

Jesse is the co-founder and visionary CEO of The Healthy Back Institute®, the world-leading source of natural back pain solutions. His mission as a former back pain sufferer is to help others live pain free without surgery and pharmaceuticals.

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