We often here that I can’t, or even shouldn’t, be exercising with back pain. This is a fear that many clients have. But we have some exciting news to the question, “can I exercise with back pain?” The fantastic news is ABSOLUTELY you can.
Low back pain is very common throughout the population, so much so that over 80% of people experience an episode of back pain at some stage during their lifetime. Although often very painful, with treatment and exercise, back pain can be helped! Physical activity is an important part of that care. It is important to come and have your back pain assessed to assess the tissues damaged and develop a plan to get you doing what you want to do again.
For years and years people have been told to lay down in bed all day, keep rested and avoid movement altogether. What we now know is this is far from the truth and is definitely not best practice! In fact, the longer you lay down the slower your recovery will be.
Do we rest at all or just keep exercising?
Of course, but we have ‘relative rest’, for example; just because we can’t run doesn’t mean we can’t go for short walks, or just because we can’t lift a 20kg bag off the ground doesn’t mean we shouldn’t bend our back at all. If you love gardening, there’s no need to stop altogether, just spend less time digging and mulching and instead potter around and do some light watering. If you run marathons don’t sit down on the couch all day, go for short jogs or walks to keep strength and fitness.
Movement causes increased blood flow, allows inflammation and fluid to move around the body to facilitate healing. It’s okay to feel some pain with movement, just because we have pain doesn’t necessarily mean we’re causing harm, to be on the safe side exercise to where pain levels stay below a 3/10
Even in very acute episodes of back pain, try to get up and change your position, walk to the mailbox, do a lap of the house, then come back rest, and do it again in an hour.
If you’re complete unsure what to do, and that’s okay, seek help from one of our Osteopaths. In an acute flare up some education and basic movement principles will help speed up your return to work or activity. Then we can progress to improving stability flexibility and strength in your subsequent visits. With good compliance and progressions, we aim to help prevent future occurrences of back pain with these principles.
Some low intensity activities to help improve back pain :
⦁ Water walking/ aerobics
There are times when seeking professional help is a must, these include
⦁ Back pain was due to a traumatic accident or fall
⦁ Pain is waking you through the night
⦁ You lose sensation into your limbs
⦁ Loss of control with bodily functions – eg going to the bathroom (Hospital)
⦁ Shooting pains, or altered sensations in limbs
Whilst visiting one of our qualified practitioners, not only will we provide you with education, but we have a hands-on approach, including but not limited to
⦁ Joint articulation
⦁ Exercise Prescription
⦁ Dry Needling