Best Cardio Exercises For Lower Back Pain
by Dr. Don DuffOct 30, 2019
Cardio exercises and activities boost heart health and improve your quality of lifebut they can also pose a problem for people with back pain. How can you get an aerobic workout without aggravating your pain, or making your condition worse? Or maybe youve had disc problems in the past and want to get back to exercise, but are worried about bringing it on again.
The good news is there are workouts for individuals suffering with back pain that can get your heart rate up without impacting your back. This article covers the best cardio workouts for lower back painand exercises that should be avoided to prevent doing further damage.
Back Pain Training Keys
If you have persistent lower back pain, you can still exercise. The key thing is managing risk in all your exercise choices. Theres inherent risk in any exercise and really in any movement period but what you must do if you have back pain is avoid exercises with a ton of inherent risk.
In the long term, as you build more and more core strength, your back will grow stronger in more and more positions. But when youre starting out with lower back pain, you need to minimize body positions that place the lower back at risk.
That means thinking carefully about a few ideas.
Rounding Your Back
A rounded lower back is a position you dont want to be in with lower back pain. Avoid it by avoiding motions that have your shoulders falling below your hips. If your shoulders are always above your hips, its harder to round in the lower back.
Twisting At the Lower Back
Your body is meant to be able to twist and turn . But if youre dealing with back pain, such twists can be a source of pain. This doesnt mean you shouldnt twist, but you need to maintain control of those twists and that can be challenging to do from certain positions and while holding weights in certain ways.
Arching Your Lower Back
Daily Moves To Prevent Low Back Pain
Stretching and strengthening daily is your best bet to delay the next attack of low back pain.
When low back pain flares up, most men can’t do more than grit their teeth, reach for a numbing cold pack, and wait for it to get better. Four out of five of us experience low back pain sometime in our lives, but this common source of suffering is also an opportunity.
“An episode of acute low back pain is a call to action for people who are simply not exercisers,” says Dr. Jeffrey N. Katz, professor of orthopedic surgery and medicine at Harvard Medical School. “It is a good time to make a commitment to exercise when you are starting to feel a bit bettertypically in a few weeks.”
It’s important to understand that exercise is not guaranteed to eliminate back pain however, exercise could make it less frequent. “You could have a lower risk of flare-ups over the subsequent year,” Dr. Katz says.
Katie Mckinney Ace Cpt And Gfi Fms Level 1
Say you’ve been struck with back pain, the kind that seems to be getting in the way of everything. It’s an extremely common scenario. The National Institutes of Health estimates about 80 percent of American adults will experience lower back pain at some point.
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It might mess with how well you sleep or your ability to sit upright in a desk chair during the work day. Or the pain might lead you to put a pause on your usual workout routine in attempts to keep it from getting worse.
How Radiating Pain Helps You
The location of your symptoms tells you when youre making progress. Symptoms travelling further away from your spine means the nerve is more irritated. Pain moving closer to your spine is a positive sign that the nerve is feeling better.
This phenomenonwhen pain moves closer to your spineis called centralization. Patients who experience centralization are 7.8x more likely to feel better in 2 weeks than those who dont!
Use this information to your advantagespend less time doing things that send pain down your leg. Instead, find the positions that move the pain towards your spine!
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Back Pain Exercise: Relieves Tight Glutes
Place the BALL 12 on the floor and sit on it with one side of your buttocks. Place the leg on the side to be treated on top of the other legs thigh. Move slowly on the spot and notice any specific tender points.
Spend around 15 seconds on the spots where you feel the most pain and breathe calmly and deeply. Include the sides of your glutes by turning slightly to the side.
Tip: during this back pain exercise, push your shoulders back and your chest out. That way, you also get to perform a stability exercise for your shoulder girdle. Is the pain too severe? Then perform the exercise with the BLACKROLL®.
Stretch #2 Prayer Stretch
Starting with prayer stretch is a great way to gauge your range of motion, pain sensation, and still get benefits of a stretch. It is important when dealing with low back pain to move slowly and purposefully to avoid positions and movements that reproduce symptoms dramatically.
For this exercise you will want to start out on your hands and knees with your eyes looking down at the floor. A straight line from your glutes to the top of your head for proper spinal alignment.
Once in that position, take a deep breath in through the nose and out through the mouth slowly releasing the air as you sit your hips back on your heels. The lower you can get the better, drop your chest and head down as you fully exhale and hold the position for 30 seconds.
This stretch targets the low back specifically but also helps get the pelvis into a more favorable position to stretch the back muscles entirely in a safe manner. Repeat this stretch and attempt to get lower each time until your hips can comfortably sit on your heels. This is a great stretch to start or end the day.
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Repeated Flexion In Lying
Flexion exercises help 7% of people with a directional preferenceolder adults benefit from flexion more often than younger people, though Ive worked with a handful of flexion-responders in their 20s.
Lay on your back and gently pull your knees towards your chest. Hold 3 seconds. Repeat 10-15 times.
To learn how repeated motions can fix a pinched nerve, check out Treat Your Own Back. Its a best-selling book that has empowered thousands of people to overcome back pain .
Exercise And Back Pain Hells Own Elephant
The Global Year About Back Pain aims to guide and support clinicians, scientists, and the public in understanding the global challenges of preventing and treating back pain.
Its getting cramped in here and I cant work out why. Im inside a room labelled how to treat low back pain and something enormous is taking up all the space.
Exercise is at the heart of the physical therapies in the treatment of back pain. Most forms of therapeutic exercise boast arguably plausible theories and dont require a belief in magic. Exercise is something that patients can be taught to do, is less likely to breed passive reliance on therapists and so should empower patients. Exercise Rocks! .
Best Practice & Research in Clinical Rheumatology has just published a special edition on back pain research and one paper caught my eye. A very well respected group of researchers from the Netherlands have produced an overview of systematic reviews of exercise therapies for low back pain. This research group have as much expertise at doing this as any in the world. Their findings are not so different from previous reviews but are no less striking for that. Heres what they found:
Exercise is more effective than usual care, not more or less effective than back school/education classes, behavioural therapy, electrotherapy, spinal manipulation or psychotherapy and no type of exercise therapy is clearly more effective than another.
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Mobilization And Stretching Exercises For Back Pain
You can lower your muscle tension with myofascial techniques. You can create a better range of motion through targeted stretching exercises. On the one hand, it can relieve your back pain, and on the other, you can prevent further problems.
These two exercises against back pain should relieve your spine.
How To Fix Lower Back Pain At Home
Lower back pain is an increasingly common experience for so many people around the world. It can strike after exercise, traumatic event, or even lifting the laundry bin. The spine and its muscles are a robust network to support the body and its movement but can also be the source of discomfort and pain.
The most important aspect of dealing with low back pain is getting the right care at the right time.
If you experience a traumatic injury or event that leads to back pain seek immediate medical attention. The list of stretches and exercises below assume that your back pain is a non-emergency injury and you can tolerate a pain-free range of motion throughout each movement.
These movements are in order of intensityand complexity, if you are trying them at home do work through the list progressively.
All of the stretches should be done daily and exercises can be completed in 3 sets of 10 repetitions 3-4 times a week. Also, if you have a foam roller that can too be a good way to carefully releave pain.
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Exercising With Lower Back Pain: Should You Work Through The Pain
Though many might think foregoing physical activity is the best response to lower back pain, exercise plays a vital role in rehabilitating the back. Read:Exercise and Back Pain
But what should you do if your exercise regimen exacerbates your lower back condition? Should you work through the pain?
Set A Clear Exercise Routine
Once your back injury is to the point where you can work it out a bit harder, set the intention for the type of exercise you should do.
For instance, assess your pain level and decide if you can stick with the usual activity or if youd be better off scaling it down a bit by performing an easier activity for example, you may choose aquatic exercises or light stretching over running or lifting weights.
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Relax And Stay Positive
Trying to relax is a crucial part of easing the pain as muscle tension caused by worrying about your condition may make things worse.
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Although it can be difficult, it helps to stay positive and recognise that your pain should get better. People who manage to stay positive despite their pain tend to recover quicker.
Exposing Yourself To Repetitive Stresses
A lot of physical injuries dont happen all of a sudden, but instead, over time are caused by performing the same motions repetitively. A good example is tennis elbow. If you perform the same exercises over and over, in the same way every time, or if youre only focusing on one muscle group and not the others, youre creating an imbalance that could lead to gradual inflammation and tearing.
Instead, develop a balanced exercise plan that changes your movements up from time to time and allows you to work for various muscle groups.
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First A Few Quick Tips
Stretch your lower back with safety and care. Be especially gentle and cautious if you have any type of injury or health concern. Its best to talk with your doctor first before starting any new types of exercise.
You can do these stretches once or twice a day. But if the pain seems to get worse, or youre feeling very sore, take a day off from stretching.
Be mindful of your bodys limits and dont push your body to do too much. Listen to your body and do what feels best for you in each moment.
As you go through these stretches, take your time and pay close attention to your breathing. Use your breath as a guide to make sure you dont strain or overdo it. You should be able to breathe comfortably and smoothly throughout each pose or stretch.
Ditch Direct Spinal Compression
Avoiding direct spinal compression will allow you to train pain free while also going heavy and keeping the intensity sky high. Direct spinal compression refers to loads placed on top of the spine, for example a high or lower bar position. Without diving too deep into mundane movement science and anatomy that you dont care about, compressive loading increases shear forces in the lumbar spine, and increases core instability due to the high center of gravity, making it one of the riskiest loaded positions for those recovering from spinal insult.
Keeping the load under the level of your current pain or site of injury will decrease the risk of a lower back exacerbation or re-injury. Unless you have freaky short arms, the easiest way to keep the center of gravity low is through placing loads in the hands. In this hang position your shoulder joints act as a dynamic fulcrum allowing accommodating changes in the center of mass. This will decrease shear forces, which by this point you realize is kind of a big deal.
Watch Low Back Pain Exercise Videos On Spineuniverse
With the help of a physical therapist, SpineUniverse created a video series of exercises and stretches you can do every day to help keep a healthy back .
- Watch our back pain exercise videosbut please remember that before starting any exercise program, you should check with your doctor to make sure it’s safe and right for you.
With the help of your doctor, physical therapist, and health club staff, you can achieve proper physical fitness and reduce or prevent lower back pain.
SpineUniverse Editorial Board CommentaryIn this article, Dr. Kolettis nicely summaries the important issues involved in the question: Can Exercises Control Back Pain? This question has been studied in various scientific articles, often with mixed results. It can sometimes be quite difficult to scientifically “prove” that one form of exercise will fully treat a variety of low back problems. The scientific evidence, biomechanical principles, and sometimes common sense can be helpful to both the clinician and the patient.
Back Exercise Starter Moves
Daily stretching and strengthening exercises can help to prevent flare-ups of back pain related to muscle strains and sprains. Perform these three exercises daily after a back pain flare-up subsides and your doctor says it’s safe. Take it slow, and stop if it hurts.
Starting with the knees bent, pull one knee to your chest and hold the stretched position for 5 to 10 seconds. Alternate sides repeat 5 to 10 times each.
Starting with the knees bent, pull both knees to your chest and hold the stretched position for 5 to 10 seconds. Repeat 5 to 10 times.
Starting with the knees bent, flatten your lower back to the bed or floor. Hold the back flat for 5 to 10 seconds. Repeat 10 times.
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Strengthen Your Core And Glutes
From a position of neutral pelvic alignment, you can then properly do exercises that engage your core and glutes.
Heimann recommended wall squats and low bridges in which you bend your knees in front of you, and then raise the hips, keeping the pelvis in neutral and firming the glutes. Make sure not to pop the rib cage up, which will throw off your alignment.
You can then do variations on low bridge, like a one-legged bridge where one leg is straight and the other is bent, then switch. Heimann suggested holding each for a minute and doing it about four times a day. You could also lift and lower for 30 counts.
Planks are a good way to build core strength while keeping the spine in neutral alignment. Singh advised avoiding crunches or situps following back pain or an injury.
Planks are a great way to keep your core strong by engaging your transverse abdominis muscle, the most important core muscle, Singh said. They also engage the core without putting excess stress on either the disc or the joints and the muscles.
To properly execute a plank, put your forearms flat on a mat . Keep your back straight. Lift your head but leave your chin down, keeping your neck in line with your back. Hold for 30 seconds or up to a minute or two minutes, depending on your fitness level. There are several plank variations to try once you get the hang of it. Singh also recommends Supermans, a lotus yoga pose and a cat-cow yoga pose.
Best Exercises To Help With Lower Back Pain
We all must have suffered from one form of back pain or the other at some point in our lives. You may have wanted to reach for something that fell to the ground once only to realize you feel so much pain in your lower back. Lower back pain is sometimes inevitable due to the kind of lifestyle most people live. The pain in the lower back could be caused by a long list of reasons from lifestyle, posture, to health conditions. It is also crucial to note that lower back pain isnt just limited to the elderly or individuals who are advanced in age. People of various age ranges have complained about having lower back pain at some point in their life.
When experiencing lower back pain, it is essential you see a physical therapist who can diagnose the true cause of your pain and prescribe lasting solutions. Some of the causes of lower back pain include prolonged sitting in one position, work injuries, genetics, bad posture, and sports injuries. Medical conditions such as stenosis which is the narrowing of the spinal canal, and arthritis are also common causes of lower back pain. Sometimes the lower back pain can be sudden while other times it may be latent, only showing up after an injury.
1. Glute Bridges
2. Lower Trunk Rotation Stretch
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