If you are experiencing back pain should you exercise? a question I regularly get asked.

Assuming you have had a diagnosis or understand what is going on with back pain then exercise is nearly always recommended, if in doubt get it checked out. This is article is for back pain that seems to come and go.

With exercise and back pain you do need to be mindful of what and why and act accordingly, you don’t want to run the risk of aggravating it any more in case it turns into something more serious, even though this is quite rare.

With back pain there is a fear factor, particularly if you have had a serious bout where you couldn’t get up from a chair or even going to local shop was considered a massive task. These are all understandable thoughts but it’s quite rare for severe reactions, it is common to get niggles, aches and pains particularly starting a new sports activity or upping your game for an event such as tough mudder.

The reason to keeping active and exercising is this; movement keeps your joints mobile and muscles working, reducing tension allowing you to function to the best of your ability.

What exercise should you do?

From our point of view we look at three things, first get things moving, and then we look to improve strength and flexibility.

Some of the most popular exercises to encourage these are;

Pilates; a great exercise to engage the core, improve mobility, working the whole body in a slow controlled way. This discipline is more about core stability.

Next is yoga to help flexibility and engage the core, I would point out the style of yoga you do is important going more for slow precision rather than the power yoga types, not until you are fully fit anyway.

Yoga stretches your joints, ligaments an muscles improving circulation at the painful site but also the rest of the body such as the shoulders, hips and legs which can all contribute to back pain or take pressure off the back. Yoga works the core but is more about helping the flexibility.

Last but not least is walking, this is simply a great exercise ticking a lot of boxes; you can start slow while engaging your core working postural muscles and mobilising the spine, building up to brisk walking with purpose.

These three exercise will not only help your back get mobile but each can be progressive and taken to a level that helps even the competitive athlete, and often undertaken by professional sportspeople .

Having treated many people including athletes often there is an imbalance in training i.e. lack of stretching and so on which can all be contributing factors to back pain, these three exercises can really compliment your training regime.

As mentioned, if your pain tends to come and go then these will really help. Your back needs all components to be healthy, they will help manage tension from sitting long periods and working habits and simply get you moving.

Remember; Mobility, Strength and Flexibility.

Keep active keep moving

Francis Connor