Home > Pain Prevention > The Fitness-Back Pain Connection Part 2

The Fitness-Back Pain Connection Part 2

Back Pain and FitnessNow that we know the why and the how of the fitness and back pain connection, let’s look at “how much.” That is, how much exercise should you engage in? The easy answer is… well, sorry, there is no easy answer. There is no general consensus on this topic, so the best answer is: learn your own body and find out what works best for you.

A good starting point for people looking to begin exercising would be to do low to moderate intensity exercise (like walking) of any kind 3-4 times a week for about 20-30 minutes. If you start to see and feel the benefits of this exercise regimen and want to challenge yourself further, then go for it by increasing the number of days, duration, intensity, or type of exercise. Remember, even activities that we take for granted like walking, shopping, housework, or gardening all contribute to the overall amount of exercise we engage in daily. And staying active is key to reducing the risk of developing a painful back condition, like a herniated disc.

It’s also important not to neglect stretching the muscles, ligaments, and tendons of the core and spine. Muscle stretching helps reduce muscle tension and increases range of motion in the joints, which leads to improved balance and a reduction in the chances you’ll take a painful fall.  Remember to begin by warming your body up and sending blood to the muscles, which makes them more receptive to stretching and less prone to injury.  Stretching shouldn’t be rigorous or painful (you shouldn’t have to grit your teeth); it should be a gradual movement that is held for 30 seconds on each side. Here are the most important muscles to focus on to help alleviate lower back pain.

Hamstring muscles in the back of the leg help aid posture during sitting and standing, while supporting the buttocks and hip flexor muscles, all of which reduces stress on the lower back.

Psoas Major is a muscle that is attached to the front part of the lumbar (lower) spine and can great reduce the back’s range of motion if its tight, making standing or kneeling for long periods of time difficult.

Gluteus or buttocks muscles helps support hip stability as well as flexibility of the pelvic muscles

Piriformis is a muscle that extends from the back of the thigh bone to the base of the spine. Often, when this muscle is tight, it can cause sciatica pain and joint dysfunction.

Remember, exercise can help prevent or even alleviate certain kinds of back pain, but it is not a panacea for every spinal condition. Chronic back pain sufferers need to carefully moderate their levels of activity to prevent a flare-up of painful symptoms. If you’re in pain and unsure of what the next step to take is, it’s recommended you see a professional who specializes in back pain.

At Living Well Medical in NYC, Dr. Steven Shoshany is an experienced chiropractic doctor who has numerous treatment options available for patients in need of pain relief from conditions such as bulging discs, spinal stenosis, and sciatica. Give us a call and we’ll help you return to more functional, satisfying lifestyle.

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