How Exercise Can Help Your Back Pain

Written by coach Aaron at our Burleigh Heads Gym.

Low back pain is one of the most common causes of pain and impairment within the general population and can have a negative impact on quality of life.

Unfortunately, it seems low back pain can strike at any time even in someone with no history of pain or injury. Often the cause is unknown and is referred to as ‘non-specific low back pain or in other cases can be attributed to disc injury, muscle or ligament strains, osteoarthritis and degeneration, or osteoporosis.

We only have one back and due to the nature of our daily lives- lifting, carrying, work tasks, driving, posture, etc. We can often place undue stress on the back and musculoskeletal structures surrounding that area, so it’s important we take care of our body and maintain a strong and healthy back.

For someone that is suffering back pain or has sustained an injury the last thing they feel like doing is exercising.

Often you may be told to rest but gentle movement and mobility can actually aid the healing process and allow you to get back on your feet faster.

Long periods of rest or inactivity should be avoided and only used in the case of acute injuries.

Without exercise we can become deconditioned and stiff, leading to an increased risk of further episodes.

Simple activities to start with can include a gentle walk, pool or aquatic exercises, cycling, light stretching, mobility, or yoga.

For long-term management and prevention, there are some key strategies that can help keep your back safe and healthy.

Below are some ways that exercise can help manage and prevent back pain:

1. Improve mobility and reduce stiffness through gentle movement– our bodies are designed to be moved and gentle aerobic exercises like walking, cycling, or swimming along with specific stretches, mobility and yoga will help you maintain mobility and range of motion through the lumbar spine.

2. Improve strength and endurance of low back muscles and develop a strong and stable core– strength training will not only strengthen muscles of the back but also the connective tissues that help maintain strength and stability. In general, strength training will also improve the strength of supporting muscle groups ie. Glutes, hips, core, and pelvic stabilisers, all play a key role in maintaining strength, stability, and posture.

3. Helps maintain a healthy weight– this is an important factor as carrying excess weight places extra load on the back day in, day out and can increase the risk of back pain, so an exercise and nutrition program that is developed around weight management can be beneficial.

4. Helps maintain a healthy mind– evidence shows that individuals with low self-efficacy and depressive symptoms experience a greater incidence of low back pain and a greater impact of disability in their daily lives. As we know exercise is not only good for the body but good for the mind. This highlights the important role regular exercise plays in mental health, positive psychology, self-efficacy, and stress reduction.

If you have been impacted by back pain in recent times don’t hesitate to reach out and we can discuss some strategies and an exercise program that can be developed specific to you to keep you fit, strong, and pain-free. Click here to chat with one of our coaches, We’d love to help!

Our gym is located in Burleigh Heads just off the highway. Want to find out a little bit more about us? Click here.