Posted on May 06 2018
It can seem like every popular fitness routine hurts everything when you have back pain. Whether it's related to an injury or degenerative disease, back pain encoumpases a lot of people’s daily life. If you are trying to get fit, it can make it really hard and often complicated. Because you don't want to re-injure or hurt yourself more, you may be unsure of what kind of exercises you should be doing. Here are four exercises for a strong back when you have back pain.
First, before starting any sort of exercise routine, make sure you consult with your doctor. Your doctor may have some suggestions on how to alter some of these exercises. Keep in mind that I am not a medical professional. Also, if you have back pain of an unknown origin, make sure to seek out medical advice as well.
Before I get into some good exercises to do when you have back pain, let's look at some exercises that are not recommended. I have consulted with my physical therapist to gain an understanding of back exercises that are recommended. Again, check with your own physical therapist for their suggestions.
Back Exercises That Can Be Bad for Back Pain
Steer clear of certain machines at the gym. These include exercises like the Torso twist, and any machine that does not support your back fully. Many times, these machines are made for abs, but they are terrible for backs.
Skip exercises such as toe touches. Just like with the machines, this exercise does not support your back or require you to use your abs to support it. It also incorporates a lot of twisting that can be very bad for your spine.
With any of these exercises that I suggest, make sure you are using your abs to support your back. With a back that has some pain, it is very important to build your abs so that you can support your back and take the pressure off of it. I currently do water therapy and I find that it is very, very helpful. Talk to your provider about a referral if you also suffer from back pain.
Exercises for a Strong Back
Wall Sits- In the image, you can see that I'm doing this against a tree, but you could do it against the wall as well. Imagine that there is a chair that you were going to sit on that is against the wall. Before starting, make sure your back and shoulders are pressed firmly against the wall. Have your feet a little more than shoulder-width apart for stability. Now, slide down as if you are in a sitting position. Use your abs to hold yourself in place for 20 seconds at a time.
Partial Press-Ups- This is almost a yoga position, but not quite. You may be familiar with a press/push up. This is about half of that exercise and almost a plank. It's great because it also helps you engage your core so that you can support your back. To do this, lie on your stomach, place your forearms on the ground in front of you and bring your shoulders up. You will not be pushing through your hands but rather holding your stability with your forearms such as you do during a plank. Be careful not to arch your back. Hold this position for 20 seconds at a time.
Pelvic Tilts- This exercise is similar to a bridge. I find it to be much easier on my back. Again, it's another good exercise to train your abs to support your back. You may not be able to see much movement but you will be doing the movement and feeling it. This is also a great stretch to do. For pelvic tilts, simply bring your tailbone in and out using your abs to support it. I like to place my hands on my stomach and imagine that I'm pressing my hips in and out. You can do this as long as it feels good. Try not to move through it too fast, but rather do it slowly.
Overhead Lift- The overhead lift is great for your upper back and shoulders if this is the part of your body that brings you the most pain. I grabbed two 5 lb free weights or this exercise. To do overhead lifts, simply start with your two weights behind you while lying flat on your back on the ground. Now, engage your core and bring your arms to the front. Breathe, and bring your arms back again while engaging your core. Try not to lock your elbows or bring your arms so far back that it hurts your shoulders. You should feel this stretch through your upper back and shoulders.
Read more by Christine here.