The Best (And Worst) Exercises for Lower Back Pain
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The Best (And Worst) Exercises for Lower Back Pain

woman holding her painful back after exercising in parkIt’s summertime. The sun is out. The weather is nice and hot, and families all over the Rio Grande Valley are getting out and about, going to the parks, riding their bikes, and enjoying the outdoors.

Except you’re stuck inside with some heavy duty lower back pain.

If the great outdoors is calling your name and you feel like it’s time to get back on your feet – awesome! But before you do just that, it’s important for you to know which are the best exercises for your condition, and perhaps even more importantly, which exercises can do you more harm.

It’s the goal of our McAllen chiropractors at Hendrick Wellness Center to help you reclaim your active lifestyle with dedicated chiropractic services designed for your specific needs. We want to share with you some very important information that can help you get your life back.

Let’s make this summer a great one together!

Great Exercises for Lower Back Pain

1. Exercise Walking

If you have been dealing with severe lower back pain, you may have decided it would be best to just stay in bed for a few days. Bad idea!

The National Institute of Health has reported that staying in a bed over multiple days can actually make your pain worse. Instead, opt-in for some exercise walking to start the recovery process. You’ll want to walk at a moderate pace that gently works your muscles. Just remember that this IS NOT a jog. It’s walking but at a little more intensive in pace.

Take a walk around your neighborhood, at a local park trail, or if the day is too hot, take it inside to your local mall.

2. Stay Cool in the Pool

You might not have realized it but swimming is a great low-impact aerobic exercise for lower back pain. The water works great because it adds resistance to your movement while getting the blood flowing to your back muscles.

Most water exercises are safe for back pain. Talk to your chiropractor about which might be best for you.

Plus, being that it’s summer, you get the added benefit of staying cool in the water.

3. Planks

Woman doing plank exercise isolated on white background

Planks are one of the safest exercises for strengthening core muscles. Even better, they are relatively easy to do.

To do one:

  • Place your forearms on the ground with your elbow aligned with your shoulders.
  • Arms should be parallel to the body at about shoulder length.
  • Your body should be lifted above the ground; squeeze your glutes to stabilize your body.
  • Neutralize your neck and spine and keep them aligned with your back.
  • Hold the position for 15-20 seconds. Perform 8-12 times.

4. Biking or Stationary Bicycle

Biking or stationary bicycles are both great exercises recommended for lower back pain sufferers. Depending on the level of pain you are feeling, however, it might be best for you to stick with a stationary bike as you won’t have to deal with the impact of riding on bumpy gravel or uneven ground. Many stationary bikes also come in reclined positions which helps to provide back support.

If you decide to go for a nice bike ride, keep sessions short for the time being until you start feeling better and can handle more.

5. Don’t Forget Those Stretches

There are a number of amazing stretches that can really do wonders for your lower back pain (and even help with neck and shoulder issues). Luckily, we’ve collected the top 10 for you here. You’ll find all the instructions provided in the link.

A few of our more favorite ones include:

Yoga and pilates are also two great forms of stretching. Just make sure to take it easy as some of the more advanced moves can hurt your worse.

6. Bridging

woman practices yoga

This exercise is great at helping you to develop a bit of muscle around your stomach and lower back. To begin, you’ll want to:

  • Lie on your back with knees bent and your heels on the floor.
  • Push your heels into the floor while squeezing your buttocks and lifting your hips off the floor.
  • Your shoulder, hips, and knees should be in a straight line.
  • Hold for about 5 seconds
  • Slowly begin lowering your hips and give yourself a few seconds to rest
  • Repeat 8 to 12 times

It’s important to keep in mind that these exercises are intended to be low-impact and should not cause additional pain. If while performing these exercises you feel substantial amounts of pain, do not continue to use them. There may be a greater underlying cause that should not be ignored. Visit your doctor immediately.

Exercises to Avoid!

1. Just Say No to Toe Touches

This tends to be a fan favorite whenever we think of stretching, but toe touches are one of the worst exercises/stretches to perform as they put a lot of unnecessary stress on your discs and ligaments.

2. Avoid Heavy Weights

There’s a bit of a gray area when it comes to weights. Some medical professionals consider using light weights fine when done with the proper form.

But there’s a general consensus that heavy weight lifting should be completely avoided. Especially when it means lifting weights overhead.

If you’re an active gym member, ask your chiropractor what types of weight-lifting exercises are ok for you.

3. Avoid High-Impact Exercise

Any type of movement or exercise that puts heavy stress on your joints is only going to make your condition worse. High-impact activities like running, jumping, twisting, and turning are to be avoided until you have properly healed.

4. Yes to Planks! No to Sit-Ups

Earlier we mentioned the importance of building up your core muscles a bit with recommended planks, but that doesn’t mean you should do full-blown sit-ups. Raising your body to a full-sitting up position can put too much pressure on your lower back while repeated flexing of the spine squeezes the discs in your back, which can lead to bulging or herniation.

5. Be Careful When Strengthening Your Core

There are a number of exercises designed to strengthen your core, but if you are already experiencing back pain and have weak abdominal muscles, these can cause greater damage.

One such core-strengthening exercise to avoid is leg lifts. This can be a very demanding movement and can make back pain worse.

Let the McAllen chiropractors at Hendrick Wellness help you get your summer back.

We understand how frustrating and painful it can be dealing with constant lower back pain. The list of exercises provided can help you deal with some of the minor pain associated with an injury but that doesn’t mean you should avoid a trip to the doctor or a chiropractor. You condition may require treatment and holding off on it can lead to greater issues.

To schedule a consultation today, contact us at 956-630-2255. We also gladly accept walk-ins.

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