According to the American Chiropractic Association, back pain affects more than 30 million Americans, often resulting in the need for minimally invasive back surgery or another type of treatment. Most of this pain is preventable to some extent by keeping the muscles that support the spine as strong and flexible as possible. Certain exercises can help achieve this goal, including the 4 listed below.
Static (holding a pose) and dynamic (completing a motion) stretching can strengthen back-supporting muscles. One study found stretching to be just as effective as yoga for relieving back pain. Simple back stretches include:
- Resting on your back and lifting your knee toward your chest
- Touching your toes while in a standing position with your knees bent
- Lying on your back and extending one leg over the other
There’s plenty of reliable research to back up claims that yoga enhances mobility and promotes relaxation, both of which can also reduce back pain. The slow, controlled movements of yoga also help with coordination and balance while providing a good stretch. If you’re new to yoga, start with basic postures like the child’s pose, which involves resting on your knees and bending forward.
Similar to yoga, the moves involved in Pilates strengthen core muscles, increase flexibility, and provide added support to the spine. In a Canadian study, subjects with nonspecific lower back pain reported fewer instances of discomfort after a year of doing about 4 hours of Pilates per week. A simple move to try is the pelvic tilt, which is performed by tilting your hips upward while lying on your back with your knees bent.
4. Strength Training
Weights, bands, and machines are the most common devices used to perform various strength training exercises. Primarily consisting of your abdominal muscles, pelvic floor, shoulders, and hips, core muscle groups are often targeted with strength training. Focusing on this type of training provides some level of protection against forceful motions and movements. Basic strength training exercises include:
- Dumbbell rows
- Stationary lunges (still squats)
- Hip extensions
If you’re living with existing back pain, check with your doctor or a Beverly Hills spine surgeon before starting any type of regular exercise routine or changing your current routine. Getting input from a physical therapist or trainer who is familiar with back conditions may also be helpful.
To learn about additional exercises that can alleviate back pain, get in touch with The Spine Institute Center at 310-828-7757. Dr. Bae and his team of experts spine surgeons specialize in spinal fusion surgery and the various alternatives to spinal fusion Beverly Hills patients receive. Call our offices today to schedule an in-person evaluation.