If you have recurring back pain, it’s best to get some type of regular exercise to sufficiently strengthen the muscle groups that support your spine. However, actually achieving this goal can be a challenge if you’re concerned about doing more harm than good when going to the gym or working out in the comfort of home. While you’ll want to stay away from equipment that puts too much stress on your backbone, there are certain pieces of exercise equipment that can be beneficial even if you have a bad back. If they’ve had any kind of spine surgery, such as extreme lateral interbody fusion, Beverly Hills residents should consult their spine surgeons before attempting to use any type of exercise equipment.
An elliptical trainer is designed to offer a no-impact workout because the machine has a suspended platform for each foot, allowing you to take nonstop strides. Your feet don’t have to leave the platforms as you get your workout, which reduces the risk of unexpected jolts. The handles on most elliptical trainers can be adjusted so you can burn calories, stimulate lower body muscles, and tone your upper body in a way that’s comfortable and supportive.
Tip: Using the handles could result in some trunk-twisting motion, so check with your doctor first to make sure this is acceptable with your type of back pain.
The basic design of a treadmill is pretty straightforward—a belt moves as you make your strides. It’s best to stick with a moderate pace if you have recurring issues with back pain. Just avoid holding on to the sides tightly, since this could limit the natural movements of your torso and increase your risk of making your back pain worse.
Traditional cycling can be beneficial, but the terrain isn’t always controllable. If you have back pain, a safer alternative is a stationary bike. You have two main options with stationary bikes:
• Traditional stationary bikes – These bikes are driven by belts, but the belts are usually wide enough to increase stability, and the seats are often supportive.
• Recumbent stationary bikes – These bikes have backrests and a design that allows you to extend your legs forward in a way that makes it easier to maintain your posture and spinal alignment.
Tip: If you’re new to stationary biking, you may benefit from taking classes. You could also start with a more supportive recumbent bike and move to a traditional one once you notice improvements in your back pain.
A step machine, or stepper, allows you to strengthen the lower body muscles that support your spine in a controlled way by making climbing movements. A step treadmill is different in that your feet will be on a series of revolving steps. A step machine is lower impact, so you may be advised to start with this piece of equipment before trying a step treadmill.
Tip: It’s fine to hold on to the sides for support, but do so lightly so you don’t limit your body’s natural movements.
If you have back issues, check with your doctor or a Beverly Hills spine surgeon before using any type of exercise equipment on a regular basis. Also, explore other forms of exercise, such as walking, yoga, or water-based exercises. The more well-rounded your exercise routine is, the more likely you are to benefit from stronger spine-supporting muscles.
The spinal health experts at The Spine Institute know what it takes to keep your spine healthy, and that includes exercising safely. If you’re experiencing pain in your back or neck, see us for diagnosis and treatment before you embark on any new exercise regimen. Call one of our friendly representatives at 310-828-7757 today to schedule a consultation.