If you’re living with back pain, getting regular exercise is often a balancing act between finding something beneficial but not likely to make pain worse. For many back pain sufferers, this means turning to gentle exercises like yoga, tai chi, or Pilates often recommended by Santa Monica spine surgeons.
Any of the physical forms of yoga involve holding poses for 10 to 60 seconds in a way that improves muscle strength. Many common yoga poses stretch back, abdominal, and upper thigh muscles, all of which directly or indirectly support your spine. Range of motion may also be improved with poses involving gentle stretches from one side to another.
Consisting of slow, deliberate, synchronized moves, tai chi involves more movement than yoga. This can be good for your back since tai chi doesn’t have any jarring or jerky motions that are hard on the spine. Rhythmical breathing increases blood flow to muscles and circulation throughout your body. Posture can also be improved with tai chi, even without doing the exercises.
If you have back pain stemming from degeneration of discs or joints, Pilates can help improve your posture and correct alignment issues. As posture improves, there’s less wear and tear on joints and discs, translating to less back pain. Pilates also promotes an awareness of how the body moves and what movements are likely to result in stress and tension.
Even if you find a class specific to your age group and skill level, lessons may not be at a pace that’s good for your back. Individual sessions with a qualified instructor allow for more one-on-one feedback and greater customization with each session. Consider twice-a-week sessions until you learn the moves and the positions you can safely perform on your own at home.
While any of these forms of exercise can be good for your back, check with a board-certified spine specialist first before starting a class or practicing different moves. Certain movements may aggravate back pain if you’re not careful. Choose positions based on your level of comfort and flexibility.
If back pain is affecting your daily life, it might be time to speak with a qualified spine surgeon who can discuss possibilities for pain relief. Reach out to Dr. Hyun Bae at The Spine Institute Center by calling (310) 828-7757. Dr. Bae’s extensive experience in spine surgery and research ensures you’ll be presented with all possible treatment options and understand what may be most effective for you.