Worried About Exercise to Relieve Back Pain? Here is some advice on what to do

Updated August 17, 2016
exercise and lower back pain

Gym exercises are not necessary to relieve back pain

Avoiding Exercise as a Treatment for Lower Back Pain

For many, the idea of exercising to relieve lower back pain is not welcoming to them.  There are many valid reasons for not wanting to consider exercise.  These reasons should be respected as not all of us are able to embrace the possibility of exercising at any given time.

Most of us who don’t have back problems to begin with also prefer not to exercise simply because we don’t find pleasure or reward in it to begin with.  People with lower back pain already know what they can or can’t do and have decided where exercise is on their priority list.

Misconceptions about exercise for back issues

Part of the problem of advising people to exercise to relieve their pain is that they may already have a fixed idea of what exercise is about before we even engage in it.  If you were asked to join an exercise group, you naturally would think of specific, tough, exercises that may be performed and decide immediately whether or not you would agree to join to perform them.

When asked to consider exercising to help relieve your pain, you natural inclination is to be apprehensive since there is a possibility of re-injury or an increase in the risk of injury.  There are many other reasons but the most common is that exercise will worsen the pain.  This is true but only in relation to the type of exercise that is being recommended.

Actually. You should avoid exercise to treat lower back pain. 

The wrong type of exercise that is

If the exercise does not:

  • first, provide protective movements for the lower back
  • engage the gluteal muscles properly and effectively
  • preserve joint flexibility
  • maintain healthy posture and stability
  • prevent muscular imbalances
  • maintain optimal muscle length
  • encourage weaker muscles to develop
  • prevent you from leaning forward without support

 then it is not protective of the spine, discs and joints and should be avoided.

Avoid specific exercises first

This site, and the program it is advising is about the type of exercise that does not contribute to your pain. The primary purpose is not to promote exercise but to relieve back pain.

This is accomplished through movements, positions and stretches that you perform yourself and at your own pace and comfort level.  A fitness or gym type workout is the LAST form of exercise to recommend and is not the intention to have with regards to exercise and its role for relief.

It is vital to promote exercises as proper movements that you perform which are intended to improve your condition.  These movements usually consist of a simple position, extension or contraction of a particular muscle group to help condition them in order that they function correctly and effectively.

Not a work out, but rehabilitation

This form of exercise can be understood more as a rehabilitation and conditioning treatment.  These exercises are similar to what you would be asked to do in a clinical setting such as your doctor’s office or your physiotherapists clinic and NOT a fitness center.  This is the correct form of exercise that is being encouraged here and should be recommended for those already in pain and have concerns.

When you are already in pain, you know what you can and can’t do.  But do you know what you should do?  Lower back pain progresses over time.  It also worsens for many reasons over time.  Part of the reason is due to the overall conditioning of the muscles we use that play a role to protect our spine.   As your muscular conditioning worsens, so does your level of protection.

Avoidance of injury but not treatment

We then try of avoid any movement in the area of pain which then further worsens our muscular conditioning.  We eventually reach a point where we avoid anything that can cause more injury such as any form of exercise.  This does not help the injury.  It only prolongs it.

It is perfectly natural to feel this way and at many times, it is recommended to avoid any physical strain.  If you are at a point in your life where you believe that your pain is a signal to not move in order to protect your spine,  then there is more to consider.

You are correct in understanding that the pain signals are telling you not to move but you must understand that it is not telling you to not move at allRather, it is telling you to not move in a specific way.

Running out of options?

Sometimes, the pain and the injury can be so severe that we have run out of options of which way to move in order to find relief.  We then choose not to move at all or find help in this case.

If you have run out of options on how to ‘move’ in order to find pain relief, then you must create them.  You do not want to remain in a situation where you feel that there no longer is a way to improve your back problem.  You risk not only physical pain, but emotional and even psychological pain as well.  Creating options is not easy.

Most of us tend to create poor ones and they are usually the same ones that led to the pain as well.   The risk is that you may just create another ‘version’ of another option that does not work or apply to your relief.  There are many sources of treatment out there that work very well and many that don’t.   Most likely, you have already tried the less helpful ones and not enough of the more effective ones.

A Helpful Option for Low Back Pain

 The Low Back Pain Program offers an option that is very effective at addressing this pain because it is designed to correct what you have been doing incorrectly that led to the pain.  You perform these specific exercises yourself.  They are not designed to worsen your pain but to correct the muscular and joint imbalances and weaknesses that themselves worsen your pain.  The exercises are functional and practical. They are meant to be performed over time naturally with your daily routine instead of adding to it.  You will notice significant improvement as you commit to the exercises.

More Concerns About Exercise to Relieve Lower Back Pain. Part 2.