why exercise?

5 vital reasons exercising (the right way) can relieve back pain

By Sherwin Nicholson | Updated May 1, 2020

Will it aggravate my current pain?  Should I avoid it? I’m afraid.

The 5 five reasons people avoid exercise and why you shouldn’t

At first, it may seem hard to believe that it should even be a recommended option.  If you’re already hurting, it’s very understandable.  But I am not recommending the kind of risky fitness moves that most people would imagine that goes on in a gym.

Don’t visualize yourself moving around in a fitness room frantically at a fast uncomfortable pace.  You don’t have to picture being told to perform some long, unexciting, painful and tedious movements that don’t help.  Fitness type movements only add to our busy lives and may cause some of us to feel worse afterwards.

The 5 five reasons people avoid exercise and why you shouldn’t

1) Relevant

You can tell someone to perform an exercise to help with their pain, but if they don’t understand why then they may not care to do it or continue to.  If you don’t see the point or importance, you’ll only associate it as a chore and possibly lose interest.

When you learn why you should do it, you’ll want to perform it proactively to help protect yourself from further injury and discomfort.

Solution: Find purpose in the actions

Proactive exercise has a big payoff.  It works and you feel better after.  The more you commit, the better the results.  When you start to feel better, you know that what you are doing is definitely relevant for you.

 A protective one is what you will want to do and will enjoy over and over. Since your movements are more purposeful, then it becomes a lot easier to do.

For example, did you know that squats and lunges will help keep your spine more stable? It’s true.  The more you do it, the less you’ll hurt.  Squats and lunges can be done anytime you need to lower yourself down.

Avoid leaning over.   You’ll injure a disc or strain a muscle.  Instead learn how to lower yourself safely and easily using your leg and not your body.

One way to look at it is to view all movements as “exercise”. Technically it is, especially when you are moving functionally.  This means that you are flex your joint as it is intended.

You need to sit and stand literally several dozens of times per day.  This IS exercise. If you squat carefully and slowly while minimizing bending your spine, then you are performing a very beneficial exercise to protect your back.

2) Comfort 

Most likely you are already hurting and are naturally apprehensive to any movement that will worsen it. 

Everyone’s level of discomfort is different on severity, muscle groups involved, vertebral and disc wear, mobility, pain tolerance and certainly many other factors.

Movements and stretches are not always comfortable.  If you control it at your chosen pace with the goal in mind to progress, then the discomfort will subside as you are carefully reconditioning your body into a healthier state to feel better.

If you discontinue an exercise because it make you sore, then there are some factors to consider.  Is your pain tolerance very low and your sensitivity an issue?  Are you performing them correctly?   Is it the proper one to perform?  Do you have a more serious condition presenting as back pain?   Comfort is vital but is only useful provided that you are making progress.

Weak and tight muscles complain and ache when activated more than usual. It’s usually these very ones that need reconditioning   It’s definitely worth your time to strengthen and stretch them. This initial discomfort can make you hesitant or reluctant but you’ll find it gets easier and becomes increasingly comfortable as you progress with patience.

Solution: Follow at your own pace

You should only try to perform the moves at YOUR own comfort level and pace.  Whether or not it takes one minute or one month to progress through a particular set of movements, you will know that it is relevant for your own recovery and necessary.

Avoid any programs that encourage you to go beyond your limits in terms of intensity and length of time You are injured, not fatigued.  In the heat of a group workout, people fight the fatigue. But if you have any soft tissue or vertebral injury, you’re only making things worse.

Stay active but at your own pace.

3) Difficulty

It helps that the moves are easy.  However, lower back pain makes everything you do feel difficult.  Proper exercises should not take more than a few movements at most.  One or two movements at best initially and more as you begin to feel better.

Try not to see it as an on-going and arduous chore to perform every day.  You are not trying to qualify for a marathon.  The goal is to properly recondition individual weaknesses to become pain free.

A good example of this would be in the case of excessive sitting.  Sitting for extended periods of time will cause your gluteal muscles to become weaker, shut down and lose their natural ability to raise you up.  Because of this, the quadriceps compensate when the glutes don’t.

This problem stresses out your knee joint and patella, giving you knee pain along with all sorts of patella tracking issues.  The quadriceps also become overused and tighter.  It affects your pelvic tilt and creates a lumbar imbalance which only hurts more.

Solution: Stick to what is simple

Simple glute and hamstring stretches can easily be learned to overcome this very common problem. The best way to begin is through simple exercises to help bring your immediate relief.  You’ll be surprised what a few 1 minute stretches and movements can do.

Your glutes and hamstrings are a necessary part of a simple rehabilitation routine.  Every health professional and literary resources will support this fact.

4) Time

When you are afflicted, your time is already consumed and in very short supply.  Exercise is not easy to squeeze in between.  It is very daunting to want to add anything to your day when all you feel is that you want to rest and do anything but that.

Think of the time that you will have to put aside as an investment in freeing up future time which can be done resting and recovering from a lack of physical activity.

A proper program should improve your body so that it is protected from pain and not worsen it.  It may require a lot of time at first but should become easy.

Solution: Use the right exercises to exercise less

You should be able to perform the right exercises LESS frequently because reconditioning is meant to make your life easier.  The right ones to treat pain naturally are needed less often as you gradually improve.  Only ‘maintenance’ type moves should be needed afterwards to keep your muscles fit and properly functioning, and with less time.

5) Boredom 

Boredom is a personal opinion. If you are dealing with back pain, your concern about whether exercise is boring or not should not be that important.

Don’t focus on whether it is boring. You should see that it is practical, meaningful and important to your recovery.  Make it a priority, then the reward will come naturally, and you will not feel bored.

In fact, you will feel relieved and have a greater sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.  As you feel better, you can participate more often in activities that you prefer, and that will satisfy.  Whether or not you may find them boring is actually up to you and may depend on your progress in the exercise program.

Solution: Learn how to integrate exercise into the boring parts of your day

Once you get in motion, you’ll discover many ways to both relieve your pain and exercise at the same time without making extra time or effort into it.

As mentioned, squat or lunge anytime you must lean over as an alternate.  Stretch while you watch TV.  Walk more instead of sitting.  Avoid the common bad habits that most of us have passed on to each other because of work or lifestyle.

 3 Tips to know before you start exercising:

When recommended as a treatment, make sure of following:

The first is that your back condition has been assessed to be muscular and NOT something more serious in nature.

The second is that you are physically ready.  Hold off if you have a muscle strain or ruptured disc.

The third is that you believe that it is the most practical option for you.  This way you can keep motivated when you have any tough challenges during your goal.