Let's talk about exercise and back pain…
Last week I had a question asked by one of our patients, Mary, 58, from Lakeway… And it’s one that we get asked often at Body Balance Physical Therapy!!
“Is it ok to exercise when my back is hurting? I’ve just got into a good routine sticking to the gym and working out three times a week, and I really don’t want to stop…”
I get the frustration, and I also know that the thought of doing any movement at all when you’re going through some kind of pain might feel a little scary… You don’t want to run the risk of aggravating it any more in case it turns into something more serious.
You don’t want to go ‘too hard’ in the gym for fear you pull another muscle.
And you don’t want to wake up one day to find that you can no longer roll out of bed easily, walk down the road, or even drive because what you did, made it worse.
But don’t let that worry you too much – that’s rarely ever the case! An aching lower back doesn’t mean you’ve got to be housebound, with heat and ice packs until it magically disappears. You CAN keep moving! In fact, not moving at all can make your back pain worse! Here’s why…
If you suffer from lower back pain that comes and goes, gentle walking with exercises designed to improve lower back strength and movement added in, will make a big difference. Walking is a completely natural movement that keeps your joints mobile and muscles working – even those in your feet, lets, hips and torso – which play an important role in keeping the muscles in your back that hold you up right, strong.
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Stretching combined with walking will improve your backs strength, flexibility and posture, which in turn, can help stop back pain from creeping up on you when you least expect it. What’s more, it can also reduce how painful it feels and how much it gets in the way of day to day life.
So here’s the important question to answer now that you know it 100% is ok to exercise even if you’ve got a bad back…
What exercise can you actually be doing? Because of course, too much exercise, or exercise that’s strenuous could make it worse or keep it hanging around longer.
Introducing Yoga. Even though there’s false beliefs around Yoga, like ‘you’ve got to be flexible’ etc., etc., etc… you can ditch those false beliefs behind because it’s for anyone! Let me tell you why – Yoga helps build strength.
Yoga requires you to concentrate on specific muscles in the body when holding poses – many of which improve back strength. When these muscles are stronger your back pain can be greatly reduced and is less likely to affect you as bad as it once did.
As well as strengthening, Yoga relaxes the body and reduces any tension in stress-carrying muscles (a.k.a your back!)
For people with lower back pain, stretching is important. Stretching the muscles in your legs actually help to increase range of movement in your hips, taking the stress off your lower back – which in addition increases blood flow, allowing nutrients to flow in, taking care of the muscles in your back.
It’s also one of the best forms of exercise to maintain and improve a healthy posture. Great for your back, stopping back pain in its tracks, and add to that it feels great when you can walk around confident and tall.
So there you have it, gentle walks and yoga. Both of these will help you gain back your strength in your back, so you can return to doing the exercise you love the most.
To help manage your pain Dr.Nathan Everett DPT has created this quick video to give you some inside tips! YOU DO NOT HAVE TO LIVE WITH THIS PAIN ANYMORE! Come in today and see us!
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OK, I HAD to share this with you…
I received the most incredible email and photos this week from a patient of ours who only a year ago had been told her retirement plans, after working so hard for them, may in fact never become a reality.
How to Avoid the Trap of Back Pain Compromising Your Retirement Plans and Dreams… Retirement for many patients we see here at Body Balance means freedom to do what you want, when you want! You’ve worked so hard for it all your life and you’ve earned it!
Here’s just a few of the common retirement goals that our patients have shared with us: “When I retire I’m going to be more active, walk more, travel, spend more quality time with the family and my grandkids.”
I’m sure you’ve heard similar, and maybe you’re even planning the same for your retirement too? If so… keep reading!
There’s a common factor that we don’t take into consideration when planning our dreams than can often creep up on us – particularly in our 50s and 60’s…. And that’s the curse of back pain. So many of us have a lifestyle and jobs that involve a lot of sitting.
Whether this is on a computer, in an office or driving to and from work, its unavoidable! And our backs simply aren’t designed to take the pressure of sitting for so much of our lives. The thing is, when you’re younger you can “get away with it”. But here’s the thing, when we get older – it becomes hard to get away with this! Think of your body like a car – after so many years and miles of working hard, cars need a tuning up again to run smoothly. Well our bodies are exactly the same. So when was the last time you gave you’re body a complete check-up and tune-up? …
Ok, so back to Bridget (who has sent me her incredible photos) Bridget had a great career as a teacher – and a damn good one too, and had planned walking holidays far and wide with her husband for when they both retired.
Not long after she retired was when the most dreaded thing happened. ***BANG***. Back pain literally stopped her in her tracks.
Yes, Bridget had suffered with the odd aches and pains in her back over the years when she sat too long, but that’s quite normal right?
Those aches and pains are your bodies’ way of letting you know something’s not right and you need a "Tune-up".
After repeatedly being told by her physician “it's just ‘wear and tear’, keep taking pain killers” … Bridget came to us desperate to keep her dream of enjoying all of the walking holidays that she’s worked all her life for, alive.
Luckily Bridget (like many others suffering unnecessarily with aches and pains), just needed a few tight muscles relaxing and weak muscles strengthened. Simple!
Thank goodness Bridget didn’t listen and just "rest it", or she’d still be suffering now. Sounds scary right?
But instead she has just returned from an incredible two-week walking holiday in the Swiss Alps.
Now keeping herself strong with Pilates and her monthly “check-up” in the clinic, Bridget already has many more holidays planned for the future with her husband and family.
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If you want to know more about how to make sure your future isn’t compromised by ill health just get in touch and go to www.BodyBalanceLakeway.com and claim your FREE discovery call today!