Exercise is an important part of our lives. Finding the right type of exercise for you, one that both feels good and you enjoy doing, can be really empowering. And obviously, make you want to exercise more and not scrimp on doing it daily.
A guest post sharing a reader’s experiences with lower back pain and exercise, her own blog can be found at the end of this article if you wish to read more from her.
Will exercise help lower back pain?
However, we all have our niggles, aches and pains. Some are short-lived – perhaps caused by a pulled muscle or a fall. Some are more chronic. So each individual will need to find a way to manage and navigate exercise whilst also trying to ensure they’re safe and not making any conditions worse.
For the most part, exercise will make you feel better. It will give you more energy, lower your blood pressure and perhaps even help you shed a bit of weight to make you feel healthier in the long run. But when you have any pain in your body, you have to be extremely careful.
I’ve suffered from chronic lower back pain for a number of years, caused by bad posture and years working from my bed.
I know now what exercise usually aggravates it even more and what helps to relieve it. I’ve also established some tools to implement in between exercises, so I know I’m not making it any worse.
Lower back pain is an extremely common problem in today’s world; from bad posture (like me), to spending too long sitting down or even from the wear and tear of everyday life, especially if you’re a Mum, lower back pain has become an everyday occurrence for a lot of people.
But you can’t let lower back pain stop you from exercising – especially when there may be an exercise which improves, relieves and strengthens your lower back to help you in the long run.
A little PSA before we continue, I’m obviously not a healthcare professional, an osteopath or anyone that has professional knowledge of lower back pain. I have my own experience of what works for me, which is what I’m going to share today.
Of course, lower back pain can be caused by many, many, many different things. So it’s important to know your own condition before you try any new exercise. What I wanted to share today were some basic tips for anyone who suffers from lower back pain and wants to start getting into exercise.
Tips for exercise with lower back pain
So let’s look at these 8 exercise tips for those with lower back pain:
Speak to your GP when trying a new exercise
First things first and this should be an obvious point but I wanted to mention it anyway and that’s your GP (or another medical professional you might see due to your lower back pain) should be your first point of contact if there’s an activity or exercise you want to start but aren’t sure is safe.
Know your limits
If like me, you manage your lower back pain by yourself, it’s super important to be intuitive of your own body. Learn to listen to your body and understand what it’s telling you. It will be speaking to you when you hit your limits – or are close to hitting your limits. Don’t ignore it.
Modify, modify, modify
Modifications of exercises are a godsend. Sometimes we don’t want to modify because psychologically we might feel like we’re “going backwards”. This is where you need to check your thoughts and understand that modifications are the ultimate form of self-love and care for your body.
Stretch it out
Stretching can be amazing for lower back pain and it’s one thing I ensure that I do every single day. Try and start your day with some gentle stretches, to help loosen up the muscles and get the blood flowing.
Find Yoga poses for lower back pain
And if you want to take the stretches one step further, then Yoga can be a real help with lower back pain. I love doing Yoga when my back is hurting. It feels like a huge release – even in some of the most simple poses.
Engage your core
Your core is a seriously important part of your body and can help stabilize and strengthen as well as aid your balance. Working on engaging your core when you exercise – whatever exercise – will really benefit your lower back in the long run.
Avoid high impact
High-impact exercises like running or HIIT workouts that involve a lot of jumping might not be the best thing to do for your lower back pain. There are plenty of lower-impact exercises that you can do, such as walking, swimming, Yoga or even modifying (there’s that word again) your HIIT workouts so they don’t contain jumping.
Don’t skimp on self-care
And finally, not really an exercise-based pointer but one that I think is too important to miss out on. All of the above points can be considered as self-care but when your exercise has finished for the day, don’t stop leaning in and focusing on your self-care.
Recruit those extra tools to ensure you’re paying attention to what your body is saying. You might find you need a warm bath to relax your muscles after a long walk or a hot water bottle on the lower back after a workout.
Until you suffer from lower back pain, you won’t know how irritating and all-consuming it can be. You can feel it all the time and any niggle or twinge can leave you wondering how bad it’s going to get.
So if you do suffer from lower back pain, I hope these tips help you in your own exercise journey so you can incorporate feel-good exercise into your daily routine!
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