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Prevent Back Pain with Exercise

Back Pain: There may be an easy remedy!

 Back pain can be caused by many different factors resulting in different treatment paths.  Some causes may require surgery while others may simply require specialized exercises and medication.  Often, if you are diagnosed with a chronic degenerative condition, such as spinal stenosis or degenerative disc disease, it is best to follow the treatment path you set forth with your doctor at Nebraska Spine Hospital.  However, recent research shows that self-guided exercise is a better option for managing chronic back pain that thought in the past.

What are the two types of back pain?

Back pain is often classified as acute or chronic.  We will detail below the differences.

Acute back pain starts quickly and lasts less than 6 weeks.  This type of pain is often the result of improperly lifting heavy objects, falling or a sports injury. Tightened hamstrings may also contribute to low back pain (often resulting from being seated for long periods) making the spine do more work.  This type of back pain often goes away on its own and is easily treated with pain medication or cold/hot packs.  You can also learn to lift or pull with less stress on your back to prevent future injury.  It is best to limit your activity if you have an acute back strain to help the muscles heal.  However, to help prevent an injury in the future,  changing your sleeping position and how you exercise can be helpful.

If your pain has lasted more than three months, this is likely chronic back pain.  This can be the result of many causes such as lifestyle, genetics, scoliosis, spinal stenosis, or arthritis.  Interestingly, research has recently found that self-guided exercises are more effective in treating and preventing back pain compared to other accessories such as shoe orthotics or belts.  In the past, these items were often recommended to help with chronic back pain; however, it has been found that exercise is your best option.  Rather than spending money or pricey shoe orthotics, you can exercise for free and get a better result!  The research showed that people suffering from back pain found little to no success in using orthotics, but exercise programs proved to be successful preventatives.  What is even more encouraging is that the type of exercise didn’t necessarily matter.  Whether it was strengthening back muscles or aerobic, strength and balance conditioning, people saw results.  Specifically, “The end result was that if someone with a history of back pain exercised in a regular way, he or she was considerably less likely to be felled by more back pain within a year” (Reynolds, 2016).  By exercising, you are doing two things: keeping your back muscles strong to help prevent strain and maintaining a healthy weight to keep stress off of your joints and back.

We might sound like a broken record by now, but we can’t say it enough: exercise is good for you!  Not only does it keep your heart healthy, your mind healthy, but we find that it is also best to help prevent recurrence of chronic back pain!  Please consult with your NSH physician with any questions about your treatment path and progress.  We’re here to help!

Resource:

Reynolds, Gretchen (2016) http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/01/27/to-prevent-back-pain-orthotics-are-out-exercise-is-in/?_r=0

NIH (2014) http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Back_Pain/back_pain_ff.asp

 

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