Back Exercises for Back Pain

Approximately 4 in 5 of you have experienced back pain at least once in their life. For sure all of you have experienced some type of injury related to your joints or muscles. In some cases, your injuries may have been serious enough to require a cast, physical therapy, or even surgery. In other cases, the injuries were not minor enough to heal on their own. From your own experience, you may have learned that the best way to heal an injured part of the body is simply to not use it, or to limit motion there. An ankle injury might take much longer to heal is you try to play or run through the pain. Injuries involving breaks might never heal properly if you re-injure yourself rather than shut yourself down from the action.

Resting back injuries: If you are in the middle of suffering from an outbreak of acute back pain, you may have used this same type of logic to determine that the best course of action will be to rest your back until it finally begins to feel better. You might curtail your weekend warrior type activities, outside yard work, and even begin taking days off of work. You may decide to remain in bed until the worse of the back discomfort and immobility subsides.

What we have learned from research and patient experiences is that while a few days of bed rest and inactivity may be appropriate, you should not remain out of action for a long enough periods of time that your body becomes weak. Once your back muscles and abdominal muscles begin to atrophy, your already weakened spine may become even more de-stabilized. For this reason, doctors recommend that when suffering from back pain you try to maintain a life that is as normal and fear-free as possible. The fear that comes along with back pain may keep you from exercising. This avoidance of exercising may be the actual thing that keeps you from ultimately getting better.

For this reason, doctors recommend that you begin exercising as soon as possible if you are suffering from back pain.

Exercising does many things that work to heal the body and the soft tissues of the spine that have become injured. Exercising improves circulation to the injured tissues. Exercising results in the release of endorphins into the bloodstream, which may block pain signals in much the same manner that narcotic medications do. Only this "runners high" is completely free and non-habit forming. Exercising increases circulation, which promotes more oxygen going to healing tissues and more nutrients entering the disc and joint spaces.

Lower back exercises strengthen the muscles that connect directly to the spine. This increase in muscle strength may help to hold the spine in place and prevent back conditions such as spondylosis, lordosis, and kyphosis. Exercising and strengthening may increase the flexibility of the muscles associated with the lower back.

Dynamic lumbar stabilization exercises are back exercises for back pain that serve the purpose in increasing stability throughout the spine. Usually, a patient will learn these exercises under the direction of physical therapist in a rehabilitation program. A physical therapist will come up with a treatment program that helps to increase the overall strength of the core muscles and back. A physical therapist may also add in exercises that address a person's specific injury and back pain diagnosis.

Lumbar spine stabilization exercises will evolve over time as the patient gets stronger and more confident. The range of exercises will progress from beginning to more advanced.
  • Static to Dynamic: Static exercises are done while patients are lying down on the floor. Standing or jumping exercises will be added as the patient advances in the program.
As the program progresses, the movements will go from predictable to more unpredictable to activate more muscle groups. A exercise routing may advance from resisting gravity to other weights and outside forces being added. In the advanced stages of the program, a person will go from single isolated movements to full body activities that require a more complete range of movement.