Back Pain Treatment: Movement Therapies

Many back pain patients find themselves getting caught up in a negative cycle that involves an alternating pattern of pain as a response to movements that hurt and activity restriction as a response to pain. Many patients, once they begin experiencing back pain, decide to stop working out or restricting their movements in order to keep whatever damage that has occurred from getting any worse. People begin first experiencing pain, and adopt a treatment of bed rest or restriction of any movements that will put further strain on their backs. While bed rest for acute back pain may indeed be an effective way to rest sore strained back muscles, long-tern bed rest may actually weaken muscles and make your back condition worse. If one to several days of bed rest fails to provide any relief, you will need to get yourself moving again. Movement therapies may be the answer to your problem.

Back Pain Treatment: Movement Therapies


If you want to re-introduce exercise into your life to resume a normal lifestyle, but are afraid of aggravating your back problem, then you may want to research and try various movement therapies. Movement therapies include a gentle exercise program of stretches and movements to gradually bring strength and flexibility to the muscles associated with the spine. these therapies range from ancient martial arts to 20th-century movement education programs. People of all ages can perform these exercises and maneuvers, and the exercises may provide you with physical and emotional benefits. Let's take a look at some of these modalities.

Yoga: Practices around the world, Yoga is part of the traditional Indian healing system called Ayurveda. Yoga is one of the oldest known systems of health. The word Yoga means "union". It is the union of physical, mental, and spiritual energies to promote physical and emotional health. The physical movements, positions, stretches, and breathing exercises will strengthen the muscles of the spine, improve the flexibility of tight muscles, and promote a feeling of peace in the body. This release of negative feelings or physical discomfort in the body can be achieved through Yoga practices such as meditation, gentle stretches (asanas) yoga exercises (e.g. Lying Spinal Twist), and breathing exercises (pranayama).

Tai Chi: Tai Chi originated from martial arts, but today is practiced mainly as a system to promote mental and physical health. These exercises, when performed together, may help to stabilize the spine, promote balance among the muscle groups, and reduce stress and anxiety. Tai Chi consists of controlled movement that flow into one long, graceful gesture. The movements have artistic names such as "Three claps of thunder" and "Parts the Wild Horse's Mane". These exercises may be difficult at first to do, but then get easier as you begin to build muscle in your upper and lower body, and as you begin to improve your balance. Because of its low impact, gentle, graceful movements, it's a good form of exercise for people with lower back pain.

Alexander Technique: The postures we assume as we walk, sit, stand, and carry objects may have evolved over the course of our lifetimes according to back habits, muscle imbalance, the setup of our workstation, and the type of jobs we have to perform. Often, over time, we adopt certain postural habits and types of movements that cause us to lean one way or to favor certain muscle groups, often to the detriment of our posture. Over time, we may begin to feel symptoms of back pain as a result of bad postural habits. The Alexander Technique is a system of techniques designed to re-establish muscle balance on both sides of our body, and to regain a healthy posture.