Sometimes, it’s just a simple thing…until it isn’t.
You’ve been told exercise is good to prevent/treat back pain, but did you know that some exercises are not recommended if you have a history of back pain? This is because some exercises put too much demand on your back.
Here are some examples of what exercises you could avoid, and some recommended alternatives:
1) AVOID: Superman back extensions
In this exercise, you begin by lying face down, simultaneously lift your arms and legs off the ground and hold that position. Most people experience quite a bit of discomfort with this exercise, and research has shown that it creates the highest amount of stress to the joints of the low back.1
2) AVOID: Sit-ups
Although sit-ups may strengthen the abdominal muscles, it may also put a lot of pressure on your spine.
3) AVOID: Double leg raises
Having a strong core is a key component of managing back pain. Double leg raises (lifting both legs together while lying on your back) puts a lot of demand on your low back.
4) AVOID: Standing toe touches
Stretching is important to prevent injury and reduce muscle soreness after working out. It is quite common to have tight hamstrings (the muscles at the back of your thigh) and that may contribute to back pain. However, standing toe touches may stretch the back more than the hamstrings, and may aggravate an existing back injury.
Don’t let pain stop you from moving! See your chiropractor if you have any questions or concerns.
Pain changes everything. Chiropractic care changes pain.
Reference 1. Callaghan JP, Gunning JL, McGill SM. The relationship between lumbar spine load and muscle activity during extensor exercises. Physical Therapy. 1998;78(1):8-18.