Exercise and stretching prevent recurrence of low back pain
BY DR. KOMOROFF Universal Uclick
Monday, February 25, 2013
2/25/13 at 4:34 AM
Dear Doctor K: Every few months I throw out my back. Are there any exercises I can do to strengthen my back and prevent this from happening?
Dear Reader: Exercise is a great way to prevent repeat episodes of low back pain. The right exercise program will help you build strong, flexible muscles that will be less prone to injury.
Our muscles were built to support a life of frequent physical activity - particularly a lot of walking and lifting. But that's a life few of us have today, so our muscles tend to get weak and stiff.
Weak muscles - particularly weak back and abdominal muscles - cause or worsen many cases of low back pain. Stretching and strengthening both your back and abdominal muscles can help prevent a recurrence of the problem.
You'll want to focus on exercises that strengthen and stretch the muscles that support your spine. I've put illustrations and descriptions of four back-strengthening exercises on my website, tulsaworld.com/DrK
Stretching is equally important for a person plagued by back problems. Supple, well-stretched muscles are less prone to injury. Indeed, shorter, less-flexible muscle and connective tissues restrict joint mobility and increase the likelihood of sprains and strains.
Stretch regularly but gently. Don't bounce, as that can cause injury. Beginners should start by holding the stretch for a short time and gradually build up to roughly 30-second stretches over time.
In addition, you should engage in regular aerobic exercise. It has many benefits for general health and also helps prevent back pain. Choose activities that are low in risk and high in benefit for your back. Swimming, walking and bicycling lead the list.
Talk to your doctor about working with a physical therapist. He or she can help design a safe exercise program for you. And remember: Stop if it becomes painful. Exercise is meant to help, not hurt.
Write Dr. K at www.AskDoctorK.com or c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut, Kansas City, MO 64106