Back Pain – Rest or Exercise?

Back pain

Back Pain – Rest or Exercise?

If you are one of the estimated 80% of the population who gets Low Back Pain at some time, what should you do?

Is it better to stay in bed for a day, a week or a month, or should you be exercising? Is a marathon too much and a walk around the block not enough.

A typical response to experiencing back pain is to take it easy – either staying in bed or at least stopping any activity that is at all strenuous.

While this approach is understandable, when done for more than a day or two it can actually undermine healing.

Instead, modified exercise is the best approach!

Active forms of back exercises are almost always necessary to rehabilitate the spine and help alleviate back pain.

As with any musculoskeletal condition, early treatment is the key to a speedy recovery for anyone suffering low back pain.

Noosa Sports & Spinal Physios have advanced hands-on skills that can help relieve your pain and get your injured muscles, tissues and spinal structures moving again.

Exercise – the Recipe for Back Pain!

Nearly everyone will experience some degree of low back pain sometime in their life. It can affect our everyday routines, our work and our social life.

Without appropriate treatment low back pain has been found to reoccur in approximately 90% of sufferers and at its most extreme, low back pain can become disabling.

Whilst most occurrences of low back pain are not debilitating, even minor low back pain can cause us to restrict many of our everyday activities, such as carrying groceries, playing sport and reaching for items overhead.

For most back conditions, active back exercises and stretching – not rest – are typically necessary to help reduce pain and encourage healing.

So why is exercise better than rest?

When done in a controlled, gradual and progressive manner, active back exercises distribute nutrients into the disc space and soft tissues in the back to keep the discs, muscles, ligaments and joints healthy.

If pain is one of your body’s ways of protecting itself, surely lying still in bed without provoking anything has to be good for you – not true!

Bed rest beyond 48hrs has been shown to be worse for Low Back Pain sufferers than being active sooner. Research has found that patients who had bed rest for a week had less flexibility and more sick days than those who continued their activities.

The joints in the spine and our discs are designed for movement – Movement is critical for keeping a disc healthy. If you avoid activity for long periods of time you start to lose muscle tone. The framework that provides strength to your back becomes weaker and you become even more prone to Low Back Pain.

Consequently, a regular routine of lower back exercises helps avoid stiffness and weakness, minimise recurrences of lower back pain and reduce the severity and duration of possible future episodes of low back pain.

Depending upon your diagnosis and level of pain, the back pain exercises and rehabilitation programmes will be very different, so it is important to see a physio, as we have the specialised training to diagnose your problem and to develop an individualised programme of back exercises and to provide instruction on using the correct form and technique.

To be effective, a programme of back exercises should be comprehensive, working the whole body as well as targeting the back.

A balanced workout of back exercises should include a combination of stretching, strengthening and low impact aerobic conditioning.

Some Tips for Preventing Low Back Pain:

For the overwhelming majority of people, low back pain will be caused by muscle weakness in the back, abdomen or both. Here are some of the top tips for taking care of your back and
preventing low back pain:

  • stay active – maintain fitness & flexibility
  • maintain good health & healthy weight
  • keep your core strong
  • good posture
  • avoid sitting for extended periods
  • lift correctly
  • remember to relax – decrease stress

At Noosa Sports & Spinal Physio — It’s All About You!

When low back pain strikes, early intervention from a qualified health practitioner is essential to achieving fast results and a full recovery.

As a specialised musculoskeletal physiotherapy practice, Noosa Sports & Spinal Physios are experts in preventing, treating and rehabilitating low back pain.

If you have an enquiry, or would like to make an appointment, call us on 5449 0024.

Peter Hogg
noosa_pa@hna.com.au


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