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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Core Exercises to Relieve/Prevent Back Pain by Dr. David Kulla

Back pain is a problem for many people, and whether it is a chronic condition or an intense flare-up of an occasional problem, finding a remedy that relieves it and prevents it can sometimes be a challenge. Instead of treating yourself with pain medications that will only wear off, requiring you to medicate again, take advantage of some exercises that might help you with your back pain. In addition to making you feel better, physical activity and basic exercises can even prevent pain from returning. If the pain is intense or does not go away, make sure you consult your doctor or a chiropractor.

While the common suggestion is often to “rest” when you are experiencing back pain, a little activity might actually do more for your back than bed rest. If you find a comfortable position while resting, go ahead and stay there for a while. However, get yourself up and moving as soon as possible. You want to train your back to function properly again, and the best way to do that is to move. Do something simple, like walking. You want to avoid any strenuous activities or exercises that might have triggered the pain in the first place.

Think about your posture too. Walk with your back straight, your shoulders back and your head up. This will keep your back aligned and not hunched. The nerves around your spinal column can easily get pinched or compressed if you do not have good posture, creating additional pain on top of what you are already experiencing.

Do strengthening exercises that will build muscles in your back, hips, stomach and shoulders. Stretching out these muscle groups may relieve your back pain. As you continue to exercise these areas and workout any strains or areas of tension, you will be less likely to feel pain in those areas in the future. When they are more flexible and stronger, you’ll feel better. Regular exercise in these areas will also help muscles to repair themselves more quickly. If you do injure yourself, your body will be able to recover faster and more thoroughly if you are doing regular exercises to prevent and treat back pain.

Cardiovascular exercise is also helpful in preventing back pain. Working out your heart muscle will keep you more energetic, providing endurance and promoting a strong, healthy body. Again, you’ll be able to speed up your recovery time if you are doing some sort of aerobic or cardiovascular activity on a regular basis.

As you exercise to treat and reduce back pain, focus on your legs, back, shoulders and stomach. Building a strong core will protect your back against injuries and help it to recover faster. As long as you are not doing anything too strenuous, getting regular physical activity will help your back pain a lot more than lying in bed and popping pain pills. You might also have problems with your alignment, so seek treatment from a chiropractor if you are not able to get rid of your back pain in a reasonable amount of time.

This post was written for Pilates for the People by Dr. David Kulla. Dr. Kulla is a licensed NYC Chiropractor and a nutritionist as well as owner of Synergy Wellness in Manhattan.

24 comments:

  1. This is a great article Dr. David! I have this back pain for years and I just didn't mind it until it becomes painful each day especially when I do workouts. Are there any sets of exercises you could suggest so that it can lessen the pain?

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  2. Very useful advice here. I suffered 5 prolapsed discs about a year ago so I can relate to this. Hot showers can also work very well.

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  3. Focusing on my posture has definitely helped to lower my back pain on average.

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  4. What a great Exercise Blog for those who are experiencing back pain. I also experienced having a back pain and this blog helps me to consider this kind of method to alleviate pain.

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  5. Great article... I have found that unless I am in an acute state of lower back pain or I'm having muscle spasms, walking and light exercise is more effective at relieving the pain than rest alone. As far as exercise goes, I swear by "bird dogs" or some variation of the movement for stretching and strengthening the lower back.

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  6. My osteopath showed me an exercise that got rid of my back pain.

    You need a very strong chair - with a steel frame!

    Suppose you start with the chair back on your right. Grip the sides of the back however comes naturally and pull with your left hand while pushing with your right hand.

    Keep your right eye closed and increase your efforts SLOWLY to avoid putting your back out, and note how far round the room you can see with your left eye.

    Now do a mirror image of the exercise sitting with the back of the chair on your left side.

    There is a yoga exercise that twists your spine in the same way, but you need to contort your body before you can use your heel as the end stop.

    If you're like me, you'll hear your spine pop several times as you force your shoulders round on the chair.

    I usually take about half a minute to a minute for each direction (remember fast is bad) and repeat two or three times if back pain is really bothering me.

    Another trick is to use the floor to massage my back.

    I lie on my back on the floor (it hurts my spine to lower my head to the ground) and wait till my spine accepts the position.

    Then I push with my feet so that I slide in my skin towards my head, and back. I keep massaging my spine this way while rotating my knees gradually till they touch the ground, with my shoulders still flat on the ground - so my spine get's massaged from many angles.

    It's so simple but I'm no longer troubled by back pain.

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  7. This is awesome! I have been looking to sign up for some pilates classes in Naples FL and this is even more of a answer that I want to! I love it! Can you tell me where to find more options? Thanks!

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  8. A friend of mine had a prolapse a number of years ago,and she always has to be active otherwise her back seizes up.I'm sure she has been advised of pilates, but I will show her this blog as it might open her to new ideas.

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  9. I just tried the steel chair trick... my back is a little sore but the better off for it, I think :)

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  10. I've been experiencing back pains especially when I perform heavy exercises!! Good thing, I was able to read your post, this is indeed very helpful to me!!! Thank you so much for the tips!

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  11. Thank you for this article. Actually I am having back pain because I do not walk in a straight body (Imagine Hunchback of Notre Dame) I walk like that and whenever I try straightening my posture I experience back pain like I am too tired having the correct posture. I do hope this exercise will relieve the pain. Thanks.

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  12. I have scoliosis and tips mentioned here do work. A really good way to reduce your back pain is to stretch and strengthen it. Most people will run into lower back pain mostly because of the amount of sitting time. Stretch and strengthen your hamstring and you can tell the difference within a week. I always read this online but never applied it because it seemed too simple for something so big but it works. Give it a shot.

    If you can, limit your running to just walks. Use a manual treadmill at home every morning to strengthen your hamstrings and you'll be fine. The impact of running is pretty harsh so if you're not running properly, it can actually make things worse.

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  13. I'm another one to suffer prolapsed discs, like a few of the other commenters. I have to do a series of back stretching exercises every day which only take about 10 minutes. They've worked extremely well, so if you too are suffering then you might want to try that.

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  14. Fantastic article, and a good reminder why cardiovascular exercise is very important.

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  15. As others have said, stretching exercises really work well for back pain and prolapsed discs. Always check first with a physiotherapist though, get them to give you a personalized routine. Good article.

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  16. I hear that massage chairs do great with back pain problem. Is that true ? Or should I check by using a vending massage chair.

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  17. Great article! Pilates can be a fantastic way to prevent back injury and build your back muscles to help work through any nagging back issues you might already have.

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  18. Great advice Dr. David! I had a shoulder pain for years, and it was all because of bad posture, I started stretching more and took some Pilates classes and it helped the pain straight away!
    On my blog casually-active.blogspot.com, I also recommend running and walking to just get started again.

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  19. Hi,

    I really enjoyed reading through your blog posts on Pilatesforthepeople.blogspot.com. I got a real sense of your enthusiasm and passion in each post.I write Herfitnessjournal.com - a blog about diet, medicine, a dash of science, and my personal exercise habits. If you’re interested I would love to have you on as a guest blogger. Just shoot me quick a e-mail and we chat about it. Looking forward to hearing from you.

    Thanks,
    Sonya Anderson

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  20. Great post I must say...
    From that sentence I am sure we can guess how Core Exercises relieve/Prevent back pain many of us worry about regularly and especially in stressful situations.

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  21. I've been trying to find a way to get my pilates certification to I can teach classes. Does anyone have any information on that?

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  22. En SimplyBePilates nuestros instructores han sido entrenados en la escuela de pilates STOTT. Para más información acerca de pilates en Barcelona , pre-natal y post parto – visita nuestra página web http://simplybepilates.com/pre-post-natal o llamame directamente al 644316850

    At SimplyBePilates our instructors are STOTT pilates trained. For more information regarding Pilates in Barcelona, pre-natal and post parto - go to our web site http://simplybepilates.com/pre-post-natal/ or call me directly on 644316850

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  23. Great info. Lucky me that I discovered your blog by chance. I have saved as a favorite for later! Keep sharing 

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  24. I must say that the tips and guidance you provided to prevent and get rid of back pain are really worthy and enticing. This stuff can be beneficial for anyone.

    ReplyDelete

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