Get Back to Fitness
Over the years we have worked with many bad back sufferers and in virtually all cases an increase in activity, whilst carefully monitored, proved to be the solution they were looking for.
If your back hurts, keeping active and taking some exercise shouldn’t make the problem worse. In fact the less exercise you do, the weaker the muscles in your back become, causing the pain to get worse. I always liken the core muscles, which includes the lower back, to a belt or a corset. When the belt is tight it is doing its job properly, holding everything in firmly and straight. If however the muscles are untrained or the belt is slack then there is less support and as a result the spine is not protected effectively and excessive joint movement may occur. Keeping mobile and strengthening the lower back may help to prevent an attack of back pain becoming chronic (long-term). Chronic back pain can cause you to lose confidence, cut down on your usual activities, and become depressed and anxious. If you’re depressed, you may be less able to deal with pain, and need more support.
Becoming active and specifically targeting the back muscles as well as the whole body will improve posture, postural strength and endurance and promote confidence whilst suffering less pain and therefore having the ability to exercise more often. People with back pain should resist the temptation to rest and take it easy, and instead exercise their way back to fitness. Although a bad back is painful, it usually doesn’t mean that it’s anything serious, there is often a mismatch between how painful it is and how serious the condition is in most cases.
There are some conditions that severely affect the back, if you have one of these conditions or you are not sure whether you may be able to exercise – see your GP or a good physiotherapist for advice before trying anything new. If you have suffered with a persistently bad back for some time, read my suggestions which may help to give you a pain free, more confident and mobile life.
· Consult your doctor or physiotherapist; many back conditions are not as bad as they feel. You and I are NOT experts and shouldn’t diagnose your problem. If your GP or physiotherapist clears you for exercise then you should move on to the next point, otherwise follow their advice as to your best course of action.
· Start walking gently for short periods of time at first. Walk on flat terrain such as canal towpaths, river banks or a treadmill as this places much less impact on the lower back.
· Start moving and strengthening the area using some form of gentle yoga or Pilates type sessions. You should attend guided classes or work with a qualified personal trainer to ensure your technique is good and you are working the correct muscles properly.
· Many problems are aggravated by the days pressure on the spine so stretching that area at night and mobilizing in the morning may help to loosen and warm things up a little.
· Don’t join a gym and expect to get expert advice for any back problems you have. The staff there generally don’t have the time or experience to prescribe, teach and then train you for the specific needs you have.
So from now on don’t simply use a bad back as an excuse for not being active as it is exactly that same reason why you should be active. If you don’t use your muscles they simply shrink and provide very little support for you at all. Get your back checked out and if possible start exercising and you too will begin reaping the benefits of an active lifestyle.
To Your Health and fitness - Jago
Authors Name: Jago Holmes, New Image Fitness Limited
Telephone: 01422 836157
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