Promoting low back health through exercise

In celebration of Physical Therapy Month, Hayes Green Beach Memorial Hospital’s Rehabilitation Department will provide weekly articles throughout October. 

Approximately 80 percent of all adults will have low back pain at some point in their lives – it’s the fifth most common reason for all physician visits in the United States according to the American Chiropractic Association. Exercise is one of the best ways to prevent and manage back pain. 

Determining the best exercises to strengthen the lower back will depend on an individual’s personal preferences and tolerance for activity. 

Some key strategies for success include:

  • Start slow. Results are not always noticeable right away. It takes time for a body to change so be patient.
  • Develop a support system … exercise with a friend or family member.
  • Find activities you enjoy. Try out new things to find what you like most and to prevent boredom.

There are several benefits regular exercise can provide someone who suffers from low back pain:

  • Improving muscle and ligament strength helps support the spine, which can lead to improved function and even the ability to perform activities that may have been limited before. Improving overall strength and physical conditioning may also prevent re-injury.
  • Improving flexibility of muscles and joints can help relieve pain. 
  • Achieving a balance of increased strength and flexibility may aid in decreasing old compensatory movement patterns. This is when the body compensates for pain by moving in awkward ways. For example, when you limp to relieve pressure on a twisted ankle. These adjustments can actually cause more pain in the long run.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight reduces stress on the spine and joints. Exercise can help by increasing metabolism and encouraging healthy eating.
  • Sleeping may be improved. Exercise helps people fall asleep faster and sleep more deeply.
  • Exercising is also beneficial by acting as a mood enhancer, increasing endorphins (the body=s natural painkillers), reducing stress and increasing self-esteem.

Discuss options with a physical therapist to get started on a regular exercise program.

To learn more information about improving lower back pain and the available services at HGB Rehab and Wellness Center call 517-543-9575. It offers a wide variety of options to help you achieve fitness and wellness goals.