So many people are worried and are actively avoiding exercise because they believe that it may make their pain worse. Back pain particularly is an interesting topic, with it affecting 7 out of 10 people at some time in their lives. Back pain is the second most common cause of long-term sickness in the UK after stress, and as a physiotherapist I am here to break the misconception that back pain = stay at home and rest.
Evidence shows that the best treatment is to stay active. The longer you’re immobile, the weaker your back muscles will become, and the more they will hurt in the long term.
If you suffer from back pain, it is preferable that you do low impact exercises. Running, and doing contact sports are not advisable, but rather swimming, walking, cycling, and doing Pilates. Evidence shows that Pilates particularly helps strengthen muscles, works on core stability, improves posture and helps relieve stress by focusing on breathing techniques.
The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy share their top tips for back pain:
- Keep exercising
- Keep moving
- Take Paracetamol or similar painkillers advised by your GP or physio
- Avoid sitting for too long
- Do gentle stretches to prevent stiffness
- Bend your hips and knees when lifting
- Check your posture when using the computer or watching TV
- Don’t smoke – it is bad for your circulation and recovery
- Strengthen your core muscles to protect your spine
- Make sure your car seat, office chair and bed mattress support your back properly
- Avoid being overweight, which can be a cause of back pain
Is your back pain putting you down? Are you on sick leave from work? Have you stopped exercising and become inactive?