More than 80 percent of adults suffer from periodic low back pain. Back pain can make every movement agony. Because our back muscles are involved in so many common daily movements like sitting, standing, twisting, bending, and stretching, the smallest movement can send back pain soaring.
Exercise Helps Protect Your Back
Most back pain is caused by muscle strain or injury. Often people who have had a bout of back pain will avoid exercise and activity for fear of reinjuring their back. Doctors say that's faulty thinking. Inactivity actually puts you at greater risk of back pain than exercise. Rather than being part of the problem, exercise can help prevent back pain, particularly exercises that strengthen your body's core. Core muscles are those that encircle your torso from shoulders to groin. Strengthening your core builds up the muscles that support and protect your spine, making your back muscles less prone to damage.
If you are experiencing unusual back pain, you may wish to consult your physician who can recommend appropriate treatment, including exercise, or refer you to a therapist.
Any exercise program to strengthen back muscles should begin with stretching, so make stretching part of your daily routine. Beginning your day with a series of stretching exercises wakes up your muscles and improves flexibility, which can help prevent muscle injury. Doing a little stretching periodically throughout the day not only keeps muscles limber, it relieves muscle tension, increases blood circulation, and improves posture (poor posture can contribute to back pain). Ending your day with another set of gentle stretching exercises relieves stress, reduces tension, and helps your body prepare for sleep.
Recommended stretching exercises include: bent leg sit-ups, stomach curls, leg lifts, and toe touches. Residents of Kendal at Oberlin and members of Kendal at Home can take advantage of fitness classes offered in Oberlin to build back strength. Contact us for more information.