Manage back pain while you are experiencing it! What an idea! Researchers have been studying the efficacy of doing stretching and light exercise during back pain as an effective way to manage it. The theory is that when a back pain sufferer extends and stretches the muscles and limbs, it takes pressure off areas of compression and may lead to a high degree of relief.
For acute pain, the kind of pain which happens due to an event or incident and which can reasonably be expected to last for six weeks or less, the exercise should be done one to four times spaced throughout the day. Probably the most important time for stretching is in the morning upon arising. Stretching first thing in the morning warms up the muscles and increases flexibility. You may use some gentle bending exercise, chair exercise with lifting of arms and legs, and if possible leaning on a chair, a wall or lying on the floor to stretch. If, however, you experience an uncomfortable amount of pain, the stretching should be discontinued. In addition, a tall glass of water to start the day will help hydrate the body and add to a feeling of well being.
Researchers say that as your back pain begins to get better and you increase your strength and flexibility, you may want to add some low impact aerobics for an added benefit. Don’t overlook the benefits of walking–not only is it low impact but you get the added benefit of exercising your heart, clearing your mind and often being able to enjoy the outdoors. Walking for at least 30 minutes for five days per week is recommended. Also consider the use of a stationary bicycle or bands like those used in yoga.
If you have a jetted bathtub or a deep bathtub at home, you might want to try filling it with hot water and while you are soaking, lift legs and flex feet, lift arms and rotate or whatever you find works best for you. You can tighten muscles and then relax them, noticing the difference in tension while doing so. The water will add buoyancy and help take pressure off the sore areas.
It seems to be especially useful to stretch the hamstring muscles which often tighten up with back pain and interfere with full motion. Stretching will help lengthen hamstrings. An easy exercise to do is to bend over and reach for the floor with the goal of touching your toes. Don’t worry if you can’t reach your toes at first, keep working closer to that goal. Another good exercise to stretch the lower back is to lie on the floor on your back, pull your legs up to your chest with your arms, and hold or rock gently back and forth from side to side.
If you are seeing a health care professional for back pain, consult with them about the best low impact exercises you can do while experiencing the pain. Give it a try as you explore all options for managing back pain.