Americans are suffering from lower back pain in record numbers. Many people with low back pain mistakenly think that they need to rest to heal the back pain but actually, most low back pain will get better if you stay active. Exercise has been shown to help decrease lower back pain as well as help you recover faster from the injury. In addition, exercise can help prevent the back from being reinjured and reduces the risk of disability due to back pain. It is important to stay active right after the pain starts so you don’t lose any strength or flexibility. The loss of strength or flexibility could lead to further, more debilitating pain.
Exercises for back pain:
People who have back pain can do several activities that will strengthen the back including walking, swimming and walking in waist deep water.
It is also important to stretch and do strengthening exercises such as:
- Back extensions – while lying on your stomach on the floor, press your elbows onto the ground and push up. Hold this pose for 30 seconds and allow your body to relax and then repeat 4 – 6 times.
- Knee to chest stretch – lie on your back on the floor and bend your knees, keeping your heels on the floor. Place hands behind each respective knee and bring your knees to your chest.
- Hip stretch – stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Take a step back with one foot and bend the opposite knee while shifting the weight to the opposing hip.
- Neck stretch – sit in a comfortable chair with a straight back. Bend your head forward until the chin hits the chest or you can feel a light stretch in the back of the neck.
- Chair stretch (for hamstrings) – Sit in a comfortable chair with legs straight out in front of you in another stable chair. Reach forward gently to one foot and then repeat with other foot.
Note, that if at any time you are doing a stretch or exercise that is increasing your pain, you should stop immediately.
Exercises you should not do when you have low back pain:
There are also some exercises you should avoid when you have low back pain including:
- Sit ups, either with straight legs or with bent legs
- Leg lifts
- Touching your toes while standing with legs straight
- Heavy lifting above the waist
Although, some patients with lower back pain need to receive medical attention, many people can relieve the pain associated with back pain with simple strengthening and stretching exercises. When you have a question on whether to get medical attention or not, it is best to be cautious and talk to your provider for a recommendation.
About Dr. Olufade
Dr. Olufade is board certified in Sports Medicine, Interventional Pain Medicine and Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. He completed fellowship training in both Interventional Pain Medicine and Sports Medicine. During his fellowship training, he was a team physician for Philadelphia Union, a major league soccer (MLS) team, Widener University Football team and Interboro High School Football team. He is currently team physician for Emory University and Blessed Trinity High School.
Dr. Olufade employs a comprehensive approach in the treatment of sports medicine injuries and spinal disorders by integrating physical therapy, orthotic prescription and minimally invasive procedures. He specializes also in treatment of sports related concussions, tendinopathies, platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections and percutaneous tenotomy and fasciotomy. He performs procedures such as fluoroscopic-guided spine injections and ultrasound guided peripheral joint injections. Dr. Olufade individualizes his plan with a focus on functional restoration. Dr. Olufade sees patients at our clinic at Emory Johns Creek Hospital.
Dr Olufade has held many leadership roles including Chief Resident, Vice-President of Resident Physician Council of AAPM&R, President of his medical school class and Editor of the PM&R Newsletter. He has authored multiple book chapters and presented at national conferences.
About Emory Ortho, Sports and Spine in Johns Creek and Duluth
Emory Orthopaedics, Sports & Spine has recently opened two new clinics, one in Johns Creek and one in Duluth. Emory physicians, Kyle Hammond, MD, and Oluseun A. Olufade, MD see patients in Johns Creek. Mathew Pombo, MD and Scott Maughon, MD see patients in Duluth. Our new clinic locations care for a full range of orthopedic conditions including: sports medicine, hand/wrist/elbow, foot/ankle, joint replacement, shoulder, knee/hip, concussions, and spine. To schedule an appointment call 404-778-3350