Exercising with back pain can seem intimidating, but as an important practice in a healthy lifestyle, there are a few steps you can take to make it more manageable. Keep in mind that each person has a unique path to better health so it’s important to consult your healthcare provider before making major life changes. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.
Dress for Comfort
The first step to a successful workout with back pain is to prepare even before you get to your workout station. Wearing clothing that allows for proper blood flow, bending, and stretching is important in not only how your workout goes, but in giving you the confidence you need to spur you on to success. Remember to use supportive shoes and, if recommended, a back brace.
Warm Up Gradually
Working out demands a lot from our bodies. Care for your body by making sure it’s warm and ready to assist you in your goals before jumping into the exercise portion. A great warm up will get your heart rate slightly elevated and set the tone for proper alignment practices in the main portion of your workout. Start slowly and ease into new movements. Any new movement that changes the direction of your spine should be taken one step at a time to make sure it’s comfortable and ready to repeat to build strength. Since the back is connected to so many other muscles, it’s important to also make sure muscles close by are stretched and warm. Don’t forget your hamstrings, glutes, shoulders, and neck.
Prioritize Form Over Repetitions
Once the workout begins it can be easy to get excited about progress and start to lose concentration on proper technique. As much as keeping up with goals and classes feels exciting, it’s important to be able to take a step back and remember to practice good form. Don’t let pride or even your exhaustion get in the way and cause more injury. Make sure your spine as well as the rest of your body is always aligned properly to build good habits and reap the full benefits of hard-earned gains. Always feel free to ask your instructors and your chiropractors if you are doing a movement correctly. They’re there to help!
Cool Down and Stretch
After your workout, bring your heart rate back down slowly. Then, reward your back with some light stretching. Take your time here and use some slow, easy movements with deep breathing. Rather than counting repetitions or even seconds in your cool down, try counting breaths. This will encourage good oxygen flow to start building your muscles back up stronger than ever. When you breathe out, try focusing on the areas that often cause you pain or where you carry tension and with each breath out, release that feeling of tension from each of these areas individually. Aim to spend at least 10% of your workout time on this step. You’ve earned it!
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