Struggling with chronic back pain doesn’t exactly inspire you to get your body moving in the gym. But exercises that focus on your back can strengthen your muscles and may provide relief, particularly resistance exercises. Effective exercises for chronic back pain are important for supporting your spine and providing you with a long-term pain management solution. Your healthcare team can make recommendations about a specific workout regimen appropriate for you. Let’s look at a few simple exercises to help you begin.
Many people think that to strengthen their back they only need to work their back muscles. Actually your back and your abdominal muscles work together to keep you upright and well-supported, so you need to strengthen both. A great way to do this is by doing partial crunches.
To do a partial crunch, lay on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the ground. Stretch your arms towards the ceiling so they are perpendicular with the ground. Come up to a 20-degree angle, not the full 90-degree angle you’d do for a full sit-up. Reach for the ceiling, lifting your upper torso slightly off the ground by engaging your upper abdominal muscles. Slowly lower yourself back down. Repeat for 10-15 reps.
Do not put your hands behind your head or neck during crunches, as you can actually strain your neck muscles and cause more discomfort. Try to come about 5-6 inches off the floor. To be an effective exercise for chronic back pain, be sure to concentrate on engaging your abs and doing slow, controlled movements.
Banded Hamstring Stretches
Lower back pain is often caused by tension that builds up in your back, abdominal, and leg muscles. A daily hamstring stretch can go a long way toward relieving that pain. It can also be a stepping stone to getting up from your desk and moving more frequently throughout the day.