Where Does Exercise Fit In?

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Is back pain affecting your daily activities? Experience has shown us that back pain can impede our ability to work and function at an optimal level whether in a job setting or at home. You may be asking yourself what it is you can do to decrease your pain. Exercise is an activity that most have participated in at one time or another with varying purpose and outcomes. Exercise has the potential to do many things for you including keeping your back healthy.

The team at the Spine Center takes pride in working together in an effort to provide you with the most up to date information on topics that you care about. The most recent addition to our website includes illustrations of exercises that are known to promote flexibility and spinal stabilization. These exercises are basic in nature and can be done by patients with most neck and back conditions. However, you should consult your physician before starting any exercise program.

Exercise and its therapeutic benefits for patients suffering with low back pain have been discussed throughout the years by various healthcare professionals. These discussions have been the platform for several research studies. One such study independently reviewed more than 30 randomized, controlled trials concluding that exercises may be helpful in returning patients with chronic low back pain to their regular daily activities including work.2 In addition, a 1999 award-winning study showed that physiotherapy, muscle strengthening, and aerobics were all able to significantly reduce pain intensity, pain frequency, and disability during activities of daily living.1 Both studies depict exercise as a positive method of treatment for low back pain.

Keep in mind that it is essential, if participating in any exercise program, that you preserve proper body mechanics. The term, body mechanics, is most commonly used when referring to body movement while maintaining spine alignment. Shifts in your spines natural contour have the potential to cause an acute or exacerbate a chronic back condition.

A few simple rules to follow include:

1. When bending- Keep your back and neck inline as you bend at the hips and knees. Remember to tighten your abdominal muscles.
2. When lifting more than 5 pounds - Get close to the load and tighten your abdominal muscles. Keep your back and neck inline, bend at the hips, and lift with your legs and buttocks.
3. When turning- Do not twist. Pivot your feet towards the desired direction.

Exercise and its place in healthcare will continue to evolve. In an effort to maintain a healthy lifestyle many people have started exercising daily. If exercise is on your agenda, make sure to exercise safely and efficiently. Work smarter not harder.

Please visit the tips section of our website for exercises that you can do at home.

References

Mannion, A., Muntener, M., Taimela, S., & Dvorak, J. (1999). A Randomized Clinical Trial of Three Active Therapies for Chronic Low Back Pain. SPINE , 2435-2448

Van Tulder, M., Malmivaara, A., Esmail, R., & Koes, B. (2000). Exercise Therapy for Low Back Pain. SPINE , 2784-2796.

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