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We hear from so many people each week that are struggling with back pain, and it’s so common to believe that you need to wait until you’re out of pain to be able to start rehabilitation. It’s understandable, if you’re in a lot of pain or you’re on painkillers that make you feel unwell, you’re probably not going to feel like doing any exercise. However, the benefits of doing exercise as soon as possible when you have back pain really pays dividends to getting you out of pain quicker!

What Makes Back Pain Worse?

First of all, let’s talk about what makes back pain worse. Having pain in your lower back is a sign that something isn’t right there. If you’ve had pain that’s been ongoing for a number of weeks, months or years, you may feel like nothing seems to be helping or that if you start doing something that’s different to you, for example certain exercises, that you risk flaring it up. This can happen often when we don’t realise what behaviours are causing our back pain to worsen. If your back pain flares just putting your socks on in the morning, how are you going to get out to do a walk? Understand that behaviours that put a lot of stress on your back, such as forward bending when you’re flopping yourself over at the waist to put your shoes and socks on in the morning, when doing exercises that are frequently recommended like knee hugs, or many yoga positions that involve any forward bending, are all inherently putting excess pressure through the discs in your lower back. When this happens, it’s vital to stop doing those kinds of behaviours and start doing the right kinds of exercises.

What Exercises Are Good For Back Pain?

Back problems can range from degenerative disc disease, slipped, bulging or herniated discs, spondylolisthesis or spinal stenosis, to name a few. Something they all have in common is that they’ve occurred as a result of your spine being unable to deal with loading on a daily basis. This is exacerbated by having poor alignment, as your body just isn’t able to distribute weight effectively. If you’re compressing the spine, the simple answer would be to stop doing this or do the right things to stop it – in the same way if you wake up in the night with a numb arm because you’ve been sleeping on it, the minute you stop it goes back to normal. Getting movement on a daily basis through walking can often make you feel better as it causes gentle undulating movements that help to relieve the pain. We hear so often that getting out and moving can help, especially with patients who wish to cancel appointments because they’re feeling bad, if they change their mind and decide to come in – they often feel better just for the movement.

Join The Back In Shape Program

A full protocol to support you get out of back pain in the short term and then rehab safely and effectively to deal with the issue for the long term.

In our Back In Shape membership area, we have three phases of guided rehabilitation that you can take advantage of. Phase 1 advises common mistakes you need to stop making on a daily basis and teaches you stretches that will improve the range of motion you have on your lower body – as this will help you to not put so much pressure through your back on a day-to-day basis. We also go through how you can engage your core, as these muscles form a protective corset around the spine to prevent injury. Engaging your core is going to be so important later when starting the strengthening phase so it’s vital that you learn this. When moving onto Phase 2, we introduce bodyweight exercises that you can do to start strengthening the body. You don’t need to be completely out of pain when starting this phase because this is one where you’ll notice the most benefits going forward. Getting some integrity back into your lower body and core muscles will help to prevent relapses going forward. If you re-injure yourself in this stage, you’re likely to be able to recover from it quicker than if you were still in Phase 1 or not exercising at all. Finally, after 28 days, we recommend moving onto Phase 3. This phase introduces added resistance based training to help to further improve your strength. This is often the part people find the most fun as it’s a way to constantly improve on yourself going forward and to get your back into good shape going forward.

Why Is Rehabilitation Important?

There are no quick fixes for back pain. Although taking painkillers may help or perhaps you’ve had an injection in the past that’s been able to help you with pain levels, these are by no means resolutions to the problem. Both approaches are not doing anything for recovery, and it’s surprising how much we hear that people take these without doing any rehabilitation. It’s often miscommunicated that these coping mechanisms do not replace rehabilitation and that it’s necessary to need to do these in order to get better. Often the quickest relief option is going to seem the most enticing when actually the rehab needs to be done. Without rehabilitation, the pain will likely become worse over time, because if you’re taking painkillers you’re going to then be doing activities that are making the problem worse because there’s no pain response that you can feel telling you that you’ve done something wrong. Likewise with injections: even if they help with pain levels in the short-term, you’re likely to worsen the problem without realising that’s what you’re doing. Of course, we’re not recommending that you go without your painkillers if they’re helping you to get through the day. Simply bear in mind that they are not a replacement for rehabilitation and if they’re helping you to get good quality sleep at night, that is also important.

We hope you’ve found today’s article helpful! If you have any questions following this feature, please do make sure to get in touch. You can reach us by visiting our social channels, by emailing us at info@themayfairclinic.com or by tuning in to our livestreams every weekday morning on our Facebook and YouTube channels. You can sign up to our Back In Shape membership area for free today by visiting www.backinshapeapp.com, to start your rehabilitation journey.

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