Like the start of a new year, a new season – especially spring, with its lead up to the summer months – is a time for people to revisit the fitness goals they may have abandoned or put on hold at the end of January (or to come up with new ones). Whether it involves running outdoors again, picking up the tennis racket, or even joining a new cycling gym or yoga class, it is always a good time to start exercising and get regular physical activity.
But for people who suffer from chronic back pain or spine conditions like scoliosis or degenerative disc disease, the thought of risking further pain or injury can get in the way of fitness. And while it might sound counter-intuitive to some, regular exercise is especially important for people suffering from spinal conditions.
Exercising with a Back Condition – The Do’s and Don’ts
With or without back issues, it’s always a good idea to consult with a doctor before starting a new physical activity. While a good yoga practice might be right for one person, a moderate walking program might be more suitable for another, even if they are suffering from the same condition and have similar pain levels and symptoms. Los Angeles-based orthopedic spine surgeons Dr. Sanjay Khurana and Dr. Rojeh Melikian work with each patient individually to help find the best activity on a case by case basis.
When Looking for a Fitness Routine, Do What You Love
A good rule of thumb is to start with activities you already enjoy, which, for starters, will make it more likely to stick. The good news is that there are many low impact activities that help to build back muscles and strength to help support the lower back, and prevent further injuries. A few of the best exercises for the back include:
Start Slow and Build Lower Back Strength Over Time
In our hero/heroine obsessed culture, everyone loves a great “couch to marathon in four days” type of headline. From senior citizens walking across the length of the United States to raise awareness for poverty, to veterans and average civilians alike running 50 marathons across 50 states in 50 days, tales of superhuman strength and endurance are all over the media and internet.
And while those stories can be incredibly inspiring, they can also be overwhelming, and actually make it harder for people to get started. Running a marathon is great, but walking or cycling a few miles a day several times a week at a manageable pace is not only realistic and doable, it will help to build the kind of back strength and endurance over time that will make training for a marathon in the future more possible (for those feeling so inclined!).
Get Up, Stand Up
As modern culture becomes more and more sedentary than at any other point in human history, the many health dangers of excessive sitting have started to come to light. Spending several uninterrupted hours sitting in a chair every day doesn’t just take a toll on the lower back, it can lead to a series of serious health risks like diabetes, cardiac disease, and even increase the likelihood of several types of cancer.
While most people can’t avoid sitting at a desk for work or in their cars for a long commute every day, frequent breaks are recommended to get the legs moving and the blood circulating properly. Experts recommend incorporating a standing desk to alternate sitting and standing every 30 minutes or so where possible. Even a long run or hike after work might not be enough to counteract the negative effects of sitting for too long.
While regular exercise is also important and should be a part of every health and wellness routine, especially for back pain sufferers, making it a point to stand up and stretch for a few minutes every 30 minutes or so is necessary to fight the effects of excessive sitting.
Common Causes of Low Back Pain
- Degenerative disc disease
- Herniated disc
- Disc tear
- Vertebral fractures
- Bone Spurs
- Spinal stenosis
- Pinched nerve
Types of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery and Treatment
- Artificial Disc Replacement
- Scoliosis Correction
- Kyphosis Correction
- Tumor Excision and Reconstruction
- Microdiscectomy (microsurgical discectomy)
- Microlaminectomy (microsurgical decompression)
Minor bouts of back pain from time to time are common and normal. However, back pain that persists, returns often, and does not alleviate over time can be a sign of a spine condition or injury.
Back Pain Treatment in Los Angeles
Back pain does not have to be a way of life. To learn more about minimally invasive spine surgery or for a second opinion on a previous diagnosis or unsuccessful treatment, contact a board-certified orthopedic surgeon at the Los Angeles Spine Group by calling 310-231-6516 to schedule an appointment today.
Next, read Watch Your Back (Pain)