Exercise can be very helpful in preventing and treating back pain if done correctly. The type of pain and the specific characteristics of the person suffering from it determine the ideal activity for each person.
There is a paradoxical effect, says Nestor Requejo, a member of the Professional College of Physiotherapists of the Community of Madrid, who believes that sports “can be preventive or painful inversely depending, among other things, on the level of stress the athlete is subjected to.” p>
This physical therapist with a degree in physical activity and sports sciences agrees with Sergio Fuertes, a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist and member of the Spanish Society for Pain (SED), that pain should limit exercise during the acute phase.
Goals Achievable Through Exercise
But if we exclude this is not an absolute contraindication, the benefits of sports are higher than the possible risks. The goals that can be achieved with exercises for back pain relief are varied:
- Neuromuscular readaptation to improve spinal function.
- Analgesic action similar to that of some drugs.
- A playful tool for reducing fear of movement (kinesophobia).
- Improved mood, stress and depression, which are often associated with chronic pain conditions.
Most Relevant Activities
Experts emphasize that a case-by-case assessment is necessary before recommending specific exercises for back pain. In general terms, Fuertes points out that “sports that allow safe exercise to improve strength, flexibility, balance and body stability, coordinated with adequate breathing structure, will be recommended.” To do this, note that the following actions may be interesting:
This is a very complete physical state in which the whole body works, from the deepest muscles to the most peripheral, and in which both the mind and the body interfere.
A suspension training system that uses gravity. Muscle strength is manifested through the load from your own body weight.
A combination of functional and strength exercises designed to deepen understanding and improve body biomechanics.
A program that uses educational water activities for a purely hygienic and preventive purpose, using the physical properties that the aquatic environment provides.
Improves flexibility, muscle strength and body balance.
Fuertes, a member of the department of pain at the University Hospital of Brugos, believes that “the practice of self-study of any sport is not recommended, because the secret of profit lies in the technique.” For this reason, he considers “supervision, even if possible, by a professional” necessary.
Rekejo adds that the time has come “to break the habit of banning certain sports that we have culturally associated with back pain.” In his opinion, the only thing that can be achieved by introducing these restrictions is to “instill false beliefs in the patient and unnecessary fears that will make him more fragile.”