Should you exercise with lower back pain

Low back pain is defined as pain, muscle tension or stiffness localized below the rib cage and above the glutes. This is a major public health problem, with the lifetime prevalence report as high as 84%. Anywhere between 4-33% of adults will experience lower back pain at any given point in time and recurrent episodes can occur in over 70% of the cases. Research shows that 20% of cases become chronic, and about 10% of those progress to disability.

The recovery rate for lower back pain can last anywhere from 4-6 weeks, but unless the underlying cause of the pain is treated, the pain will come back. There are many causes of LBP, including disc compress, degenerative changes in the lumbar spine, various joint and bone pathologist, and muscle imbalances. The most common cause is muscle imbalances. Your muscles are very important to the function of the spine and are most commonly knows as your core. Core muscles are thought to provide a stable base to support and allow optimal performance of the spine and extremities and help prevent injury.

To reduce the probability of chronic pain or disability, individuals with lower back pain should continue to stay active by continuing ordinary activities within pain limit, avoid bed rest, and return to work as soon as possible. Many individuals have fear, anxiety, or misinformation regarding their lower back pain, which exacerbates the persistent pain state. A combination of therapeutic and aerobic exercise, in conjunction with pain education will improve attitudes, outcomes, perceptions and pain thresholds.

An Individual with lower back pain should see a health care professional to first identity the underlying condition. In the mean time, chiropractic, exercise and massage can help reduce the pain and start strengthening the muscles. Exercise may not look like it use to before experiencing lower back pain, but you can definitely get back to yourself before the pain. Besides seeking out additional modalities and health care professionals, the biggest thing to help with the pain is going to be starting out with simple stabilizing core exercises to strengthen the muscles that support you back. Below are the 3 most common back and core strengthening exercise.

According to the ACSM, below are the exercise recommendations for individuals with Lower back pain:


Frequency - Daily

Intensity - As tolerated with pain

Time - Build up to 30 min a day

Type - Fast walking


Frequency -2-3 times a week

Intensity - High reps and low loads

Time - NA

Type - Bridging, bird dog, curl ups


Frequency - Daily

Intensity - Stretch with pain free range of motion

Time - Hold for 30 sec

Type - Limit exercise to unloaded spinal flexion, extension

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