• Preston Brown, DPT, GCS

"Is It Safe To Exercise With A Bad Back?"


An aching lower back doesn’t mean you’ve got to be housebound, with heat and ice packs until it magically disappears. You CAN keep moving! Not moving at all can make your back pain worse!

Let's talk about exercise and back pain…


Last week I had a question asked by one of our patients, Gail, 67, from Brookfield…


And it’s one that we get asked often, “Is it ok to exercise when my back is hurting? I’ve just got into a good routine sticking to the gym and working out three times a week, and I don’t want to stop…”


I understand the frustration, and I also know that the thought of doing any movement at all when you’re going through some pain might feel a little scary…


You don’t want to run the risk of aggravating it anymore in case it turns into something more serious.


You don’t want to go ‘too hard’ in the gym in case you pull another muscle.


And you don’t want to wake up one day to find that you can no longer roll out of bed quickly, walk down the road, or even drive because what you did, made it worse.


But don’t let that worry you too much – that’s rarely ever the case!


An aching lower back doesn’t mean you’ve got to be housebound, with heat and ice packs until it magically disappears.


You CAN keep moving! Not moving at all can make your back pain worse!


Here’s why…


If you suffer from lower back pain that comes and goes, gentle walking with exercises designed to improve lower back strength and movement added it would make a big difference.

Walking is an entirely natural movement that keeps your joints mobile and muscles working – even those in your feet, legs, hips, and torso – which plays an essential role in maintaining the muscles in your back that hold you upright.


Stretching combined with walking will improve your backs strength, flexibility, and posture, which in turn, can help stop back pain from creeping up on you when you least expect it. What’s more, it can also reduce how painful it feels and how much it gets in the way of day to day life.


So here’s the critical question to answer now that you know it 100% is ok to exercise even if you’ve got a bad back…


"What exercise can you be doing?" Because of course, too much exercise, or exercise that’s strenuous could make it worse or keep it hanging around longer.


For people with lower back pain, stretching is essential. Stretching the muscles in your legs help to increase the range of movement in your hips, taking the stress off your lower back – which also increases blood flow, allowing nutrients to flow in, taking care of the muscles in your back.


Stretching is also one of the best forms of exercise to maintain and improve a healthy posture. Great for your back, stopping back pain in its tracks, and it feels great when you can walk around confident and tall.


So there you have it, gentle walks and stretching.


Both of these will help you gain back your strength in your back, so you can return to doing the exercise you love the most.


Physical therapy is an effective alternative in addressing back issues and addressing areas that may be contributing to the problem as it relates to limiting your daily activities. If you or your loved one is suffering from back pain it is highly recommended to consult a medical professional to discuss the problem. Having a better understanding of what positions to avoid and having a better understanding of what works best for you and your condition is highly important.

If you live in the Greater Milwaukee area and would like to learn more about how physical therapy or a trained physical therapist can help you please reach out to us CLICK HERE.


Talk more soon!!


Preston, PT


P.S. If you’re experiencing stiffness in your back which restricts your ability to move without pain, click here to download my free back pain tips guide which includes actionable tips I give to my patients at Prestige Therapy and Wellness, LLC. Click the link to get your free copy: https://prestigetherapywellness.lpages.co/back-pain-freebie/



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