Have you noticed your back aching during or after your exercise routine? Maybe you even find yourself laying flat on the floor patiently waiting for the pain to subside. We are going to look into the symptoms of back pain, a few exercises that can help reduce pain, and how to prevent future back pain.
Symptoms of Back Pain
Pain symptoms can vary from person to person which is why it is important to know your body. When experiencing unusual pain it is vital to speak to a doctor or physical therapist.
The most common symptoms are a shooting, burning, stabbing, dull, or sharp pain in the back. Pain can increase with physical activity such as standing, squatting, lifting, or twisting. You may even notice a limited range of motion or changes in flexibility.
Less Common Symptoms
There are a few symptoms that may seem less obvious such as unexplained weight loss, fever, and incontinence. Some people may experience swelling, weakness, numbness, and leg pain. If you are experiencing these symptoms you need to speak with a medical professional for further evaluation.
Tests to Diagnose Back Pain
During your appointment, the doctor will want to complete a physical exam to check your range of motion, strength, and reflexes. They may also ask about diet, exercise, sleep habits, and history of injury. Once these are completed the doctor may recommend further testing.
There are a few tests that they may want to run so that they can properly diagnose you. Usually, they will start with running a blood and urine test to rule out infections before moving on to scans such as a CT, MRI, EMG, or x-ray.
CT scans are used to detect ruptured discs while MRIs look at muscles, ligaments, and tendons. EMG scans look at how your muscles respond to signals from the brain. Lastly, the x-ray is used to detect broken bones and fractures.
4 Exercises to Reduce Back Pain
It may seem counterintuitive to think about exercising with back pain but there are exercises that you can do that will strengthen your core muscles and reduce back pain.
Position yourself on your hands and knees and tighten your abdominal muscles. Next, extend your left arm out in front of you and your right leg out behind you. Hold this position for 10 seconds and repeat with the opposite arm and leg outstretched.
Abdominal Chair Crunch
For this exercise, you will need a chair. Lie on the ground with your legs resting on the chair. Place your hands behind your head and lift your chin towards the ceiling using your stomach muscles.
Start with doing 10 crunches before taking a short break and repeating three more sets. As your core strengthens, you can add 5 reps to each set.
Start by lying face down on the floor, tuck your toes into the ground, and place your elbows on the floor holding your core upright. Elbows should be shoulder-width apart. Keep your stomach muscles tight as you use your elbows to raise yourself off the floor.
Hold the upright position for 10 seconds and repeat five times with a short rest in between. As your core muscles strengthen, you will be able to hold the plank for longer periods.
For this exercise, you will need a wall that you can lean against. With your back to the wall gently slide down the wall until your body is in a sitting position as if you are sitting in a chair. Tighten your stomach and upper leg muscles to hold yourself upright.
Hold this position for 15 seconds and raise back upright to a standing position. Repeat five times with short breaks in between. As your muscles strengthen you will be able to hold this position for longer amounts of time.
Completing these types of exercises day to day will decrease the occurrence of injury while strengthening your core muscles.
Preventing Back Pain
If you are experiencing back pain stop exercising until you can speak with a medical professional to ensure that you are not further injuring yourself. In the meantime, try to avoid the following:
Avoid High Impact Workouts
During periods of back pain and muscle soreness, you will want to avoid high-impact aerobic exercises. An alternative to this is to move from the gym to the swimming pool. Aquatic exercise is a great, low-impact way to keep your body moving and allow for some pain relief.
Avoid Lifting Weights
It is important to refrain from lifting weights because it can further damage an injury or simply make the pain worse. Specifically, avoid lifting weights and objects above the head because it causes excessive strain on the back.
Have an Exercise Routine
Maintaining a consistent workout routine is key to preventing back pain. When we exercise regularly our bodies can stay fit and are less susceptible to injuries. Having a regular exercise routine also helps with reducing stress.
Stress is unavoidable and it can have physical symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, and chest pain. Most commonly stress can cause pain in the back, neck, and shoulders. There are many ways to reduce stress such as taking a walk, spending time with friends, or working on a hobby. Practicing self-care is key to living a healthy life.
Treating Back Pain at Arizona Pain and Spine Institute
If you are experiencing chronic back pain, know that there are many ways to treat it. At Arizona Pain and Spine Institute, we are committed to improving our patient’s quality of life and to helping them live pain-free. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and begin the journey of living pain-free!