(Perhaps the most misunderstood idea in health care.)
Yes, you should, but you must do the right exercises.
This is because bed rest is usually the worst thing you can do in most back pain situations. How do you know if you are doing the right back pain exercises? The right exercises make most people feel better immediately after they do them.
The type of exercise should be geared to the cause of the back pain. For instance, to speed healing of a sprain or strain, it is wise to begin with pain free range of motion exercises. These encourage a better functioning repair of the injured tissues. Without these exercises the repair work results in stiff and tight scarring.
If a disc injury causes your back pain, then walking as much as comfortable is appropriate.
Do you suffer an unstable back with recurring episodes of back pain? Then strengthening the deep muscles around the spine (not just the abs and extensors) can help.
We have found that most people feel better immediately after doing the Foundation Training exercise called the Founder. If you don’t feel better immediately when you do the four minute Founder exercise, it means that your spine and its muscles are unstable. And, you have more than one problem that needs to be treated. But the Founder exercise should be attempted by everyone because it pays off for most people who learn to do it correctly.
What does it mean to have an unstable spine?
It means that your joints don’t move as well as they should. And it means your muscles have a combination of weakness and trigger point pain that causes you to have more pain than the average person. It does not mean that you can’t get better or that you won’t benefit from doing the right exercises. It only means that your treatment needs to be thorough. Also, your Foundation Training exercise may need to be properly modified to get the maximum benefit with the least amount of discomfort.
For most people bed rest and inactivity will not help you heal your back nor make it more stable. A lot of bed rest and inactivity is the surest way to make your pain last longer and make you weaker.
Can’t you just do the exercises that you have been doing at the gym?
If your regular exercise program at the gym was just as good as the Foundation Training exercises how did you end up with recurring back pain? Most gym exercises don’t make your core stabilization muscles work as well. And they don’t make you as stable as Foundation Training does. When you learn to do Foundation Training exercises well enough you will apply them to your every day life situations so that they support and protect you throughout the day no matter what you are doing.
You can see what the beginning Foundation Training exercises look like, at this link to the exercises on YouTube. The entire exercise video here lasts about 4 minutes.
Important: Find what works and stick with it
As you can see, matching the proper exercises to the cause of the back pain (hurt muscle, joint, disc or nerve) is the key to healing faster, healing better and feeling better sooner. Do you have long term back pains that exercises are beginning to help? For you and people like you it is important to make your exercises a regular part of your lifestyle. Keeping your back muscles strong and healthy helps in managing or preventing back pains.
Should you need help with matching the proper exercise to the cause of your lower back pain, please give us a call at 978-535-6155. We are here to help.