Back Exercises Pictures
Exercise is one of the most effective ways of preventing and treating recurring or chronic back pain. Strengthening muscles that support the spine with exercises can prevent, reduce and in some cases eliminate lower back pain. Stretching shortened muscles that are pulling the spine out of alignment can also relieve lower back pain.
Weak core muscles are often at the root of lower back pain. The muscles of the back, the abdomen, hips and buttocks (the core muscles) work together to support the spine. The core muscles are the spine's main defense against gravity.
The core muscles help maintain proper posture and stabilize the spine (keep it firm in its natural alignment during movement - walking, running, lifting, exercising, etc. Improving core stability reduces the risk of injury to the spinal joints, discs, back muscles & ligaments during such activities. Exercises to increase strength, endurance and coordination of the core muscles improve core stability.
Strengthening the upper back muscles is also important to prevent slouching, which is a common cause of neck and shoulder pain. Strengthening the upper back and the back of the shoulders helps maintain upright posture, as muscles in the upper back help keep the shoulder blades down and back. page.
Strong quadriceps (front of thigh muscles) are important to prevent back injuries when lifting. Proper lifting techniques involve using your legs and if your legs are weak, you may end up using your back.
Shortened muscles can pull the spine out of alignment and contribute to back pain. Stretching exercises lengthen shortened muscles and can relieve back pain. Tight back muscles, tight chest muscles, tight buttocks muscles, tight muscles in the front of the hip can affect the alignment of the spine. Stretching the back also increases mobility of the joints of the spine.
Note: Exercise is not recommended for acute low back pain, although continuing with daily activities is usually recommended. If you have a back injury or current back pain read: Post-injury exercise page first.
Aerobic exercise can also reduce chronic or recurring back pain. Aerobic exercise increases core endurance. Weight-bearing aerobic exercise (legs support weight of body) such as brisk walking also improves bone density of the legs, hips and lower spine. Aerobics also improve also relieves stress and improves sleep, which helps to reduce chronic pain. See page.
How successful an exercise program is in relieving back pain depends on whether other factors that are contributing to back pain have been corrected particularly chronic poor posture, which increases stress on the back muscles, ligaments and discs. Posture awareness along with strong and flexible muscles help maintain proper posture. See posture page for more info.
NOTE: Starting out with exercises that are too difficult (for your current level of fitness) or doing too many can cause back pain. Strengthening the back with exercises must be done progressively. The body adapts to gradual increases in exercise, increasing exercise too quickly can cause injury and cause or increase back pain. Patience and restraint are needed to give exercise a chance.