Low Back Pain - Living With Low Back Pain
When you no longer have acute pain, you may be ready for gentle strengthening exercises for your stomach, back, and legs, and perhaps for some stretching exercises. Exercise may not only help decrease low back pain but also may help you recover faster, prevent reinjury to your back, and reduce the risk of disability from back pain.
Walking is the simplest and perhaps the best exercise for
the low back. Your doctor or a
physical therapist can recommend more specific
exercises to help your back muscles get stronger. These may include a series of
simple exercises called core stabilization. The muscles of your
trunk, or core, support your spine. Strengthening
these muscles can improve your posture, keep your body in better balance, and
decrease your chance of injury. For more information, see:
- Fitness: Increasing Core Stability.
- Low Back Pain: Exercises to Reduce Pain.
Take care of stress
Stress and low back pain can create a vicious circle. You have back pain, and you begin to worry about it. This causes stress, and your back muscles begin to tense. Tense muscles make your back pain worse, and you worry more... which makes your back worse... and so on.
There are lots of ways to teach yourself to relax. Try one of these:
- Stress Management: Practicing Yoga to Relax
- Stress Management: Doing Guided Imagery to Relax
- Stress Management: Breathing Exercises for Relaxation
- Stress Management: Doing Progressive Muscle Relaxation
- Stress Management: Relaxing Your Mind and Body
- Stress Management: Managing Your Time
- Stress Management: Doing Meditation
Manage your weight
Extra body weight, especially around the waist, may put strain on your back.
If you want to get to a healthy weight and stay there, lifestyle changes will work better than dieting.
Here are the three steps to reaching a healthy weight:
- Improve your eating habits. Do it slowly. You may be tempted to do a diet overhaul and change everything about the way you eat. But you will be more successful at staying with the changes you make if you pick just one eating habit at a time to work on.
- Weight Management: Starting a Plan for Change
- Get moving. Try to make physical activity a regular part of your day, just like brushing your teeth. Start small, and build up over time. Moderate activity is safe for most people, but it's always a good idea to talk to your doctor before you start an exercise program.
- Change your thinking. Our thoughts have a lot to do with how we feel and what we do. If you can stop your brain from telling you discouraging things and have it start encouraging you instead, you may be surprised at how much healthier you'll be-in mind and body.
- Weight Management: Using Positive Thinking