Being active is good for everyone, even if you have back pain. You’ll get stronger and feel better if you choose the right activities.
You may need other medical treatment for your back pain since exercise alone isn't enough for everyone. But building your strength, especially in the muscles that support your back, is still a good idea.
Start by asking your doctor which activities will be right for you. If you work with a trainer or take a class, let your teacher or trainer know about your back pain. And make sure they understand any limits you have on what you can do.
Techniques to Try
Here are some of the most common approaches people use to get or stay active:
Alexander technique. This isn't a sweaty workout. It's an approach that helps you improve your balance, posture, and movement as you work to ease tension in your body. One study found that the Alexander technique curbed pain and disability in people with low back pain.
Feldenkrais Method. Like the Alexander technique, the Feldenkrais Method is a series of gentle, guided movements that focus on balance and flexibility. You can sign up for group classes or one-on-one sessions that will boost your body awareness and expand the ways you move. A few small studies have found that the method may help with back pain.
Pilates is all about your core muscles, including your abs and back muscles. Some movements may be too intense for people with back pain. But exercises based on Pilates are a common form of rehab. Pilates actually started as a form of physical therapy. A review of studies found that Pilates-based exercise helped reduce low back pain for some people. But it didn’t show whether Pilates is better than other types of exercise for that.
Stretching and strength training. The goal is to become more flexible and stronger so you can move through your day without pain. One study found that typical stretching exercises combined with weight training help with back pain.
Tai chi. This Chinese martial art involves slow, gentle stretches and movements. In one study, people who took tai chi for 10 weeks cut their back pain by 25%.
Yoga. Many studies show that yoga can help with moderate back pain and depression.