What kind of Physical Activity can help easing or removing your back pain
- » What kind of Physical Activity can help easing or removing your back pain
We proposed our readers to answer the question “What kind of Physical Activity can help easing or removing your back pain?” 3,369 persons took part in the questionnaire. Now we are ready to introduce the findings.
The majority of the respondents recognized that swimming assists to cope with pack pain – 732 persons chose this answer, which is 22% of the total number of respondents. 564 persons said that physical activity just intensifies the pain – this group is at 17% of respondents, another 8% stated that no kind of physical activity could help. But you shouldn’t be skeptical about graduated exercises as a way to ease the pain; all in all, just 25% of respondents consider activity unsuitable and the rest 75% found the supportable kind of physical activity.
14% of respondents that is 463 persons chose walking. 9% of respondents use yoga and more 8% prefer heavy physical activity like fitness and exercise equipment. Daily physical exercises are as commonly used as fitness and possess 7% of the responses; however rehabilitation and strengthening exercises advised by a therapist or found in Internet or books possess only 6% and 5% respectively. Another 5% chose “any light physical activity”.
Rating the kinds of physical activity based on experience of our readers and in terms of their therapeutic effectiveness a list of physical activities from less to the most reliable will be as follows:
- Swimming (22%).
- Walking (14%).
- Yoga (9%).
- Heavy physical activity (8%)
- Daily physical exercise (7%).
- Rehabilitation and strengthening exercises advised by a therapist (6%).
- Rehabilitation and strengthening exercises found in Internet or books (5%).
- Any light physical activity (5%).
Could we consider this list as a guide for action? It is yes and no. If your lead a sedentary life and you have no contraindication to the above activities and your therapist recommends you to put a strain on your body, you can try each of them to choose one the most suitable for you. There is no one –advice-fits-all because 22% of persons choose one way to relieve the pack pain that could exacerbate the problems of another 17%. And how do you know if you refer to these 17%?
When does swimming useful or useless?
There is a good reason that swimming is the first in the list of physical activities useful for the back. It differs by minimum loads on backbone and joints. When a person relaxes and lays on the water, gravitation loads on the back decrease, intervertebral cartilages get a respite, because the water sustains the weight of your body instead of the backbone. In the same way swimming relieves the pain caused by coning of nerve endings because the deviated vertebras completely or partially return to normal position, intervertebral foramen become wider that releasing nerve fibers.
When you swim you backbone is free of load but muscles of you back, chest and low back strengthen such that tones up paravertebral muscles, forms sound core and corrects body posture. That is why the swimming is recommended for scoliosis and degenerative disc disease. You certainly pay attention that movement amplitude is wider in the water because your joints release from pressure and move freer.
Swimming is a wonderful correction remedy for body posture of schoolchildren who often have curvature of the spines and are not fond of therapy training. Children attend swimming classes with a fervor that helps to improve body posture even today and also prevents back problems in future. In case that the swimming is so useful may as well we recommend it for adults who suffer back pain?
In order that your swimming lessons do good but not harm at degenerative disc disease you should follow the recommendations:
- Swim in an enclosed body of water because even weak current requires additional physical efforts that affect vertebrae state and even moderately cold water prevents muscles relaxation and causes aggravation of inflammatory state.
- Breast is a fully satisfactory stroke, but backstroke swimming is better for cervical spine problems.
- Hold off on increasing speed of movements and loads. Swimming should not make you tired. Make breaks and lay on the water.
- Control breathing, it shouldn’t be broken. Breathe deep and regular
- Do warming-up exercises before swimming to stimulate blood flow and warm up muscles.
The cases when swimming is contraindicated and able to intensify pain instead of easing it:
- Degenerative disc disease in the exacerbation phase with severe pain syndrome; exercise loads are generally contraindicated at acute phase or sharp pain.
- Heavy cardiac and respiratory failure.
- Sacred disease.
- Skin diseases.
- Flu and cold – physical activity is a heart-harmful when you have fever heat.
Walking and other moderate loads
Walking is one of the most natural activities. It strengthens muscle harmonically including not only knees and calf but also back and abdominal muscles. The walks stimulate blood flow thanks to which tissues get more nutrients and vessels become stronger. Walking improves intestinal motility and helps to cope with stress and forget about insomnia. However not every walk is good and useful. To have the therapeutic effect, you should walk correctly.
- Regular walking. The optimal regimen for a long walk is on alternate days, but you can also walk some distance every day. The breaks between walks are not to exceed 2-3 days.
- The pace should be comfortable for you. You should walk fast, dynamically but without breaks in the breaths, sweating or fatigue. Everyone should adopt his individual pace of walking.
- Control you posture during walking: straight back, relaxed shoulders and hands, stomach slightly gathered in.
- Don’t carry heavy things during your walk. If you go for a walk after the work, for example, use a backpack with hardback instead of a bag.
- Use walking shoes; women need to reject high heels during the walks.
- Don’t overload yourself.
- Don’t walk when you have a cough, rhinitis or other cold symptoms.
The long walk is helpful at degenerative disc disease and intervertebral disk disease because it reinforces the immune system, improve stress tolerance and metabolism. But walking and moderate physical activities have some contraindications:
- An acute disease and a chronic condition in the exacerbation phase.
- Acute back pain.
- Vascular diseases of the cerebrospinal axis.
- Bony and cartilaginous tissues diseases of the lower limb.
- Varicose veins combined with excessive weight.
Yoga, daily physical exercise or fitness
Yoga is a complex of spiritual and physical practices having the history of the thousand years. Don’t confuse it with religion. There are many directions of yoga. System of yoga eight stages or limbs is considered as a classical practice:
- Yama is the first path that relates to principles of nonviolence, truthfulness, nonstealing noncovetousness.
- Niyama, the second limb, requires self-discipline, modesty, inner and outer cleanliness.
- Asana, the postures practiced in yoga aimed to foster the spirit and exercise the body.
- Pranayama is a life force extension through breath practices.
The rest four limbs as Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi, concern only spiritual and moral sides of life. But talking of Yoga beyond the borders of India we mean asana or hatha yoga the fourth limb of the spiritual way. At that Europeans nicely ignore the first two limbs and exercise yoga as gymnastic or fitness without going into particulars of spiritual aspects. As a kind of physical activity hatha yoga has its own specific.
Yoga is not an analog of stretching. Asanas could be stretching, twisting, strengthening, compression and etc. But stretching really plays an important role so if it is your contraindication it will include hatha yoga as well, not to mention that yoga has range of specific contraindications:
- An acute disease and a chronic condition in the exacerbation phase.
- Acute back pain.
- High blood pressure of the second and third degrees.
- High intercranial pressure.
- The first half year after acute myocardial infarction or stroke.
- Decompensated heart defect.
- Atrial fibrillation.
- Traumatic brain injuries.
- Spinal cord trauma.
- Meniscal injuries
- Intervertebral disk disease.
- Hypermobility of joints and backbone.
- Radicular syndromes
- Infectious disease of joints.
- Cold, flu, heat.
Do you suffer from Intervertebral disk disease or a suspected case? You have to refuse yoga. Perhaps, instead of oversea physical practices, you would prefer daily morning exercise! Let’s specify the meaning of “usual daily physical exercise”: is it squatting, dumbbell exercise, bending forward and sideways? The daily physical exercises include strength exercises and stretching. It is not obviously to refuse strength exercises completely if you have backbone problems but do it with caution and finish with stretching. But if you have contraindications to yoga more likely you have contraindications to stretching.
The same may be said about fitness and exercise equipment because the list of yoga contradictions could be equally referred to heavy exercise loads. If you are a professional sportsman or competent amateur who learned the ropes you should remember that stretching is a mandatory element of the training.
The strength exercises without stretching increase risk of sports injuries. Moreover, if you have intervertebral disk disease or acute shooting back pains - Radicular syndromes – any physical activities are contraindicated. Nevertheless, training with the fitness equipment has its own specifics: a training program is to be corrected depending on the state of backbone. For example, you mustn’t do weight squats at lumbar hyperlordosis. At the same time, this curvature could be treated by appropriate abdominal exercises. To avoid the harmful affection of training on your backbone, consult with therapists and experienced gym instructor; keep in mind necessity to correct the training program and to make breaks in case of any contraindications.
Rehabilitation and strengthening exercises or Physical therapy has received only 11% of supporters who use it to relief the pain. In our questionnaire, we divided Physical therapy into exercises advised by therapist and exercises found in the internet and special literature. How it turned out that the exercise complex aimed to rehabilitation is not the most effective way to relieve the back pain?
It is the rehabilitation, the key target of the Physical therapy, which makes it differ from the other kinds of physical activities. It is not a sport or yoga or stretching after fitness so “Faster-Higher-Stronger” philosophy doesn’t work when you do rehabilitation and strengthening exercises. You mustn’t feel pain or overwork yourself. The physical therapy has the same list of contraindications as the other kinds of physical activities: the exacerbation phase of diseases, heat, inflammation, infectious diseases and others. To raise efficiency of rehabilitation and strengthening exercises a patient should follow some rules:
- Systematic approach. The majority of people do exercises as long as therapist maintains control but if he would loosen it they will miss training or stop at all. At home people often do exercises a couple of days or a week and give up if they wouldn’t feel momentary relief. It doesn’t have to be this way. The training sequence, the graduated exercises, and an exercise plan should not be a random choice.
- Individual approach. An individual plan of exercises for a person considering sex, age, physical abilities and diagnosis.
- Regular update of exercise program. The most common mistake of people who take care of health is the same exercise program during the years while rehabilitation and strengthening exercises should be regularly corrected.
- Cycling. The exercise loads should take turns after relaxation.
- Comprehensiveness. Rehabilitation and strengthening exercises is not a silver bullet, it should be combined with massage, hydrotherapeutic procedure and other kinds of therapy.