Exercise and back pain - It won't hurt you
People bothered by back and neck problems are often a bit leery of embarking on an exercise routine. They
worry that exercise isn’t safe and more activity will only make their problems worse.
For most people there is nothing to fear. Exercise won’t worsen your condition. In fact, it should do the opposite. In some instances, depending on your situation and what could be triggering your pain, there may be specific movements or activities that your physical therapist suggests you avoid. For the most part, though, exercise
won’t hurt you.
That said you need to be smart. For example, if your back hurts, try and avoid activities over the short-term that place excessive stress on your lower back, such as heavy lifting. When your pain improves, you should be able to gradually return to activities such as lifting, bending and prolonged sitting.
A physical therapist can answer your questions about what activities are safe for you to do and which you might want to avoid. When starting an activity program, you may have a bit more discomfort. Muscles, tendons, ligaments and other structures that you haven’t been using need to get used to being active again. But you shouldn’t experience severe or sharp pain. If you do, stop what you’re doing.
For an in-depth look at back pain with Mayo Clinic experts, try Back and Neck Health, a new book from Mayo Clinic Press. Available wherever books are sold.