4 Exercises To Avoid If You Have Back Pain

Category: Back Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: November 28, 2022

Exercise is a wonderful treatment option for a number of different spinal conditions, but you also need to be smart about how you approach an exercise routine. Some exercises are perfect for your ailing spine, while others may actually put you at risk for more injury. And while all spine injuries are different, there are a few exercises you’ll want to avoid if you’re trying to protect your back or you’re working to overcome spinal discomfort. Below, we look at four exercises you’ll want to skip if you have back pain, and a few routines you can swap in instead.

Which Exercises To Avoid If You Have Spine Pain

For individualized advice on which exercises to avoid and which ones to pursue if you have spine pain, consult with a doctor who can view your condition in person. That said, don’t be surprised if your doctor recommends avoiding these four forms of exercise.

  1. Sit Ups/Crunches – You may have heard that a strong core is important for your spine, but don’t do a bunch of sit ups in order to strengthen your core, because this action can be really hard on your spine. This motion tends to put excessive strain on your spinal discs, and if they are the source of your back discomfort, sit ups will only make your symptoms worse. Instead of sit ups or crunches, consider doing some planks.
  2. Running – Running is a very popular form of exercise, but it is also classified as a high-impact activity because of the shock your body absorbs with every step you take. You can try to land lightly on your feet and take some of this shock off of your spine, but oftentimes it’s best to just choose a different form of exercise. Swimming laps at the pool will help your spine avoid the high impact stress that it endures when you’re running.
  3. Biking – When done correctly, biking isn’t all that hard on your spine. However, if you don’t have the seat positioned correctly for your size, you have poor form or you like to bike off-road on some bumpier terrain, biking can take a significant toll on your spine. Talk to your doctor to see if biking is something you can safely pursue in spite of your spinal discomfort. If you’re set on biking but the position is hard on your back, consider a recumbent bicycle.
  4. Free Weights – You may think that the best way to strengthen your spine and overcome your back pain is to lift weights, but those heavy weights can overload an area that is already injured or weakened. Instead of lifting heavy weights, oftentimes it’s best to either lift lighter weights for more repetitions, or transition to other types of exercise, like resistance training. Trying to hit a new personal maximum while nursing a lingering back issue is a recipe for disaster.

If you can swap in some different exercises in lieu of these activities that can be a little harder on your back, you’ll be putting your spine in a better position to make a full recovery. For more information, or for help with a different type of spinal issue, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi’s office today at (651) 430-3800.

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