Why You Shouldn’t Baby Your Back
Category: Spinal Cord Injury | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: November 27, 2018
When it comes to your health, many people think that it’s best to give your body all the rest it needs after an injury. Rest is very important, but you may be surprised to learn just how little rest your back actually needs before it would benefit more from strength training and exercise. There’s no standard amount of rest for back injuries, but you may actually slowing down your recovery if you baby your back after an injury.
Your body craves activity, as it helps to provide a number of different functions, from burning calories to toning and strengthening muscle groups. Activity is also helpful after an injury, for a number of reasons.
Why Exercise Is Good After A Spine Injury
Now, we’re not saying you should try to run a marathon the day after fracturing your spine, but your best course of action for most spine injuries isn’t just to lay in bed all day. Your best bet is to listen to your doctor’s specific instructions regarding activity, but you also need to listen to your body.
For example, although it may feel good to lay in bed all day if movement only causes mild or even moderate discomfort, it’s a sign that you may benefit from some low- or mid-intensity exercises. If activity transitions from uncomfortable to painful, stop what you’re doing and find a less intense exercise, but if the discomfort is manageable, activity is probably your best bet.
Activity is best for some back injuries for a number of reasons. For starters, movement helps to increase blood flow to the area, and this blood brings with it nutrients and oxygen that aids in the healing process. Even light stretching or walking greatly helps to improve blood flow, so find an activity that is tolerable for your injury. Exercise is also beneficial because it helps to strengthen key muscle groups that should help to prevent recurrence. When your muscles are strong and working properly, you’re less likely to suffer strain and sprain injuries.
Another reason why activity is preferred to sedentary treatment options is because it helps to reduce inflammation throughout our body. Inflammation can lead to nerve or spinal cord compression, which could be causing your discomfort. Exercise and healthy blood flow help to combat the onset of this inflammation.
Finally, exercise helps to ensure you make a full recovery after a spinal injury. Rest can help you get back to 80-90% health, but it’s your commitment to exercise or activity that is going to get you back to a pre-injury level of fitness, or it can actually leave you stronger than you were before the injury. This can help you in all walks of life, from everyday activities to sporting competitions and everything in between.
As we mentioned above, your best bet is to listen to the personalized advice of your spine doctor, and too much activity before enough healing has taken place can lead to its own set of problems, but when performed correctly, activity will do much more for your spine than inactivity after an injury. To learn how to best manage your treatment schedule for a back injury, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi’s office today.