Reaching, twisting, walking, and driving are everyday activities that require upper and lower back strength. An aching back can easily affect daily activities, generate frustration, anger, and affect all-around health. The more back muscle strength an individual has, the more they can accomplish far more without injury. Immense power is not required to protect the body from a back injury. All that is needed is regular, consistent physical activity and exercise. A balance of body strength is vital for preventing injury. However, overdoing one fitness exercise or physical activity can imbalance musculature, leading to injury. Because the back/spine is the central part of the body, complete and proper care is necessary for optimal health and wellness. For individuals experiencing sore, aching, and tired muscles, here are some exercises that will help in the process.
Alternating extensions help build strength and coordination in the core areas. The back muscles increase their efficiency by creating muscle memory that supports the work shared by all the torso muscles. Upper and lower back muscles must work together to maintain a healthy balance and not overwork each other, causing strain and fatigue.
These can help build back muscles and strengthen the arms, legs, and the front torso area. Plank holds are a recommended starting point. Plank holds can be done on the elbows, palms of the hands, or closed fist hands. The key is to keep the shoulders, hips, and ankles straight like a wood plank parallel to the floor.
Hip raises help to strengthen the lower back muscles to unite and support the lower half of the body. Training the body to work cooperatively is critical for reducing the aching and pain from muscle imbalance.
Lateral raises or side lateral raises help strengthen and tone the shoulder muscles and the upper back muscles.
This helps circulate blood throughout the body, helping to reduce muscle soreness. A few gentle and aerobic activities can include:
While the back is healing, go at a gentle even pace for any activity. Jerking and quickly stopping can be hard on joints and discs. When injured, the other muscles try to compensate to avoid causing a flare-up that could worsen the injury and/or create a new injury.
Strength-building exercises are great for preventing injury and avoiding re-injury. However, avoid overreaching or overstretching with any of the activities. Continuous aching or painful back muscles could indicate something else is occurring that could be:
Alfuth, M, and D Cornely. “Chronischer lumbaler Rückenschmerz : Vergleich zwischen Mobilisationstraining und Training der rumpfstabilisierenden Muskulatur” [Chronic low back pain : Comparison of mobilization and core stability exercises]. Der Orthopade vol. 45,7 (2016): 579-90. doi:10.1007/s00132-016-3233-1
Kim, Beomryong, and Jongeun Yim. “Core Stability and Hip Exercises Improve Physical Function and Activity in Patients with Non-Specific Low Back Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” The Tohoku journal of experimental medicine vol. 251,3 (2020): 193-206. doi:10.1620/tjem.251.193
Smith, Benjamin E et al. “An update of stabilization exercises for low back pain: a systematic review with meta-analysis.” BMC musculoskeletal disorders vol. 15 416. 9 Dec. 2014, doi:10.1186/1471-2474-15-416
Suh, Jee Hyun et al. “The effect of lumbar stabilization and walking exercises on chronic low back pain: A randomized controlled trial.” Medicine vol. 98,26 (2019): e16173. doi:10.1097/MD.0000000000016173
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