For those who suffer from a lower back condition, your doctor may recommend exercise as part of your treatment. The goal of back strengthening exercises is to condition the muscles to better support the spine and withstand stress, leading to pain relief. However, what if exercise exacerbates your lower back pain. With conditions like a lumbar herniated disc or spinal stenosis, should you work through the pain?
Soreness vs. Lower Back Pain
There is a difference between being sore and experiencing pain due to a lower back condition. Minor soreness is a natural result of exercise and it is especially prominent for those who are new to exercising. Soreness is characterized by a dull, aching feeling. Your back muscles can also feel tender or rigid. However, soreness should subside within 24 to 72 hours. On the contrary, pain is your body’s way of telling you that you are doing something wrong. This is typically moderate to severe and interferes with your day-to-day functioning. If you have to adjust your daily schedule due to lower back pain after exercise, your pain may be due to a lower back condition.
Should You Exercise Through Lower Back Pain?
If a particular exercise is increasing your lower back pain, it is best to not work through the pain. Pain is your body’s way of telling you you are doing something wrong. You could be performing the particular exercise wrong. The exercise could also not be designed for your lower back condition or you could have another injury or condition that you did not know of. If you are experiencing pain, stop right away. Schedule an appointment with your doctor for a consultation to review your symptoms and exercise program.
When it comes to lower back pain and exercise, the goal is to work around, not through the pain. If you back pain is made worse by running, substitute this activity for a low-impact aerobic exercise, like riding an exercise bike. Swimming is especially good for those who struggle with pain as it relieves the stress and strain on your lower back. No matter the pain, your doctor can help you find alternatives for whatever exercise if troubling you.