What exercises should I be doing for my back?

If you’ve ever seen your GP or a physiotherapist with back trouble then you may have been given a printed sheet of low-back exercises to do. Invariably you’ll have tried them for a day or two and then given up, either because some cause pain or simply there’s just too many on the list.

The problem here is that there are many types and causes of back pain. Some exercises will help, others will hinder. A printed sheet of exercises suggests that there hasn’t been a specific diagnosis in the first place. For just about every type of back pain there are very few exercises that target it effectively, perhaps just one initially. Frequently in the early stage of back pain exercises should not be done at all.

A general rule I follow is that if an exercise is painful then stop doing it. For disc-related and nerve-related back pain the exercises are postural and positional. For joint-related back pain the exercises are about improving mobility. There can be a cross over with these (any other) types of back pain so advise on exercises is tailored and may change over time. A full spinal assessment will decide if and what exercises should be done, and for how long.

As for back strengthening exercises, these should really only be done when pain-free. They are something that I tend not to advocate anyway because a healthy spine, being used properly, may not need additional strengthening. The key here is ‘using your spine properly’, this itself can involve some training.

If you feel you need some advice with your spine, or indeed any other joint, then call in to book an assessment with your chiropractor.