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Monday, September 7, 2015

My Aching Back

By  Dr. Jon Thomas D.C PSc.D, Board Certified Chiropractic Physician.

Back pain is very common. Most people experience it at some point in their lives. Pain in the lower back is the most frequent cause of disability on the job. Fortunately, stretching and exercise can play a big part in finding relief and setting the stage to prevent future occurrences. In fact recent research indicates that stretching can reduce the likeliness of injury by 3 times! If you suffer from lower back pain, regular exercise can improve your flexibility and strengthen your back.
Courtesy of Wikimedai.
If you have a serious problem with your back, one of the first things you should do is to schedule an examination by a trained chiropractor. One sign of a spine-related problem is pain that radiates from the back down into the leg. There may even be a tingling “pins and needles” sensation. If you’re having those symptoms, you should definitely talk to a doctor before undertaking an exercise regimen.
After your doctor has diagnosed your problem and given you the green light to exercise, he or she can suggest specific exercises for your particular condition. Exercise can be very effective for relieving lower back pain due to muscle strain or spasms. If your pain is due to a problem in the spine, you should be very careful that the exercises don’t cause further damage.
Keep the following in mind when starting a stretching routine as part of a program of back exercises:
  • Wear comfortable clothes that won't bind.
  • Stretching should not cause pain.
  • Move into stretches slowly.
  • Avoid bouncing and over-stretching as that could damage muscles.
  • Stretch on a clean, flat surface that is large enough to move freely.
  • Hold stretches long enough to loosen your muscles and joints.
An episode of back pain is no fun. On the positive side, it can be a reminder of the importance of taking care of your body. Taking care of your body takes time and effort. Reducing pain can provide you with the motivation to start exercising and also to stick with it.
Excellent guidelines for stretching exercises are available from the following websites.
Mayo Clinic has a slideshow titled Back exercises in 15 minutes a day.
WebMD has a slideshow titled Low Back Pain: Exercises to Reduce Pain.
Prevention Magazine has an article on 4 Exercises To End Back Pain.
There are lots of other free resources available as well as books and DVDs to provide guidance on exercises to reduce back pain. There are even videos on YouTube that demonstrate how to do exercises to help your back. The key is to get started and find out what works best for you.
In addition to stretching, there are other forms of exercise that can be very beneficial to anyone who suffers from back pain.


Courtesy of  Wikimedia
In a Spine-health article titled Exercise Walking for Better Back Health, chiropractors Ted Forcum and Thomas Hyde write, “Aerobic exercise has long been shown to reduce the incidence of low back pain. However, people with low back pain often find some forms of exercise too painful to continue, and therefore don't get the exercise they need to maintain good health. Exercise walking is one way to benefit from regular exercise while not aggravating the structures in the lower back.”
According to Dr. Forcum and Dr. Hyde, the benefits of exercise walking include:
  • Strengthening of muscles in the feet, legs, hips, and torso. Walking increases the stability of the spine and conditions the muscles that keep the body in the upright position.
  • Nourishing of the spinal structures. Walking for exercise facilitates strong circulation, pumping nutrients into soft tissues and draining toxins.
  • Improvements in flexibility and posture. Walking along with regular stretching allows greater range of motion and helps to prevent awkward movements.


Courtesy of Wikimedia
Swimming can be very effective for keeping muscles and joints supple and strong.
In a Back Pain Expert article titled Swimming for Back Pain, Dr. Jo Johnson writes, “Swimming is a non-impact activity, meaning that the weightless environment of the water coupled with the suspension in water takes the pressure off joint allowing them and the associated structures to relax. When these structures become relaxed any compression on the nerves is reduced. Swimming helps prevent and heal muscular sprains and strains and can help lower chronic pain conditions. It does not exert high amounts of pressure on the back.”


Courtesy of Wikimedia
Many people find relief for their back pain by practicing Yoga. In an article for Everyday Health titled 7 Best Yoga Poses to Soothe Back Pain, Annie Hauser writes, “Multiple studies have shown the power of Yoga, which emphasizes stretching, strength, and flexibility, to relieve back soreness. While yoga isn't a good idea if you have severe pain, those with occasional soreness or chronic aches may greatly benefit from certain postures that can help lengthen your spine, stretch and strengthen your muscles, and return your back to its proper alignment.”

Exercise Ball

Weak stabilizing muscles in the back can be one cause of back pain. Exercising on an exercise ball can help. An exercise ball is an unstable surface. When you sit or exercise on an exercise ball, your stabilizing muscles go to work to prevent you from falling off. Using an exercise ball can be very beneficial in activating and strengthening your stabilizing muscles. More information about the benefits of an exercise ball can be found in the following article.  
People who exercise regularly tend to have fewer recurrences of back pain than people who do not exercise regularly. Daily stretching and strengthening exercises can help to prevent flare-ups of back pain due to muscle strains and sprains.
In this article, I’ve discussed how stretching exercises can reduce back pain. I’ve also discussed how walking and swimming can help people to recover from flare-ups of back pain. In addition, I’ve written about practicing Yoga and working out on exercise balls to improve flexibility and strength in the back.   
At Vibrant Life, we address all of the key elements to add vibrance and vitality to your life. If you’d like to learn more about the NutriMost program, please call to set up a consultation. If you know of someone else who might benefit from the NutriMost program, please pass this article along to that person. If you have a comment about this article, please leave it in the comments section of this blog.
Dr. Jon Thomas is a Board Certified Chiropractic Physician, his interest in health started at an early age resulting from an athletic life, including BMX racing, Professional Snow Skiing, Water Skiing, Baseball, Weight Lifting, and Martial Arts. After learning from top health experts in the world, Dr. Thomas’s life is dedicated to reaching people of all ages to begin their life transformation. The goal is to start the body healing resulting in a body that is functioning at its optimal.  In addition to serving his community in his Mandarin Based Practice, Dr. Thomas is seen regularly on TV’s First Coast Living talking about his patient’s transformations, speaking at events throughout the community, and writing articles to re-shape the health of the Jacksonville Community. 


  1. Having suffered through chronic back pain I can wholeheartedly recommend chiropractic treatment not only to stop the pain, but to keep it from recurring.

  2. I've had episodes of sciatica that practically crippled me. Twenty minutes of stretching in the morning and a walk around the block at night make a big difference in back health for me.

  3. Interesting read!!! I've found that exercising in the pool has really helped with muscle strains and pains! Since it doesn't cause too must exertion on the body, its not super strenuous!

  4. I have been dealing with back pain for over 25 years and these are the things I do to keep that pain in check. Without these exercises I would be in constant pain. Dr. Jon is right on the money with this article.

  5. I think almost everyone I know (including myself) deals with back pain. Thanks for the helpful suggestions.

  6. If you have chronic lower back pain you can also try water aerobics, tai chi and pilates. Staying active is so important in keeping pain at bay.

    Check out an article on it if you're interested: