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Back Pain and Exercise: The Dos and Don'ts of Working Out with Back Pain

Back Pain and Exercise

Back pain can be a debilitating condition that affects millions of people. While it may seem counterintuitive, exercise can actually help alleviate back pain in many cases. However, it's important to approach exercise carefully when dealing with back pain to avoid making the situation worse. In this article, we'll explore the dos and don'ts of working out with back pain.

DO: Start Slow and Gradually Increase Intensity

One of the most important things to keep in mind when exercising with back pain is to start slowly and gradually increase intensity. This can help you avoid further injury and prevent exacerbating your pain. Begin with low-impact exercises, such as walking or swimming, and gradually work your way up to more strenuous activities.

DO: Focus on Low-Impact Exercises

Low-impact exercises

Low-impact exercises, such as yoga, pilates, and cycling, are generally safe for people with back pain. These exercises help to stretch and strengthen the muscles in the back and can help alleviate pain over time. It's important to avoid high-impact activities, such as running or jumping, which can put additional strain on the back. 

DO: Stretch Before and After Exercise


Stretching is an important part of any exercise routine, but it's especially important when dealing with back pain. Stretching can help to loosen up tight muscles and improve flexibility, which can alleviate pain and prevent further injury. Make sure to stretch before and after each workout to avoid injury.

DON'T: Ignore Pain

If you experience pain during exercise, it's important to listen to your body and stop the activity immediately. Continuing to exercise through pain can cause further damage to the back and delay the healing process. Take a break and consult with a healthcare provider before resuming exercise.

DON'T: Lift Heavy Weights

Injury prevention

Lifting heavy weights can put a significant strain on the back and should be avoided when dealing with back pain. If weight lifting is part of your exercise routine, make sure to use proper form and technique to avoid further injury. Consider using lighter weights or resistance bands to minimize strain on the back.

DON'T: Overdo It

When exercising with back pain, it's important to avoid overdoing it. Exercising too vigorously or for too long can cause further injury and prolong the healing process. Listen to your body and take breaks as needed.


Exercising with back pain can be a challenge, but it's possible to do so safely and effectively by following these dos and don'ts. Starting slowly, focusing on low-impact exercises, stretching before and after exercise, and avoiding heavy lifting and overexertion are key to managing back pain while exercising. Remember to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new exercise routine, and stop exercising immediately if you experience pain. With time and patience, exercise can be an effective tool for alleviating back pain and improving overall health and wellness.

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