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Staying Active Through Back Pain

Back pain can make it hard to move around and may lead to inactivity if it is not properly addressed. It is important to resist the urge to sit or rest in bed for prolonged periods as this can worsen back pain.

Remaining active is an essential part of pain management, but care must be taken to move around safely in order to avoid re-injury.

A serious back injury, major back surgery, or experiencing occasional back pain can all disrupt your normal routine and lead you to become less active. If the pain starts to become unbearable, it may be tempting to take pain relievers and just rest in bed, but it is actually important to continue moving in a safe manner in order to promote healing.

Research suggests that staying active by engaging in careful, guided movement is an optimal way to improve back pain. However, researchers also recommend working with health professionals (e.g., Physical Therapists) who can show you how to move the right way, so that you feel safe, strong, and confident even when experiencing pain.

As society continues to work from home more or work under more stressful conditions during the Coronavirus pandemic, back pain is surfacing in many of us.

According to scientific studies, regular movement helps prevent stiffness and shortens the recovery period.

Daily activities often need to be modified while the pain is acute, and this is where assistance from a health professional becomes important. Physical Therapy is a vital part of the pain management plan for individuals with back pain as Physical Therapists provide education and guide movement or exercise that supports the resumption of normal activity.

The regimen often includes recommendations such as modified exercises that reduce the strain on the back while increasing the strength and responsiveness of muscles in the back, buttocks, and core.

Beneficial exercises include swimming, yoga, and using a stationary bike or elliptical trainer. Swimming is a low-impact exercise that supports circulation, enhances muscle strength and flexibility, and takes the pressure off of the back. Yoga provides mindful precise movement with breath control, which helps improve stability while easing back pain. Stationary bikes or elliptical trainers also help increase blood flow, reduce muscle spasm, and build muscle. 

These low-impact machines reduce stress on the back. These are only general guidelines. The appropriate type of exercise will be dependent on each person and the specific type of back problem that is involved. Overall, it is important to avoid being sedentary as this increases the risk of long-term issues.

If a current or previous back injury is stopping you from enjoying your daily activities, running errands, or working at your full potential, you may benefit greatly from Physical Therapy. This form of therapy involves a thorough examination of how you move, how your tissues feel, and how you live your life. Movement, exercise, and both posture and pain education will be integrated into your sessions so you feel strong, confident, and resilient as you go about your day.  

A Physical Therapist usually guides the sessions to ensure that:

  • Each movement is performed safely
  • Progress is being made
  • Healing is occurring
  • The individual can perform the exercises properly at home 

The Physical Therapists at ISSA PHYSICAL THERAPY & WELLNESS tailor their services to each individual by examining all the factors contributing to your back pain. After the consultation, our Physical Therapists will design a therapeutic plan that helps ease pain, improves range of motion, and shortens the recovery period.

Remaining active with back pain doesn’t have to cause additional discomfort and the Physical Therapists at ISSA PHYSICAL THERAPY & WELLNESS can help you regain pain-free days. Don’t let this pain linger without support. Many clinics offer Telehealth phone or video appointments to help you manage your pain, get moving within the social distancing restrictions, and assess your home office set up!


1. Clark S, Horton R. Low back pain: a major global challenge. Lancet. 2018;391(10137):2302. 

2. Buchbinder R, van Tulder M, et al. Low back pain: A call for action. The Lancet. 2018;391(10137):P2384-2388.

3. Foster NE, Anema JR, et al. Prevention and treatment of low back pain: evidence, challenges, and promising directions. Lancet. 2018;391(10137):2368-2383.

4. Hartvigsen J, Hancock MJ, et al. What low back pain is and why we need to pay attention. Lancet. 2018;391(10137):2356-2367

Check out Dr. Tamer Issa's book, Freedom From Neck & Back Pain- Learn to Live an Active Life Without Fear of Pain