(CNN) — All too often, after unsuccessfully searching for a magic answer to eliminate chronic back pain, people decide that living with it is a normal part of life. But living with back pain is not normal, nor is it necessary.
This article will allow you to create your own personalized long-term strategy for maintaining back health and living an active, pain-free lifestyle.
Back pain is a highly personal experience, with different causes and equally different treatment options, but studies show that exercise is the most effective means of achieving lasting relief. It is also important to establish a connection between mind and body and use the power of the breath not only to calm the pain response, but also to restore proper alignment of the chest, pelvis and spine to relieve pressure on the back.
The body needs movement to heal itself. Here’s how to make a long-term, exercise-based plan to keep back pain at bay.
Important note: As with any exercise program, consult your doctor before starting.
Believe in yourself
In previous articles and videos in this series, I’ve shared over a dozen exercise options, and I encourage you to try them all, listening carefully to your body to determine which ones have helped you achieve relief and begin to regain your strength and fitness. . Mobility.
To create your long-term back care strategy, you’ll need to continue to trust and develop your instincts. Don’t be afraid to trust your mind-body connection to guide you in choosing the right exercises to incorporate into your daily routine and to address specific needs, as your back sometimes sends you signals that it needs extra attention or slightly different approaches.
These signals can be as loud as a temporary return of sciatica symptoms, or as mild as the whisper of a back muscle that feels a little out of place. Since you’ve already invested time and energy in learning how your body responds to different exercises and techniques, you’ll just have to go back to what worked before in any case.
You need to feel able to be proactive and confident in your own care.
exercise every day
There is no passive approach to keeping your back healthy. Since your body is designed to move, daily exercise will be your most effective preventative medicine. In fact, in addition to keeping you away from pain, just 11 minutes of moderate exercise a day can help you live longer, according to research.
There are many ways to get those 11 minutes or more of daily exercise. Since we’re focusing on your back health, you should pick three of the exercises from previous articles in the series that have helped you find relief and incorporate them into your daily routine.
Because of the role your breathing pattern plays in maintaining posture and alignment, I highly recommend that you include the Breathing Bridge exercise as one of your three.
Your three back care exercises should only take a few minutes, so you’ll need to incorporate other daily exercises to help you reach this minimum threshold. Consider this 10-minute bodyweight workout routine, or if you’re new to exercise, my “Reboot Your Workout” series might help.
Practice mindful walking
Whether as daily exercise or as a supplement to it, I recommend at least eight to ten minutes of mindful walking each day. As you take each step, be aware of the timing of your movements and your ability to breathe well as you walk.
Walking is an alternating and reciprocal pattern, which simply means that while one side of the body is doing one thing, the other side is doing the opposite to create a full range of motion. This includes the upper and lower half of your body and includes all the supporting spinal muscles. Correct foot position and heel strike allow impact to be absorbed and body weight to be shifted with balance and control. Arm swing is essential to a functional walking pattern as it creates a healthy movement of the chest in coordination with each step, providing the necessary abdominal, hip and core strength that helps prevent lower back strain.
Walking may have been painful in the past, but it’s likely that the muscles that contributed to your back pain are to blame. By carefully training your gait to be a symphony in motion, you can start and maintain healthy movement to prevent future pain.
hold yourself accountable
Living pain-free doesn’t mean limiting your activities or numbing your pain with medication. It’s important to keep moving proactively. Pay attention to when you’ve been sitting for an hour or more and proactively get up, stretch, and move around to counteract the effects of sitting on your back muscles and posture.
Once you find the right daily exercises to stay away from pain and start experiencing consistent benefits, you’ll find yourself more and more motivated to exercise. This is because your body is designed to reward you for giving it what it needs to be healthy and strong. Exercise affects our physiology by increasing the production of feel-good hormones and reducing our stress response. And like anything that feels good and produces positive results, you’ll want to do more.