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Tips to manage Back Osteoarthritis

One of the best ways to avoid back pain is to have a strong, healthy back - and while that can be a bit of a challenge, there are many ways to help support your back. One simple way to give your back a hand is through regular exercise, which not only strengthens the muscles that protect your spine, but helps support the spine as well.

Though it may be hard to go for a walk or swimming to help with back pain, the right kind of exercises strengthen muscles, reduce back pain and increase overall flexibility.
 

What kind of exercise?

Not all exercises are right for the back - heavy weight lifting or running a marathon are definitely inappropriate. Instead, you might want to try one of these three suitable types, that fit in with a holistic approach to back care.

  • Aerobic activities: While they build muscle strength and endurance, they also help to improve your overall fitness! Make sure you choose exercises that won’t damage your back - like swimming or walking. 
  • Strengthening ‘core’ muscles: Pilates and yoga (alongside certain other types of exercise) help to strengthen the body’s core muscles around the stomach, hip, back and leg. Overall, these kind of muscles protect the spine.
  • Stretching exercises: there are plenty of stretching exercises you could try to improve your back’s flexibility. In general, try to stretch slowly and deliberately - don’t make any sudden movements, and don’t push the body further than it can comfortably go.

How do I tell when I’ve had enough exercise?

Initially, it can be a bit difficult to get into exercising - especially if you’ve started to experience back pain already. It’s probably best to start with a few gentle aerobic exercises for flexibility, before putting your back under strain or pressure. If pain starts to get in your way, medical guidelines worldwide recommend paracetamol as a first line treatment for back pain.1

As you work, you will be able to add some core strengthening and back stretching exercises to your regime - but remember, always take care not to overextend yourself. You might find you can only hold a stretch for a couple of seconds at first, and only do a small amount of repetitions. As you start feeling more comfortable, you can start with longer stretches, and more repetitions.

Remember: don’t rush. It can take time to get back on track, and management plans can take a while to put in place.

For more tips on managing your Osteoarthritis, please sign up to our Information Programme.

 

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