Returning to Exercise After Back Injury
Slow and Steady Wins The Race. The Total Therapy Chiropractors offer some advice on returning to exercise after a back injury.
No active person likes being told not to exercise, but you need to respect your body and give it the right environment in which to heal, post injury. There is universal agreement that athletes should be pain free, completely neurologically intact, and have full strength and range of motion before returning to play after back injury(1).
Whether you are an Olympian or a biweekly gym-goer, the above should be applied to your return to exercise and should not be overlooked.
So how do we ensure that the above is achieved?
- Strengthen what is weak, particularly your core. Consider strengthening your core as a whole; meaning you get your lower back, pelvis hips and abdomen working in harmony to create better stability. Everyone should do this anyway, let alone if you’ve suffered with a back injury. Remember, if you don’t use it, you lose it.
- Be true to your pain. Pain is your brain’s way of keeping you out of harm and it’s there for a reason. If it’s still painful you are either doing too much too soon or doing it incorrectly. Be patient, there is so much magic in rest!
- Get checked by your chiropractor to ensure you are neurologically in tact.
- Stretch at least twice a day to increase mobility.
Once the above statement is achieved, here are some other pieces of advice that you should consider:
- Start with 10 minutes of exercise, and then build it up gradually. Your body needs to get used to the demand again.
- Don’t run before you can walk, Walking is a massively undervalued form of exercise which can help you return to high impact activity such as running.
- Stretch thoroughly before and after your workout. Hold each position for 30 seconds to improve the muscle’s viscoelasticity, preparing you for the activity ahead and then again when returning to rest
- If you are used to doing weights, start far lighter than you are used to and increase gradually.
- Avoid any axial load on the spine, ie. Using a bar across the shoulders or above your head. Adequate leg days can be achieved using free-weights such as kettle bells and dumbbells
If you have any further queries regarding the above, you should have a chat with your Chiropractor. They are trained to give you specific advice and back injury exercises specifically for your problem.