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What Is The Best Exercise To Do If You Have Back Pain – By A Wellington Chiropractor





I just want to be clear Wellington and say that the long term key to curing most stubborn cases of lower back pain is doing the right exercises.. and NOT the chiropractor ! I am clearing this up now to make sure there is no misunderstanding later on in this blog regarding the right exercises for back pain and the role of chiropractors.




Standard issue low back pain is physically caused by one of 3 things


  1. lack of support to some body part
  2. lack or stability (strength) in some body part.
  3. excessive tension in some body part


What this essentially means is that when you get stubborn low back pain it is being caused by some underlying mechanical issue that needs addressing. All pains are in some way the bodies way of telling you that it is not getting something that it needs.




So heres the thing.. if you need root canal there is no use thinking you are going to floss your way out of it. There is often also no point in thinking you can personally exercise your way out of a stubborn low back pain. This is where chiropractors and osteopaths come in, we provide the health care that paves the way for rehabilitation.

Sometimes it is the chiropractors job to break up scar tissue, sometimes it is our job just to release from muscle fascia and joints. In all cases though this designed  to move you towards a point where you are able to exercise and strengthen yourself again.




Basically I advise my chiropractic patients not to try and use exercises for ‘pain relief’ unless they know for sure that they have already figured out a reliable way of doing so. Instead you should plan to stay active. The research data shows very clearly that people who keep active through back pain get better long term outcomes than those who avoid pain and dont move. The research also shows that majority of people who try core exercises while they have back pain get worse as a result.. in my view this is because they aren’t ready for those exercises.

A great plan if you have back pain and want to exercise is to think in terms of ‘keeping mobile’ ‘promoting flow and movement’ and avoiding any exercises that involve strain… especially in the trunk. General forms of exercises are great like swimming cycling and walking and gentle stretching is all good too.




Okay so now we are getting down to nitty gritty. The text book scenario that we are on the final page of is one where we limit trunk strengthening and actively work on our pain; then once the pain is under control we start true blue core exercises. now that the tissues in the lower back are no longer acutely inflamed and the blood is flowing again we can start strength work .

The right core exercises is another long story all together. I can definitely tell you that sit-ups and planking are 1000% absolutely certainly definitely positively NOT for you if you have a history of back pain. Learning to isolate and strengthen the core is not something that can be done quickly or casually. To put this in perspective I usually do around 10-20 one on one coaching sessions with chronic back pain sufferers before they can consistently and consciously activate their core.




Whether you are a chiropractor person, and osteopath person or you prefer doctors and physios really makes no difference to your the reality of what your back needs.  Isolating and strengthening your core is the ultimate end game if you want a life free of back pain. Freedom is what this all really comes down to in my view; being pain free is about us having the ability to perform all the activities that we need in order to stay alive. Perhaps more importantly being pain free is about having the freedom not only to stand, sit and walk comfortably but to lead a life that feels good.