Exercising with Back Pain

Exercising with back pain can be particularly difficult. You may not know where to start or if it’s even something you should be avoiding.

When is it not O.K to exercise when your back hurts?

There are a lot of different types of back pain and if you are unsure, you should always see a doctor and get this checked out to make sure you know what you’re dealing with. Nerve route pain or spinal disc pain may require you to get this checked out! If you have been diagnosed with a bulging disc where you receive intermittent pain, this may need to get looked at as a disc may be pressing up against a nerve. Spine flexion will make it worse. Stretching may cause temporary relief but will make it worse in the long term and the muscle tightens up to protect the inflamed area. Within 24h of possible impingement or sudden back pain. You should wait until the area has calmed down before returning to gentle exercise. If during exercise you feel sudden discomfort or pain you should stop before making the area worse.

The good news is more often than not, back pain can be and should be treated through exercise and correction.

When you exercise with back pain, be cautious. Make sure you are familiar with movements you can and cannot do. Generally speaking, limiting high-impact movements such as running and jumping will be a good idea as this will place greater strain on soft tissue and will likely cause spine compression between the discs. Low impact-controlled moves are recommended to strengthen the area and not cause further injury.

If your back muscles are aching or burning you struggle to rotate, bend or twist, can you exercise?

Lower back pain and tightness can often be traced back to hip mobility and glute-related issues. This may be a good place to start as compensation can often lead to pain or injury. The glutes can be a common area where people are weak, leading to surrounding muscles such as the lower back region becoming tight and

overused. Exercises to strengthen the glutes would be appropriate in this situation. If pain is more situated to the side, glute Medius (a key stabiliser of the hip) can often be the issue. Unilateral exercises such as balancing on one leg, lunges, and kickbacks can work this area effectively. Exercises that focus on back extension are encouraged for lower back pain. This will include a Reverse hyperextension either from a bench or the floor. This is often safer flexing the spine with a load of even rotation work as the lumbar spine is designed to be solid and limit rotation. Upper back pain may be more associated with tightness in which case rotation exercises should be included to release tension through the thoracic spine.

Is Fast Track Fitness programme a good option for those that are experiencing back pain?

Fast Track Fitness can offer personalised plans to keep you exercising safely without worrying about any pain. Through personal training, we will be able to look closely and identify the best plan for you going forward. This will involve which exercises to avoid, which exercises to emphasise and work on, and how to do them with correct technique. EMS (Electro Muscle Stimulation) will help target the weak muscles to strengthen and activate without adding additional load making it a fantastic option when it comes to back pain caused by posture-related issues or muscle spasms.

Do you do an initial assessment to work out how you can help each client?

Our Personal training and EMS sessions include a 45-minute consultation to find out your history as it relates to exercise, well-being and injury. We ask about your goals, limitations barriers, and motivators. With more information, we can then offer relevant advice and come up with a plan to help you make progress with your


What results have you seen with your clients that have suffered from back pain?

The most common response we get is how exercise has helped to manage their pain and reduce inflammation. All back pain is different but exercise is such an important part of the solution. Whether that’s rehab from surgery, improving mobility, or getting through a disc issue. Exercise and recovery will ensure you

can return to full strength. Our EMS programme has had huge amounts of success when dealing with back problems targeting weak, deep, and inactive muscles. Check our reviews here.

Or you can find out about our back pain treatment here.

Fast Track Fitness, 1 The Cresent, Twyford, Winchester SO21 1NL