Back pain and fun exercises for prevention
August 22, 2011 10:10 AM   Subscribe

Help me prevent long term low pack pain/sprains with activities more fun than typical stretching and exercise.

About every year or two I suffer from low pack pain. After the first and worst I saw a physical therapist for several months and found it very helpful. From this I am familiar with various stretches and exercises.

Apparently, according to my PT I have the shortest hamstrings he has ever seen. I know my posture at my desk is not so hot as well.

These exercises make a huge difference and are very helpful but I would like to find some long term solutions that are more interesting than what I currently have been doing to prevent a recurrence and strengthen the back down the road.

I was thinking of taking up rock climbing a few weeks ago before this latest strain. I don't think I should go near this until I have several weeks free from pain.

What other activities should I consider?
posted by 4Lnqvv to Health & Fitness (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Yoga can really help. You should ask friends or colleagues for studio recommendations -- you want a great studio with qualified teachers, not, for instance, the one-size fits all yoga class offered at a big box gym. Talk to the studio owner about your issue and let them recommend a class for you, and talk to the teacher before class starts, too. This can help you avoid triggering your trouble spots while strengthening the back as a whole, which can help you avoid future troubles. Yoga's great for the hamstrings, too.
posted by BlahLaLa at 10:21 AM on August 22, 2011 [2 favorites]

Everyone can do it - all shapes, sizes... I started training (with my 4yo son) back in march it's great. I was looking for fun ways to exercise besides doing pushups and situps and never turned back. I'm not sure where you are but there are free jams everywhere (our group is the 1st and 3rd Sat with Gym Sat's on the 2nd and 4th). I can't recommend it enough.

Also look into yoga. I've been doing yoga for the past month and with that and Parkour I've been feeling great. You do want to spend some time with actual instructors but there are tons of resources (here for instance) where you could take a test drive.

I went rock climbing for the first time yesterday and it was a hell of a workout. I'm sore (a good sore) in places I didn't know I had.

Let me know if you want Parkour resources, I've got tons of them.
posted by doorsfan at 10:32 AM on August 22, 2011

In terms of yoga (which absolutely helps my recurring low back pain), I recommend that you seek out a good Iyengar yoga studio. That particular form of yoga is extremely focused on safety and on using props to modify poses so that people with all kinds of limitations can get the most out of them. Communicate well with your teacher about what your specific issues are and what is hurting/not hurting during a class. Many yoga poses (particularly in the backbend realm) can make things much worse if done incorrectly, but can be pretty magically helpful if you're getting good guidance and doing them correctly.
posted by juliapangolin at 10:44 AM on August 22, 2011

I've found that working with an exercise ball helps me with my back problems (and I have a slew of them).
posted by patheral at 10:51 AM on August 22, 2011

Are you squatting? If not, you should be (though, obviously, not until you're feeling better). The squat is pretty much the best exercise there is, because it builds strength in your lower back and core as well as the largest muscles in the body. It'll help with your hamstrings and posture, too -- I also had problems with tight hams, and squatting three times a week made a huge difference within just a few months. Start off with just your bodyweight, and then an empty bar, and get someone knowledgeable to teach you proper form.

Once you feel comfortable with your form and you've built up some core strength, adding the deadlift will also help.
posted by vorfeed at 11:20 AM on August 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

p.s. IMHO the squat is tons of fun -- nothing else gets the blood pumping in quite the same way! Do it first thing, before all your other exercises, and I bet you'll see a difference in everything you do.
posted by vorfeed at 11:23 AM on August 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

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