The Dos And Don’ts Of Working Out With Lower Back Pain

The Dos And Don’ts Of Working Out With Lower Back Pain

Between managing the discomfort of lower back pain and simultaneously trying to heal, it can feel like there’s not much room for activity. When you’re experiencing pain, the last thing you want to do is risk any movement that could potentially make matters worse. 

Still, completely curbing back pain can be a long process. And, abandoning all activity and exercise that helps both your physical and mental health in the hopes of not making your pain worse can compound the issue. 

The good news is exercise and back pain doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive. In fact, with the right approach, exercise and working out won’t do any further harm to your back– and may even help your recovery process. 

If you’re eager to return to an active lifestyle but are struggling with lower back pain, this article is for you. Read on as we cover what kinds of workouts you should stay away from at all costs, as well as which ones are safe for those with ailing backs.

What Activities Are Bad For Back Pain?

While you may have more options for exercise than you realize, there are certainly some workouts that you need to stay away from. At the onset of pain, high-impact activities like sprinting, running long distances, jumping, and Crossfit are your enemy. The harder, more consistent impact from these activities puts more strain on your joints, muscles, and tendons, and thus can cause flare-ups in severity and pain in your lower back.

You should also be careful of postures that can be harmful to your back. For instance, though cycling is normally a great low-impact workout, the curve of your back from the bike seat to the handlebars can place too much strain on your lower back. As such, you may want to avoid this type of posture as it could cause a painful flare-up.

Workouts That Are Conducive To Healing 

Now that you know what to avoid, let’s talk about what activities you can do. Some workouts are naturally more gentle on your back, while others can actually aid in the healing process as well. That’s a win-win if we ever heard one! 

Of course, with any exercise, use pain for guidance. If you feel any sharp twinges, stop immediately. Or, if you feel compounded soreness following activity, you may want to reconsider the exercise, duration, or your intensity. 


Swimming is a popular workout for many because of its robust cardiovascular and therapeutic benefits. Another nice feature about swimming is you completely control your level of exertion and workout difficulty. Try challenging yourself by varying the number of strokes you use between breaths. You can also work in kickboards or pull buoys for a change of pace.  Whether you’re looking for a light flush or a blood-pumping session, swimming can deliver.

Aside from burning calories, swimming offers the untenable therapeutic qualities of water. Just being submerged can help to instantly decrease pressure on your spine, providing immediate relief. Many people also feel an increase in range of motion while in the water. The benefits of spending time in water while you have lower back pain are undeniable.

Aqua Jogging

Not too big on swimming, but enjoy being in the water? Try aqua jogging. This exercise is exactly as it sounds– it involves jogging in water. You can choose to either wear a buoyant belt while you jog in the deep end of a pool or kick-up the challenge a notch further without one. Whatever your method, this exercise involves moving your legs under water in a jogging motion. Set a time goal you want to reach, or try short, intense bursts of jogging followed by more subdued jogging for an interval-style workout.  Again, you’ll be reaping the therapeutic rewards just by submerging your body in water.  


If you have access to an elliptical, this is a great machine to get in low-impact, high-cardio work. Many fitness enthusiasts love ellipticals for their ability to get their heart rate up quickly without the damaging pounding on their body. 

You can vary the types of workouts that you do on this machine, as well. If you’re looking to get your glutes and thighs burning, increase the incline and resistance. Alternately, if you want a quicker calorie-burn, keep the incline controlled, the resistance moderate, and your cadence nice and snappy. And bring a towel— just watch the pool of sweat gather on the floor!

The Benefits Of Chiropractic Care For Back Pain

Chiropractic care is commonly associated with treating back pain. Oftentimes, individuals unknowingly have a misalignment of the spine that can cause a myriad of pain patterns, which chiropractic adjustments can help treat directly.

As you increase your activity level, the spinal adjustments performed by a chiropractor can help realign your body to keep your nervous and immune systems functioning properly while addressing any pre-existing injury to the area. These adjustments help to decrease inflammation, nerve irritation and restore proper function to your entire system. Additionally, your practitioner may suggest additional exercises you can do at home to alleviate your back pain while helping you achieve long-term relief.

Don’t let lower back pain keep you from living life.  Schedule an appointment online or call 256-721-9696. 

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for in-person advice or care from a medical professional.