Should You Do Exercises
For Back Pain?

Exercising has long been used to try to fix back problems.

Rather than seek professional advice many people with back pain attempt self-treatment by doing exercises to help strengthen the back. As well, many doctors prescribe certain exercises for patients with back pain.

The "thinking" in these instances is as follows...

The muscles are weak for some reason and so the spine is unstable. In this unstable, weakened condition, the spine is easily moved out of place thus causing the pain. By strengthening the muscles in the back, it is thought the spine will then be stronger and stabilize and that this will fix the problem with the back.

Unfortunately, it is not this simple and the "thinking" about how the muscles affect the back/spine cannot be true because sometimes doing the exercises hurts. If the "thinking" were true, it would always work.

No Exercise Necessary

The good news is that you do not need to exercise your back. Occasionally exercise can help you compensate in a way that will hurt you less but, it is still compensating for the problem, not fixing it.

SO THE TRUTH IS that even if you have less pain the exercises will not help correct what is wrong with your back. That is why you see people on whom it does work stuck exercising forever; just to keep their back from hurting.

And... sometimes, the exercises may make things worse even when they relieve pain. This is why some of those people who exercised and got relief at the beginning still ended up in my office or worse, in surgery.

The muscles are involved but NOT in the way we used to think they were.

What happens is that somehow you knock a bone out of place in a direction your body cannot self-correct. This happens because bones can be moved out of place where the body has no muscles pulling in the opposite direction – the direction needed to pull the bone back into its proper position.

Your body tries the best it can to take the stress off the bone it cannot self-correct so it does not get injured further. It does this by compensating (twisting and tilting with muscle pull) other areas of the body until the weight is off the one or ones it cannot self-correct.

Where you hurt, your muscles have you contorted in order to remove this pressure from the injuries. Sometimes you can last quite long before this hurts. That is why some people do not hurt much but have trouble moving.

YES... this includes those with "arthritis". Here is the page on the new-chiropractic-solutions website dedicated to this explanation.

Let's take low back pain as an example.

What we know is that unless you just had an impact injury to that area, then it hurts because the body is compensating (by muscle pull) for somewhere else. This compensation shifts the weight to that area. That is why it hurts though you have not injured it or had an impact there.

If you strengthen the muscles in your back by exercising them, you are helping this area's ability to compensate. This might actually feel better for a while since the muscles are then stronger and can compensate better but the overall effect is to hold the compensation in harder. This makes the actual correction of the problem more difficult.

In other words... you can be making the whole situation worse while thinking you are doing some good.

The other thought is that if you exercise the injured area then it will help to pull the misplaced bones back into place and fix things.

This doesn't work either.

The reason that these injuries need the body to compensate somewhere else (and cause pain there) is that there are no muscles that pull in the right directions to correct the bones that are out of place.

If there were then the body would self-correct and not cause your body to compensate and have pain elsewhere.

As a matter of fact this is what happens in most cases.

It is why sometimes you think you are going to hurt but after you move a bit, the pain goes away immediately. (Note that word "immediately". If it takes a while for the pain to go away, you are locking in a compensation, whether you exercise or not.)

Therefore, it does not really do any good to exercise these injured areas. There are no muscles pulling in the direction(s) needed to pull the bones back into proper alignment.

Exercise is NOT the Answer

Many people want to know what they can do to help themselves get better.

The best things you can do are to stand, sit, and sleep properly. These three things, done correctly, will help your stability, and done incorrectly will worsen it.

If you have questions about how any of these are done correctly then talk to your Advanced BioStructural Correction™ doctor and refer to back issues of this e-zine.




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Jerry Porter, D.C.