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Essential Home Exercise Equipment Guide for Those Suffering with Back Pain

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Because the origin of back pain can come from other areas of the body besides the back, it can take a while to identify your source of back pain. Before starting any exercise program – especially if you already have back pain – you should consult your healthcare professional to first try and identify your source of back pain and to also find out the type of exercises you can do that will not further damage your back, but instead help heal it.

Some pieces of equipment recommended may benefit you more than others. But all pieces listed below are good for strengthening the abdominal core and muscles supporting the spine. Let’s look at some of the pieces that are easy on the back but essential to building a home gym.

Elliptical Trainer

With their smooth elliptical pattern of movement, elliptical trainers are great at reducing joint or back pain because they do not jar the joints which can further cause more pain. Most have digital programs built into them where you can choose a “route” with varying resistance or choose as much or little resistance yourself.

Stationary Bike

One of the keys to relieving back pain is the position of the body. Generally, a slight forward bend is the most comfortable which is the position when riding this type of bike. It too is a no-impact type of exercise equipment with a rotating motion, but unlike an elliptical trainer goes in circles instead of an oval.

Resistance Exercise Machines

Resistance machines like Bowflex® are good because they don’t require you to actually pick up any weight like you would with free weights or other types of weight machines. Resistance comes from carbon fiber rods of varying diameters which impart resistance by bending them using a series of cables. The further they are bent, the more resistance, making them extremely manageable as far as how much pressure they put on your back. You control the stress on your back by the diameter of the rod and how much it is bent.

Yoga Mat

One effective form of exercise that is gentle on the back that doesn’t require any more equipment than a mat is Yoga. In the journal Pain, it reported people with chronic back pain saw a reduction in pain by 64% and 77% less disability caused by back pain after doing lyengar yoga for 16 weeks. Since there are many types of yoga, you may have to experiment until you find the right form that does your back the most good.

If you have the room, you may want to invest in these pieces of home gym equipment to help alleviate your back pain. They don’t take up much floor space and when used sensibly can help relieve back pain and strengthen the supporting structure of the back making it stronger and less prone to further damage.

Stretching Techniques That Can Help Alleviate Back Pain

Muscles, ligaments and tendons in the back, legs, buttocks and around the spine are meant to move through a range of motion to do their job of support. However, if any of these soft tissues are shortened through bad posture, or have been damaged and now have scar tissue, that range of motion can be limited and as a result pain can result.

The back is particularly susceptible due to its design and the amount of support it needs. Stretching exercises can initially help loosen it up thereby increasing the range of motion, along with keeping it lose. Before getting into some of the stretching techniques, be sure to check with your healthcare professional before starting any exercise program, including stretching.

Stretching Techniques

There are two type of stretching: static and dynamic. The stretching referenced here is static; a stretch is performed and held for a short period of time.

Back Flexion

Start by lying on your back. Now pull both knees to your chest while at the same time bending your head down and forward until you feel the stretch. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds before returning to the starting position.  Repeat 9 more times.

Back Extension

While lying flat on the floor face down, arms parallel to your sides, bring your arms forward and support your upper body with your elbows and forearms. Now gradually push your upper body up using your arms, until your body is supported by your hands. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds and slowly come down to the elbow position and then back to the starting position.  Repeat 9 more times.

Side Stretch

From the standing position with your arms at your side and feet shoulder-width apart, slowly start to bend left at the waist letting your left hand slide down your leg and your right arm coming up over your head. Hold for 10 seconds then slowly return to the starting position. Now bend to the right letting your right hand slide down and your left arm come up. Hold for 10 seconds before slowly returning back to the starting position; that is one repetition. Repeat for a total of 10 repetitions.

Pelvic Tilt

Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Exhale while at the same time pressing the small of your back down against the floor. Hold for 15 seconds before returning to the starting position. Repeat 9 more times.

Yoga is another good way to stretch not only the back but also the legs and arms, which can also be sources of back pain. It is a great way to not only keep your back limber and to minimize pain caused by tight soft tissue, but with meditation, also a great way to “stretch” the mind.

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