Back Pain and Your Cardio Routine

When I was still suffering from back pain as a result of working at a desk all day, I felt I couldn’t engage in any exercise without further injuring my back. As I’m used to a healthy lifestyle with plenty of exercise, this was hard on me - until I saw a chiropractor, and he gave me excellent advice about how to continue with cardio-based exercise while he worked on healing my aching back.  

If you’re suffering from back pain and being treated by a chiropractor, you may be wondering how to continue your cardio exercise while your back is recovering. Most health care professionals recommend at least 20 to 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise three to five times per week to improve your endurance and help you lose weight. Fortunately, there are ways you can continue to work out without putting too much stress on your back.

A stationary recumbent bike (an exercise bike with a seat back) is a safe form of cardio because your lower back is pressed against the seat at all times. Walking is also very gentle on the back, especially if your avoid walking on hard concrete or uneven terrain. An elliptical trainer is also a good option for cardio exercise while you’re dealing with back pain. Finally, walking in a shallow pool can provide weightless conditioning, minimizing the stress on your back. Just make sure to avoid swimming and water aerobics, which may cause too much rotation of the spine. 

Before doing any cardio exercise, proper stretching is essential. You should warm up your muscles before stretching by walking or using an elliptical trainer for ten to fifteen minutes. As you stretch, slowly increase the stretch as you feel your muscles relax. Stretch slowly and gently only until you feel mild tension, not until you feel pain. Don’t hold your breath. Breathe in deeply before each stretch and breathe out during the stretch. If you feel any severe pain anywhere in your body, stop the stretch immediately.

I used a combination of walking, the recumbent stationery bike and the elliptical trainer when I returned to cardio while I was being treated for back pain, and I never caused any further injury or felt discomfort. Instead, I felt happy that I could continue to stay fit and healthy while my chiropractor worked on the root causes of my back pain - and within a few weeks of sessions with the chiropractor, I was free to do any kind of exercise I wanted.