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Exercises to Avoid with Back Pain

By Sara Butler

Chiropractors will tell you that exercise is a great way to prevent back pain or treat existing back pain. But there are some exercises that are a definite no-no if you suffer from existing back problems. Some exercises simply put too much stress and strain on your back, which can create even bigger problems if you have a history of back pain. Here are some exercises the chiropractors at The Joint recommend you avoid, along with exercises you should do instead.

The Superman

You may or may not be familiar with Superman back extensions, but if you have back problems, then this exercise can create issues. This exercise is done with you lying face down while you lift your arms and legs off the ground. Research has shown that during this exercise, a lot of stress and strain is placed on the joint in the lower back.

Instead of doing this, try the bird-dog exercise! For this exercise, get in a tabletop yoga pose with you on your hands and knees. While in this position, lift one leg and extend it behind you as you simultaneously extend and raise the opposite arm to be level with your shoulder. This engages your core muscles and offers you the same type of workout without the pressure on your lower back.


Sit-ups are familiar to nearly everyone, but they are no longer the go-to exercise that they once were. That’s because even though they do strengthen the muscles in the abdomen, sit-ups also put a lot of pressure on your spine, which can spell disaster if you have a spinal condition.

Instead of sit-ups or crunches, you should try planks. These are performed by putting your hands flat on the floor as you balance your lower body on your toes, creating a straight line from your feet to your head. This can work your abdominals but take the pressure off your back.

If you have questions about exercises that are safe with your existing back conditions, don’t hesitate to discuss it with your chiropractor at The Joint. They can recommend exercises that are safe for you to do based on your specific case and warn you about things that may make any existing pain or discomfort worse. Don't begin a new fitness routine until you've seen your chiropractor!

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Columbia, S.C.

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