The Best Exercises for Arthritis Back Pain

The Best Exercises for Arthritis Back Pain

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  • The Best Exercises for Arthritis Back Pain

    The Best Exercises for Arthritis Back Pain

    Arthritis can feel like a real pain in the back. In fact, the back is the most common source of pain among all individuals. Unlike acute, or short-term back pain, arthritis can mean long-term (chronic) discomfort.

    Rashes, swelling, and tingling may accompany back pain. Your symptoms may be so severe that you don’t feel like moving. With your doctor’s consent, you may find that exercise may be one of the best ways to relieve arthritis back pain.

    But before you attempt to run a marathon, learn about the best exercises for your condition.

  • Work Your Posture

    Work Your Posture

    When arthritis pain strikes, you’re more likely to rest your achy, stiff joints. Just because you’re resting doesn’t mean you can’t actively improve your back pain at the same time. Whenever you sit or stand, make sure you exercise good posture. This not only helps align your spine properly, but it also can alleviate joint pain.

    Furthermore, good posture can place less pressure on joints, thereby decreasing wear-and-tear. Engage your core, sit up straight and roll your shoulders back. You can even imagine the crown of your head being raised up towards the ceiling to naturally lift your spine.

  • Side Stretches

    Side Stretches

    Back muscles help protect your spine—even if you have arthritis. It’s important to work these muscles through light strength-training exercises to help keep them strong. Simple side stretches with light dumbbells target your back muscles without putting too much strain on stiff joints.

    Standing in place, hold one weight at a time and reach from your waist down the side of your body as far as you can. Slowly raise the weight back up and switch sides. You can perform this exercise with or without weights.

  • “W” Stretches

    “W” Stretches

    A “W” stretch is an easy arthritis-friendly exercise. First, place your arms to your sides with elbows in and palms facing out. Your elbows should make a “W” towards your waist. Then move the elbows gently back until you feel your shoulder blades squeezing together.

    The Arthritis Foundation recommends holding this position for three counts before releasing and repeating. Remember to maintain good posture so you get the most out of this stretch.

  • Walk Off Back Pain

    Walk Off Back Pain

    Despite all the fancy workouts available, walking remains a tried-and-true form of exercise. Not only is it low-impact for achy joints, but it provides cardiovascular benefits.

    When considering back pain from arthritis, follow some simple rules to get the most out of your walk:

    • wear walking shoes (other types of footwear put pressure on the back)
    • try orthotics for extra support
    • walk lightly on your feet without pounding the ground
    • avoid pavement and other hard surfaces if possible
    • practice good posture and engage your core muscles
  • Tai Chi Instead of Yoga

    Tai Chi Instead of Yoga

    Alternative exercises like yoga are known to build strength and flexibility. However, tai chi may be a better bet for alleviating pain from back arthritis. Tai chi originated as a fighting technique, but has transformed into gentle, continuously moving stretches. Many poses work from the waist, which enhances spinal stretching.

    Furthermore, unlike yoga, tai chi puts little stress on the joints. If you’re new to tai chi, consider signing up for a class. The exercises can also be modified for severe arthritis back pain.

  • Transform Chores into a Workout

    Transform Chores into a Workout

    If you’re at a loss for where to work out, look no further than your own house. Chores can be boring, but they can turn into opportunities for arthritis exercises. The key is to engage your core muscles to get the most out of your movements.

    Bend with your legs and not with your back, sucking your stomach in to protect your back muscles. This concept can be practiced during a variety of chores, including laundry, dishes, and vacuuming.

  • Fitness for a Healthy Back

    Fitness for a Healthy Back

    Arthritis can make fitness seem like a challenge, causing many patients to give up on exercising and ultimately gain weight. But excess weight puts even more pressure on already painful joints. Getting fit can help you lose extra weight while strengthening muscles to protect and relieve your achy back.

    The key is to start out slow, aiming for a few minutes a day and increasing the duration as you get stronger. Never give up on an exercise routine—your back and overall health depend on it.