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.

Symptoms that may accompany back pain include:

  • rashes
  • swelling
  • tingling

Your symptoms may be so severe that you don’t feel like moving. But with your doctor’s consent, you may find that exercise can be one of the best ways to relieve arthritis back pain.

When arthritis pain strikes, you’re more likely to rest your achy, stiff joints. But 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, it also can alleviate joint pain.

Good posture places less pressure on joints, so it decreases wear and tear.

When it comes to good posture, say to yourself, “Imagine the crown of your head being raised up towards the ceiling to naturally lift your spine.”

Roll your shoulder blades up, back, and down a few times. And then relax them with your arms at your sides.

Back muscles help protect your spine. It’s important to work these muscles through light strength training exercises to help keep them strong.

Simple side stretches with light weights target your back muscles without putting too much strain on stiff joints.

Standing in place, hold one weight at a time as you reach from your waist down the side of your body. Stretch as far as you can without pain. Then slowly raise the weight back up.

Perform this exercise 10 times on each side.

You can also perform this exercise without weights.

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.

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

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

  • Wear comfortable walking shoes.
  • Walk lightly on your feet without pounding the ground.
  • Avoid pavement and other hard surfaces, if possible.
  • Practice good posture and stand tall while walking.

Alternative exercises like yoga are known to build strength and flexibility. But 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.

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

If you’re at a loss for where to work out, look no further than your own house. Chores can turn into opportunities for arthritis exercises.

The key is to engage your core muscles. Keep your back straight and gently contract your abdominal muscles to get the most out of your movements.

Bend with your legs and not with your back while tightening your stomach to protect your back muscles.

You can practice this technique during a variety of chores, including:

  • doing laundry
  • washing dishes
  • vacuuming

Arthritis can make fitness seem like a challenge, causing many people 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. Aim for a few minutes a day and increase the duration as you get stronger.

Never give up on an exercise routine. Your back and overall health depend on it.