Q:

How can exercises make lower back pain worse?

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Quick Answer

Certain exercises put undue stress on the spine and back muscles, causing additional aggravation and pain instead of relieving pain symptoms. Exercises that people dealing with back pain should avoid include high-impact aerobics, leg lifts, forward bends, sit-ups and overhead weight lifting.

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Full Answer

High-impact aerobic exercises involves fast stepping or bouncing on a hard surface, which negatively impacts the spine. Running and jumping must also be avoided. Low-impact aerobic exercises are safer and don't put much pressure on the back. Instead of jumping, dancing or running, individuals can switch to distance walking or swimming. Leg lifts require lying on one's back, which may seem benign, but the act of raising and lowering the leg can lead to back muscle strain.

Reverse curl-ups are the preferred low-impact leg exercise for back pain sufferers. While lying flat on the floor, arms are extended outwards, and knees are bent at a 90-degree angle and slowly brought in towards the chest. Leaning over to touch the toes during a forward bend places too much stress on spinal discs and ligaments. A great alternative is to do hamstring stretches with the aid of a towel, which is used to gently pull the leg upwards.

Sit-ups are a popular core exercise for tightening abdominal muscles; however, possible injury to the back is avoided by switching to pelvic tilts.

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