Abstinence from the kind of activity that caused you pain in the first place is a necessary first step in treating pain symptoms. But in some cases of mild pain, it pays to return to normal physical activity when you can without enduring severe pain. The reason is simple: strained muscles, while painful, can restore themselves quicker when they are conditioned.
It has been shown that in general, physically fit people tend to heal faster from mild sprains and other kinds of musculoskeletal injuries. This is especially true when it comes to avoiding back injury. A strong and healthy back is much better equipped to handle the stresses and strains of modern life.
A good form of exercise helps your body stay flexible and strengthens the muscles of your low back, abdomen, pelvis, and thighs.
In addition, mild forms of aerobic and strength exercises may help you on the road to recovery, once you can safely get back on your feet. If exercise is too painful, try a brisk walk or swim.
Forms of aerobic exercise such as swimming, fast walking, or cycling (including stationary) are recommended because they work your body’s large muscle groups. Of course, any form of aerobic exercise that raises your heart rate for at least 30 minutes, three times a week, is beneficial. Caution: Do not undertake any form of physical exercise if you are feeling pain unless your doctor advises.
Avoid exercises such as weight lifting or climbing as a remedy for pain or a form of rehabilitation after an injury. These kinds of activities generally do more harm than good to a strained muscle.
Robin McKenzie, a New Zealand physical therapist, endorsed the repeated flexing or extension of the lower back as a way to treat a wide variety of back, or more specifically, spine, problems. McKenzie based his notion on the fact that a healthy spine was one that stayed mobile and flexible. Many health care professionals involved in spine health believe the “McKenzie Method,” as it has come to be known, can be an effective self-treatment plan for lower back pain.
Another form of therapy is called Pilates, an exercise program named after Joseph Pilates, who developed the resistance-training regimen in the early-20th century to rehabilitate soldiers injured during the World War I. He incorporated springs into machines that later became the foundation of the famous Pilates equipment used today.
Pilates centers on rehabilitating and strengthening key muscles involved in posture. At the heart of the Pilates program is the belief that keeping the spine in its natural, or neutral, position can help mitigate and even prevent back pain.