I empathize with you if you have back pain!
My family has a history of back pain too.
Currently, my father experiences chronic back pain. It’s a bigger problem than he knows, because it prevents him from exercising, and he has a family history of heart disease. Meaning exercise is essential for him!
I have overcome chronic lower back pain. It started after a horse riding accident and plagued me throughout my teenage years.
My brother was born with spondylolisthesis. At one stage, his back pain was so bad he needed a walking stick. Eventually, he was diagnosed with a par's fracture after falling ten feet whilst on deployment as an infantry soldier.
Both Rad and I eventually overcame our chronic back pain through regular exercise. It’s largely why we lift weights now, and the reason we both became personal trainers almost 20 years ago.
Back to my father's story.
He is now experiencing a decline in his health. So he desperately needs to exercise!
However, like my dad, there are millions of back pain sufferers who think that exercise makes their injury worse.
The notion that exercise can cause one's back pain often comes from a previous unpleasant experience. Maybe you tried to exercise, only to find it triggered your pain, leaving you feeling worse and less confident.
Trust me, I’ve been there.
Believe it or not, when I was in my first year as a personal trainer, I used to think I couldn’t squat or deadlift because it would hurt my back.
Here’s the thing with back pain and exercise.
No one argues that exercise is essential for your health.
Exercise is also the most effective cure for back pain. It’s more effective than drugs or surgery.
If you do nothing, your back pain will usually get worse as you age.
So the problem is not that you can’t exercise. It’s how you get from your current weakened and unconfident state to one of confidence and strength.
And it’s not a one size fits all process. It’s important to understand that an exercise prescription is a gradual process. And the steps are distinct for everybody.
What drastically changed my state was learning how to exercise in a gentle, progressive nature that was right for my body and lifestyle.
Believe it or not, it was squatting and deadlift that eventually fixed my back pain. Now they are two of my favorite exercises. Without doing them regularly, my back pain returns.
If you’d like to learn more about exercise for back pain, we did two great podcast episodes on this topic this week. You can watch episode one here, and episode two here. Enjoy!
I’ll leave you with this great quote from the boys at ADPT Physio …
“It’s not the exercise that hurt you, it’s how you got there!”
If your back pain is preventing you from exercising, you really should get help. Exercise is extremely important for your health and longevity!
Especially if you have a family history of heart disease or diabetes.