Osteochondrosis and back pains

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Results of other polls concerning a back pains
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Physical activity and back pain: results of a survey

What type of physical activity helps you to reduce or remove back pain


We offered readers to answer the question: "What type of physical activity helps you to reduce or remove back pain?" There are 3693 people who participated the vote and here is the result.

The majority of respondents admitted that swimming is the best way to get rid of the back pain, – this option was chosen by 732 people, which is 22% of the total number of respondents. 564 people said that physical activity only makes it worse, this group of respondents is 17% of the voters. 8% of respondents said that there is no way to seize the pain with physical activity at all. But there is no need to be skeptical of metered loads as a way to ease the pain, as only 25 percent of respondents said, physical activity doesn't work for them, and the other 75% managed to choose an acceptable type of activity.

14% of respondents – 463 – voted for hiking and walking. 9% of respondents practice yoga and 8% prefer heavy physical activity like fitness or working at the gym. Fitness is only slightly inferior to the regular exercise – 7% of the responses chose this type of activity, but here at physical therapy, recommended by a doctor or obtained from Internet, books, rely 6 and 5% respectively. And another 5% chose the option "any mild exertion".

Based on the experience of our readers, the rank of the physical activity types due to their therapeutic effectiveness, is following (from most reliable to the less reliable):

  1. swimming (22%).
  2. hiking and walking (14%).
  3. yoga (9%).
  4. gym workout (8%)
  5. regular exercises (7%).
  6. physical therapy, recommended by a doctor (6%).
  7. physical therapy, obtained from Internet or books (5%).
  8. any mild exertion (5%).

Can we consider this list a guide to action? There's no obvious answer.

If you have a sedentary lifestyle and have no contraindications to these types of activity, and the physician recommends increasing physical activity, you can try each variant, starting with swimming and walking, to understand which option suits you personally.

There is no universal recipe. What works for 22% of people may just aggravate the problem for 17% of back pain sufferers. How to understand if you are in this 17%?


Swimming: when it helps and when it's not

No wonder swimming was the first in the list of activities, useful for the back. It causes minimal stress on the spine and joints.

When a human body relaxes and lies down on the water the gravitational load on the back reduces, the intervertebral discs get a break, as the ridge no longer have to hold the weight of the body, the water does it instead.

It also seizes the pain caused by nerve root compression: vertebras completely or partially move to normal position, the intervertebral spacing increases, nerve fibers release.

When you swim, the spine is not loaded, the back muscles, chest and lower back muscles strengthen. It helps to improve the muscle tone of the paravertebral muscles and form the healthy muscular system, which helps to correct the posture. So swimming is recommended to those who suffer from scoliosis and osteochondrosis.

You've probably noticed that range of motion increases in the water. It happens when the joints are relieved from pressure and move freely.

Swimming is an excellent way to correct the posture of school children who often suffer from curvature of the spine and don't like perceive physiotherapy much.

But children attend swimming lessons with enthusiasm, and swimming not only helps to correct posture in the present, but at the same time to avoid back problems in the future.

If swimming is so useful, why not recommend it to all adults, mourning for back pain?


If you suffer from osteochondrosis and don't want swimming lessons to harm your spine, and just be useful, please follow the guidance:

  • Swim in enclosed bodies of water only – even mild stream line will require extra physical effort, which will have a negative impact on the vertebrae. Also if the water is not warm enough the muscles won't relax which lead to the aggravation of inflammation.
  • The optimum swimming style would be breaststroke, and for those who have problems in the cervical area swimming on the back will work better.
  • Do not rush to increase speed and load, swimming must not make you tired. Do the pauses and just lie down on the water and relax.
  • Just keep breathing, avoid tangled breath. Breathe slow and deep.
  • Do a little workout before swimming to stimulate blood flow and warm up the muscles.

    Swimming is contraindicated and will only aggravate the pain instead of alleviate if:

  • you have an osteoarthritis in the acute phase with severe pain. Physical load is contraindicated if you suffer a sharp pain.
  • you have severe cardiac and respiratory failure.
  • you have a propensity to seizures.
  • you are an epileptic.
  • you have skin diseases.
  • you have colds and flu – at an elevated temperature and the presence of inflammation in the body, physical activity, among other things, harm the heart.

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    Hiking, walking and other moderate load


    Hiking and walking are one of the most natural types of activity. It harmoniously strengthen the muscles not only of legs and thighs, but also back and press.

    Walking stimulates the blood circulation, allows tissues to receive more nutrients, strengthens blood vessels.

    Walking improves intestinal motility, helps to cope with stress and to forget about insomnia.

    However, not any type of walk is good and useful. The walk had a therapeutic effect, but you need to walk correctly:

  • Walk regularly. Optimum schedule of walks is every other day, but you can take some distance every day. Pause between walks should not exceed 2-3 days.
  • Move at a comfortable pace. You must go quickly, vigorously, but so that the breath is not lost, you didn't sweat and never tired, the rate of walking must be chosen individually.
  • Watch for posture while walking: the back should be straighten, shoulders and arms relaxed, the belly is slightly tucked up.
  • Do not carry heavy weights while walking, but if you are walking home after work, for example, carry a backpack with a rigid back instead of a bag.
  • You must only walk in comfortable shoes, women should forego high heels for walking.
  • Avoid strain.
  • Do not walk with a runny nose, cough or other cold symptoms.

    Long walks are good for you if you have an osteochondrosis and intervertebral disk disease, walking helps to boost immunity, make you more resistant to stress and normalizes metabolism.

    Still walking and moderate exercise have some contraindications:

  • Acute and chronic diseases in the acute stage.
  • Acute back pain.
  • Vascular diseases of the brain and spinal cord.
  • Lesions of the bone and cartilage of the lower limbs.
  • Phlebeurysm in combination with overweight.


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    Yoga, regular exercises and fitness

    Yoga is the combination of physical and spiritual practices with more than a thousand years of history. It should not be confused with religious teachings.

    There is lot of varieties of yoga, but the eightfold system is considered classical:

  • Yamas is the first step, assuming adherence to the principles of nonviolence, truthfulness, abstinence and no greed.
  • Niyamas is the second stage of yoga, requiring modesty, self-discipline, inner and outer purity.
  • Asana is a number of physical practices that strengthen the body and spirit.
  • Pranayama implies control of vital energy through breathing practices.

    4 more stages are Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi which are only about the spiritual and moral aspects of life.

    Outside India, however, when people talk about yoga, they mean Asana or Hatha yoga, the fourth stage of the spiritual path. The Europeans safely ignore the first 2 steps and do yoga as gymnastics or fitness, without going into the spiritual aspects.

    As a form of physical activity Hatha yoga has its own specifics.

    Yoga is not the same as stretching. Asanas can be stretching, twisting, strength training, compressing and so on.

    However, stretching does matter a lot, so if you are contraindicated stretching – you are contraindicated Hatha yoga as well, not to mention the fact that yoga has an extensive number of specific contraindications:


  • Acute and chronic diseases in the acute stage.
  • Acute back pain.
  • High blood pressure, hypertension in stage 2 and 3.
  • Increased intracranial pressure.
  • The first six months after myocardial infarction or stroke.
  • Valvular heart disease
  • Atrial fibrillation.
  • Traumatic brain injury.
  • Traumatic lesions of the spine.
  • Osteoarthritis.
  • Damaged meniscus.
  • Intervertebral hernia.
  • Joint and spine hypermobility syndrome.
  • Radicular syndromes.
  • Infectious diseases of the joints.
  • Cold, flu, fever.

    If you have intervertebral hernia or suspicion of such, you should refuse practicing yoga. Is it better to give preference to regular exercising instead of overseas physical practices? Let us first clarify what does the phrase "regular exercising" mean? Is it squats, exercises with dumbbells or bending forward and to the sides?

    Regular exercising consists of strength exercises and stretching.

    If you have an unhealthy spine, it's not necessarily to completely refuse the strength exercises, but do them with caution. These exercises must be completed by stretching, and if you have contraindications to yoga – with a high probability you have contraindications to stretching.


    The same can be said about fitness and gym workout – the list of contraindications to yoga applies equally to heavy loads. If you are a professional athlete or a competent amateur who have studied the basics, remember: stretching is a required element of training.

    Strength exercises themselves, without stretching, increase the risk of sports injuries, but if you have intervertebral hernia or sharp, shooting back pain – radicular syndrome, physical activity is contraindicated.

    However, classes at the gym have their specificity: the training program should be adjusted depending on the condition of the spine.

    For example, if you have lumbar hyperlordosis – squats with the weights cannot be set.

    At the same time, this curvature can be corrected by the appropriate press exercises.

    So to cause your spine no harm by the sports training, consult with physicians and experienced instructors. Don't forget to adjust the training program, and if there are contraindications you better stop the training for a while.



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    Physical therapy or physiotherapy got only 11% on the results of the poll, as a way to get rid of the pain.

    In the survey we divided the exercise therapy prescribed by a doctor, and physical therapy obtained from the Internet and special literature. How come the system of exercises aimed at health improvement, is not the most effective way to relieve back pain?

    From other types of physical activity therapeutic physical training or gymnastics is different by the fact that the recovery is its only and exclusive aim. It's not a sport, not yoga and not stretching after fitness, so when you perform physical therapy, the principle of "more, bigger, better" doesn't work – you don't have to feel pain and to overwork in the process.

    Therapeutic exercise has the same list of contraindications, as other types of activity: it cannot be practice in the acute phase of the disease, when you have a high temperature, in the presence of inflammation, infectious diseases and so on. For the exercise therapy to be effective, the patient needs to follow the rules:

    1. Regular practice. Most people do the exercises while they are watched by a specialist, but when the control is of – activities flows, they may even stop doing exercises. When at home, patient does exercises just for few days or a week, and, not feeling an instant of relief, stops. Buy the alternation of exercises and their dosage are highly important, the sequence and frequency are not chosen accidentally.
    2. Individuality. The course of exercise must be set to each person individually dew to his gender, age, physical abilities and diagnosis.
    3. A regular update. The most common mistake of those who diligently engaged in their health is the same program for a long time, while in physical therapy you need to make small adjustments.
    4. The cyclicity. The load must be alternated with periods of rest.
    5. Complexity. Physical therapy is not a panacea, it must be combined with massage, water treatments or other therapies.



    Low back pain



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