Arthritis of the back
How to deal with discomfort of the back.
The back is the most common source for pain among individuals. Many people have short term acute pain. Arthritis pain is long term chronic pain. One of the best ways to relieve the swelling, tingling and chronic discomfort is to do proper exercises and be conscious of your posture.
Good posture, whether sitting (at work or watching TV) or standing will help align your spine and relieve some of the joint pain. Make sure your back is straight and roll your shoulders back thus decreasing the amount of pressure on your joints.
“W” stretches are highly recommended by the Arthritis Foundation. Place your arms to your sides with the elbows in and palms facing out. Your elbows should make a “W” towards your waist. Move your elbows back until you feel your shoulder blades squeezing. Hold this for the count of three and repeat remembering to hold good posture.
Side stretches will develop back muscles that will help protect your spine. Simple side stretches with a light weight target the back muscles. Standing in place, hold one weight at time and reach from your waist down the side of your body as far as you can. Slowly raise the weight back up and then repeat with the other side. You can also perform this exercise without weights.
Many people find relief from Tai Chi. Tai Chi is very good for alleviating pain from back arthritis. It is a gentle continuously moving stretches from the waist and enhances spinal stretching.
Walking is truly the very best exercise! It is low impact for achy joints and it provides cardiovascular benefits. Below are a few simple suggestions to get the most from your walking.
- Wear walking shoes (other shoes may put pressure on your back).
- Walk lightly: do not pound on the ground.
- Practice good posture and engage the core muscles.
- Avoid pavement and hard surfaces if possible.
- Try joining a walking club that takes place on a gym floor.
Learn more about your condition. Ask your health provider about exercise and what is best for your condition. Many medical facilities have a patient portal on line where you may ask your provider questions and they will answer within 24 hours, without having an appointment.
Here are some resources to read:
- Exercise and Arthritis (2012, February), American College of Rheumatology
- Fast Facts about Back Pain (2009, September) National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease
- Household Chores to Build Functional Fitness. American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, February 1, 2014