Is bending bad for your back?

If you have back pain, you’re likely to find that certain movements will increase your pain or aggravate your symptoms. If bending aggravates your symptoms, you may be worried that bending is bad for your back. You might want to look at activity modification to give your back a bit of a break from the movements and activities that irritate it.

Which movements are bad for your back?

Keep in mind that if you stop or avoid doing a movement or activity, your body will not be used to doing it anymore. This means that if you then happen to do this movement or activity after avoiding it, it is more likely to aggravate your symptoms again.

Think about how you can give yourself graded exposure to activities and movements that are uncomfortable, without over doing things.

For example, if bending aggravates your symptoms, maybe try the cat stretch to ease you into flexion in a gentle and controlled way, a few times each day. If that becomes easy, you could progress to some roll downs, which is when you curl down through your spine when you are standing.

rolldown is bending bad for your back
Roll down – flexion exercise for your back

On the flip side, if a movement or activity feels good & reduces your symptoms, then keep doing it! Give yourself that relief your body is after!

For example, if bending eases your back pain, try flexion based exercises. You could try roll downs, knee hugs, or some shell stretches. Or, if extending eases your back pain, try some cobras, or standing back bends. If extension helps, try to make sure you’re standing and walking regularly through the day as well.

is extending bad for your back
Cobra – a back extension exercise

Is exercise bad for your back?

In short, no, exercise is not bad for your back! In fact, there is a lot of research to say that exercise & keeping moving is very helpful in managing back pain.

As mentioned above, graded exposure to movement & activity will help you get back to exercise. Make sure you pace yourself as you return to the activities you love so that you do not aggravating your symptoms. For example, if you want to get back to running, you may want to start with walking. Then gradually start adding 30-60 seconds of gentle jogging in every 5 minutes. You could then gradually increase the amount you are jogging, and reduce the length of time you spend walking. Once you are comfortable with jogging, you could start gradually increasing your pace to a run.

Easy ways to get help with your back pain

If you’d like some help from me, you can email me here, or book a physio appointment with me here.  I also have my free Banish Your Back Pain Mini Course which takes you through gentle movements & exercises to help you manage your back pain.  You can sign up to my free course here!

If you found this helpful, you may also find my blog post on posture & back pain useful. You can take a read of it here.

Posted in Blog.