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people who have back pain naturally feel better by doing certain motions. Some
feel better sitting (their back and hips are flexed). Others feel better
standing (back and hips are extended). Exercise that moves you toward your more
comfortable position is usually more successful in treating your back
pain.1 For example, if you are more comfortable
sitting down, exercises that bend you forward—such as partial sit-ups
(curl-ups) and knee-to-chest exercises—may help you.
Talk to your
doctor before you start an exercise program, and only do exercises that do not increase your symptoms.
The most effective exercise programs for chronic low back pain are
designed specifically for you and are supervised.2 For
example, a physical therapist might teach you an exercise program that you can use at home. Then you would see the therapist every so often to check on your progress and
advance your program.
Ask your doctor or physical therapist whether there are
additional exercises that will work best for you.
Long A, et al. (2004). Does it matter which exercise?
Spine, 29(23): 2593–2602.
Hayden JA, et al. (2005). Systematic review:
Strategies for using exercise therapy to improve outcomes in chronic low back
pain. Annals of Internal Medicine, 142(9):
February 15, 2012
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
& Joan Rigg, PT, OCS - Physical Therapy
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