How long you should pause before resuming your exercise routine depends on the cause and severity of your back pain.
How to determine what's causing your back pain
If you're new to exercising and you're just starting to experience back pain, it may be due to dull aches and tenderness from muscle soreness. Exercise-induced muscle soreness should go away within 24-72 hours.
However, if the pain does not go away after 72 hours and is severe enough to interfere with your daily functioning, it is most likely due to a medical condition or other cause, such as poor posture.
If you notice an exercise causing back pain, stop immediately. Reasons may include:
- spine problems
What are other causes of back pain?
If muscle soreness isn't the cause of your back pain, other potential causes may include:
Muscle or ligament strain. Overuse of the same muscles or sudden twitches can lead to strained muscles or ligaments.
A herniated or ruptured disc. The intervertebral disc acts as a shock-absorbing pad between the two vertebrae. When they swell or rupture, they can compress adjacent nerves.
arthritis. Degenerative changes in the joints of the spine can lead to spondyloarthritis.
Osteoporosis. Brittleness and thinning of bones can lead to spinal fractures.
When should you call your doctor about back pain?
Steps you can take to relieve pain or soreness after exercise include rest and cold compresses. You can buy frozen gel at home or make your own ice packs and apply them to sore muscles for 15-20 minutes about 3-4 times a day. In most cases, exercise-induced back pain resolves on its own with few self-care measures.
However, if you have back pain, talk to your doctor:
- lasts more than a few weeks
- Does not subside with rest
- Extend one or both legs down
- Weakness, numbness, or tingling in one or both legs
- with unexplained weight loss or fever
Precautions to take if you have back pain after exercising
If you experience back pain after exercising, poor posture may be to blame. Here are some tips for maintaining proper posture and posture:
stand upright. Don't be listless or fall. Try to keep your back straight or in a neutral position.
Sit up straight. If you must sit for long periods of time, make sure you are in a chair with good arms. Your knees and hips should be in line. If your chair doesn't have a back, you can use a pillow to support your back from behind.
Lift with your legs. Avoid heavy lifting as much as possible. If you do need to lift a heavy weight, keep your back straight and only bend your knees, keep the weight close to your body and let your legs do the work.
Warm up and stretch. Be sure to warm up before any exercise that involves using your back muscles.
Change shoes. Avoid high heels and other uncomfortable shoes, as they can affect your posture and cause back pain.
Exercises to avoid if you have back pain
There are certain movements or exercises you should avoid to prevent them from causing or aggravating your back pain:
Standing toe contact: Standing toe contact puts a lot of pressure on the discs and ligaments of the spine. They can overstretch the lower back muscles and aggravate back pain.
Crunches: Crunches strengthen your core muscles, but they put pressure on the discs in your spine.
Lift weights on your shoulders: Doing weight-training exercises that involve lifting weights on your shoulders or overhead can put stress on your spine and can trigger back pain.
Normal crunches: Try partial crunches, which help strengthen the back muscles without worsening the pain. Partial crunches keep your lower back and tailbone on the floor, putting less pressure on your spine.
High-intensity movements: If you have back pain, avoid high-intensity movements such as jumping. Switch to low-impact changes that are easier on your back.