Activities to Avoid When Back Pain Flares Up



After a long, cold winter, spring is finally here. With flowers blooming in the warm sunshine, birds singing under the beautiful blue sky, you couldn’t wait to get out of the house and to resume your outdoor activities. But before you head out the door, make sure you are aware of the activities you should avoid if back pain is your loyal companion. Why? because certain activities can increase damage, delay healing, and make your back pain worse. 

If you have back pain, avoid sports and physical activities that involves

  • Collision. If you have back pain, especially back pain caused by a back injury, sports that involves collision (eg, football and basketball) can easily induce more injury and worsen your back pain.
  • Twisting. Like collision, twisting can also induce muscle or ligament injury and aggravate back pain. So if you have back pain, try to avoid sports that involve hefty body twisting, such as golf.
  • Heavy lifting. Weight-lifting puts extra stress on your spine and enhances back pain. If your back muscles are not strong enough in begin with, heavy lifting can also easily strain your muscles and ligaments.
  • Hyperextension and/or hyperflexion. Hyperextension (bending backward) and hyperflexion (bending forward) can cause damage by pulling the joints out of its normal range. So if you already have back pain, try to avoid sports and activities that involve repeat hyperextension and hyperflexion (eg, gymnastics, ballet dancing, and breaststroke swimming). And if you have never tried these types of activities before, don’t start now.

Instead, try gentle actives like walking, swimming, or water aerobics. These activities can help strengthen your muscles, reduce your back pain, and make you feel better overall. When you are ready to start these activities again after the long winter, try to start slow and be gentle. If nothing hurts and you feel great, you may gradually increase the intensity, but don’t overdo it. And always remember to use proper body mechanics.

Spring time is fun time, spring time is play time, and you deserve to enjoy your beloved outdoor activities. But if you have a history of back pain, especially if it’s caused by a back injury, make sure you talk to your doctor before you start to play a sport or an exercise program. While certain activities can help reduce back pain, others may worsen your back pain. And remember, each person’s condition is different, so activities work for your friends and family may not work for you.

Happy Spring!