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Pathways through pain
Stretching and exercises for back pain

Take a pain questionnaire by the My Pain Feels Like initiative
 

Stretching and exercise for back pain with Susan Murphy, Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist PhD, University Hospital Waterford

Stretching and exercise

Current research recommends that maintaining regular exercise in your life is important when you suffer from persistent pain. At times, it may seem an effort to exercise, but exercise helps maintain your conditioning and strength improves your ability to cope with your pain.

It is common with persistent pain to stop exercising. A fear of making the pain worse can also result in doing less rather than more. However, this often makes the problem worse as avoidance of activity and movement can lead to loss of strength and mobility in your body, thereby further reducing your ability do things and increasing your pain levels. Lack of regular exercise in general makes your pain worse.

Activities such as walking, swimming, cycling, aqua aerobics, pilates, yoga are all suitable forms of exercise for people with persistent pain. Naturally when you have persistent pain, you may not be able to exercise at a level that you previously did and you may need to take things at a lower level and gradually pace up your activity levels.

Talk with your chartered physiotherapist about an exercise plan and obtain a personalised stretching and exercise programme that you can work on slowly and safely. This will help you build your confidence, muscle and joint strength and endurance.

Check out activities in your local area. Track your daily steps on your smartphone to see how you are achieving your walking goals.