The Southeastern Spine Institute

In Charleston, spine health involves constantly learning new things. For example, you know that you can hurt your back if you lift a heavy box the wrong way, but did you know your emotions can affect your spine? It’s true. Stress exacerbates an already sore back, and psychological factors actually can cause your back pain.

Even if stress is causing your back pain, it’s still real. An emotional cause can be just as debilitating and harmful as a physical cause. To that end, your Charleston spine health specialists offer this set of seven practical exercises that can help reduce the amount of stress you’re undergoing and get you back into a life unaffected by back pain.

Cautionary Notes

Talk to your doctor before beginning any new exercise program, especially if you already are undergoing treatment for back pain. Ask how a new activity may affect your back. Once you have the go-ahead from your Charleston spine health doctor, try a few of these exercises to relieve your stress and ease your back pain:

  1. Breathe

Deep breathing exercises provide an extra boost of oxygen into your system, resulting in relaxation and stress relief. And you can do them anywhere, any time. Draw a deep breath through your nose, hold it for a few seconds and then release it through your mouth.

  1. Walk

Even following a Charleston spine health treatment, your doctors will encourage you to walk. Walking provides a wealth of healthy benefits, not the least of which is to relax you. Even a 10-minute walk causes endorphin release in your body. They’re the feel-good hormones.

  1. Muscle Relaxation

This is another stress-buster you can do anywhere with no one the wiser. Start with your toes and tighten them up, hold for a few seconds and release. Move up your body until you reach your face. When no one’s looking, squeeze your facial muscles and release. You may be laughing or smiling by the time you’re done.

  1. Yoga

Even the most traditional medical communities, like the Mayo Clinic, promote yoga as one of the most relaxing and invigorating forms of exercise. Exercises like the Eagle Pose that open up your shoulders and chest area are especially effective for reducing stress.

  1. Dance

The combination of uplifting music with movement creates a perfect setting for loosening up and alleviating stress. Join a dance class, hit a local dance club or just turn up the volume in your home or office and shake it to the rhythm. Concentrating on your moves also helps take your mind off the issues that may be stressing you out.

  1. Swim

Just diving into the deep end of the pool will immediately take your mind off your problems. Moving through the water, cutting the surface with your arm movements, gets those endorphins pumping. Swimming also is a low resistance, safe exercise if you have back pain.

  1. Stretch

While stretching may not get your heart rate up, it is movement designed to get rid of stress. Many people hold stress in their shoulders and necks, so try head turning stretches that allow that stress to relax. When your neck is loose, the effects lead down your spine and help to relax your entire back.

Workouts that increase your heart rate stimulate your brain cells, causing you to feel better. Any kind of movement releases healing hormones that send signals to your brain that everything is going to be all right. Use exercise as a preventive tool for your Charleston spine health and as an integral part of your treatment for nagging back pain caused by stress.