Back pain can keep you from doing your normal daily tasks, but studies show that weight training can relieve back pain and improve the function of your back. Read more about this, below.
When you’re experiencing back pain, your impulse may be to keep your back immobile so you don’t trigger further pain. This seems like it would be especially true of adding resistance to your workout in the form of weight machines, free weights, or resistance bands.
But some studies have shown that most types of weight training not only are safe for those with chronic back pain, they can help relieve pain and improve function.
Studies show weight training is safe and effective
Just stretching your back may seem risky, let alone adding weight or resistance to the equation. But a large review of over 100 studies examined the safety of exercise for those with arthritis, osteoporosis, and low back pain. The review found that even patients with acute low back pain can safely do physical activity that doesn’t trigger pain, and resistance training was fine for people with low back pain.
As for strength training’s effectiveness in treating back pain, a few small studies have shown that it leads to significant results. One study found that a 16-week program of free-weight based exercise resulted in a significant improvement of pain, disability, and quality of life for participants with low back pain.2 Another study with an 8-week weight training program and a follow-up period of 2 years found that between 50 to 80% of participants reported a decrease in perceived pain intensity and disability for both short- and long-term follow-up.