Exercise and Chronic Back Pain

chronic-painExercise plays a very beneficial role in chronic back pain. Repetition is the key to increasing flexibility, building endurance, and strengthening the specific muscles needed to support and neutralize the spine. Exercise should be considered as part of a broader program to return to normal home, work, and social activities. In this way, the positive benefits of exercise not only affect strength and flexibility but also alter and improve patients’ attitudes toward their disability and pain. Exercise may also be effective when combined with a psychological and motivational program, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy.

There are different types of back pain exercises. Stretching exercises work best for reducing pain, while strengthening exercises are best for improving function.

Exercises for back pain include:

  • Low Impact Aerobic Exercises. Low-impact aerobic exercises, such as swimming, bicycling, and walking can strengthen muscles in the abdomen and back without over-straining the back. Programs that use strengthening exercises while swimming may be a particularly beneficial approach for many patients with back pain. Medical research has shown that pregnant women who engaged in a water gymnastics program have less back pain and are able to continue working longer.
  • Spine Stabilization and Strength Training. Exercises called lumbar extension strength training are proving to be effective. Generally, these exercises attempt to strengthen the abdomen, improve lower back mobility, strength, and endurance, and enhance flexibility in the hip, the hamstring muscles, and the tendons at the back of the thigh.
  • Yoga, Tai Chi, Chi Kung. Practices originating in Asia that combine low-impact physical movements and meditation may be very helpful. They are designed to achieve a physical and mental balance and can be very helpful in preventing recurrences of low back pain.
  • Flexibility Exercises. Flexibility exercises may help reduce pain. A stretching program may work best when combined with strengthening exercises.

Start Your Day Off Right!

By now, you’ve probably heard that breakfast is the MOST important meal of the day!

If you haven’t, well, I have news for you: IT IS!

Besides breakfast teeming with vitamins, minerals, good fats, high fiber, and healthy fats, breakfast should be part of any weight loss, body slimming, or diet plan.

Why?

Over the years, research has shown that skipping breakfast not only tanks your energy levels, but it may also lead to weight gain and poor appetite control.

So, the first step to losing weight, maintaining weight, or preventing weight gain would be to eat a healthy, well-balanced breakfast.

And if you can get that first step down, every day, then you will be well on your way to a tighter, slimmer you!

But what’s the BEST breakfast to have…

High Protein Breakfast and Appetite Control

So, you were told you need to eat breakfast more often in order to prevent weight gain.

You stumble downstairs and start opening up the refrigerator and cupboards, trying your best to find something healthy, yet satisfying to eat for breakfast.

You see the oatmeal…

You grab some jelly and bread for toast

You snatch up some fresh fruit from the drawers…

But wait is there something else that you’re missing?

The protein!

Studies suggest that higher-protein breakfasts may not only fill you up, but may leave you satisfied for longer periods of time.

Why?

The simple process of digesting protein may send a signal to your brain, therefore boosting the release of satiety hormones.

This simple trick – adding more protein to your breakfast (or any meal) – may lead to better appetite control, satisfaction after your meal, and better control during evening eating or snacking times.

And there is research to back it up!

A team of researchers from the University of Missouri’s Department of Nutrition and Exercise and Physiology discovered that a breakfast HIGH in protein delivered more results than a normal protein, or skipping breakfast.

Here’s what they found:

– The simple act of eating breakfast reduced daily hunger between meals compared to skipping breakfast.

– The high-protein breakfast resulted in greater daily fullness, compared to both normal protein and skipping breakfast.

– High protein breakfasts increased peptide YY concentrations and reduced ghrelin levels (ghrelin is a hormone released by your body that stimulates hunger and, on the other hand, peptide YY is produced by your gut and has been shown to reduce appetite).

– Both protein breakfasts reduced brain activity associated with hunger drive and preoccupations with foods and feeding.

– And this reduced brain activity resulted in less evening snacking and better overall meal satisfaction.

What did they conclude?

“These data suggest that the addition of breakfast, particularly one rich in protein, might be a useful strategy to improve satiety, reduce food motivation and reward, and improve diet quality in overweight or obese teenage girls.”

Having a healthy breakfast, one that contains protein, healthy fats, simple carbohydrates, and a good portion of complex carbohydrates, may help you lose weight and reduce hunger throughout the day.

An example of a healthy breakfast could be as follows (everyone is different):

  • eggs
  • half an avocado
  • one serving of sprouted grain bread
  • one cup of blueberries

As you can see from this breakfast above, it contains adequate protein, healthy fats, fiber, and simple carbs.

And this could make a perfect appetite-suppressing meal, one that boosts the RIGHT hormones for satisfaction, therefore leading to less hunger during the day and less snacking at night!