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I Have Back Pain, Will I Ever Be Able To Do A Sit Up Again?




FEB 9, 2024

I was out with the family last week, and we were having a great time eating at a Mexican restaurant nearby. When we wrapped up dinner and I was on my way out someway or another I got to talking to a gentleman who was having nagging back pain that had plagued him for months. Not just that but it was so bad to where he couldn’t do any of the activities he loved.

For him, this was exercising. He was a true “gym rat” as he called it and loved to work in the gym easily up to four times a week. And I completely understood, in my mind some of the strongest medicines out there to relieve anxiety, and stress, and just improve quality of life. So, the fact that he couldn’t do his general exercise medicine was taking his life away.

So, I asked him what exercise gave him the biggest trouble, and he replied in almost 1 second “sit-ups!” He then asked me if he’d ever be able to do a sit-up again. After that question I not only told him that he would do a sit-up again, but I taught him how to do it pain-free. I’ll explain below exactly what I said.

To do a sit-up without pain it’s important to first keep your spine in a more neutral position. This means avoiding a big arch in the back. I told the fellow to focus on pushing his belly button to the ground to keep the spine closer to neutral. This is a simple way to make the sit-up less aggravating.

Another modification is to pin the lower back to the ground with the sit-up, and just rise with the upper torso to work the stomach muscles.  This too will produce less aggravation.

There have been some folks in the past with back pain that was so severe that I had to get them to focus on more “friendly” back exercises first while returning to their normal routine. These exercises keep the spine even closer to neutral. If the modifications above with the sit-ups don’t improve symptoms I would say try a plank exercise for a short time until returning to your sit-ups. This simply involves getting in a push-up position, tightening your stomach muscles, and just holding the position as long as possible. The reader may want to hold this for a few sets of 10-15 seconds and build up time slowly if their back pain is on the higher side.

The major thing folks need to know is that movement is medicine and getting back to your normal activities is important to a full recovery from back pain. Sometimes we just need a little bit of guidance to do this safely.

If anyone reading has an ache or pain that is robbing them of their favorite exercise routine or just their daily lives in general (sitting, standing, or even walking pain-free) feel free to shoot me a call at (804) 493-3256 to get a phone consultation. This is a completely free service I do for the community where I can hear more about your case and give out some more information to help folks get back to their lives.

Here is a link to learn more about our 100% Free of Obligation Phone Consultation Service >> http://www.montrossphysicaltherapy.com/Free-Phone-Consultation <<