A Healthy Back Starts with Regular Exercise: Avoiding Low-Back Pains and Strains

Published Online: Wednesday, September 1, 2004

This patient education handout is brought to you by the makers of SKELAXIN? 800mg (metaxalone)

Many of us are guilty of being "weekend warriors." Weekend warriors rarely exercise and are not very active during the week, only to become overly enthusiastic when taking part in a sporting event or even just tackling a household chore on a weekend or other rare occasion.

Muscles that are not used on a regular basis become flabby and weak. Weak muscles cannot adequately support our bones, especially those of the spine. A lifetime of stress, poor posture, and inactivity all serve to weaken our muscles.

Back pain can occur anywhere along the spine, but the most common spot is the lower back. Most of the time, back pain is caused by a simple pull or "strain" of a muscle or ligament.1

Sitting, standing, or lying down for a long time in the wrong position can also bring on low-back pain. Poorly designed seating only adds to the problem.

The Benefits of Exercise Are Well Known

To have a strong, healthy back, we need to have strong abdominal muscles to support the lower spine and keep it from sagging forward.2 Strong muscles come with being fit. And everyone knows that being fit starts with regular exercise.

Regular exercise brings a healthy glow to the skin, tones the muscles, and increases our energy.3 With regular exercise, you can tell you have become more fit when your ability to perform physical work increases. You may also experience a decrease in fatigue, tension, and anxiety. And your muscles and joints will be more flexible and function better. You may also lose some extra pounds if you reduce food intake along with your exercise program.3

Types of Exercise


These exercises are designed to increase strength by lifting weights or using exercise machines. They are not necessary if you simply want to stay in shape, lose weight, or improve cardiovascular health.4

Endurance or Aerobic

Aerobic exercises such as running, swimming, walking, and cycling can increase the endurance of the heart, lungs, and muscles. These exercises are designed for cardiovascular fitness.4


These exercises are designed to help you avoid injury and discomfort. They involve stretching and warm-up exercises to get the blood flowing and warm up your muscles.

Simple Exercises to Get You Started

As always, if you have specific health-related questions, be sure to ask your doctor.

Easy Stand-Up Exercises


1. Start with your arms limp at your sides. Breathe in and out slowly.

2. Now, swing your arms in, crossing them in front and then out to shoulder level.

3. Repeat 3 or 4 times.

Ease Back Strain

1. Rest your palms on the small of your back with the fingertips pointing down.

2. Raise your chin, lift the top of your chest, and reach back with your elbows.

3. While maintaining strong abdominal muscles and a slight pelvic tilt, hold this pose. Don't forget to breathe.

Simple Sit-Down Moves

Roll Your Shoulders

1. While sitting down on a carpeted or padded floor or in a comfortable chair, bring your shoulders up toward your ears and then back down in a fluid rolling motion. Try to visualize drawing circles with your shoulders.

2. Keep breathing naturally and repeat the up-and-down movements 3 or 4 times.

Tailor Sit

1. Get down on the floor with your back straight and head held high.

2. Grab your ankles and try to bring the soles of your feet together directly in front of you.

3. Pull your feet as close to your body as you can.

4. If possible, put your elbows and arms on your inner thighs and push your legs open wider.


1. Back Pain. [article on CD-ROM]. IVI Publishing Inc. and Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 1995. Mayo Clinic Family Health. Mac 2.0 Version.

2. Ishmael WK, Shorbe WB. Care of the Back. 3rd Edition. Industrial Edition. J.B. Lippincott Company. Philadelphia, 1985.

3. Benefits of Exercise. [article on CD-ROM]. IVI Publishing Inc. and Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 1995. Mayo Clinic Family Health. Mac 2.0 Version.

4. What Exercise Is Right For You? [article on CD-ROM]. IVI Publishing Inc. and Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 1995. Mayo Clinic Family Health. Mac 2.0 Version.

Indications: SKELAXIN? (metaxalone) is indicated as an adjunct to rest, physical therapy, and other measures for the relief of discomforts associated with acute, painful musculoskeletal conditions. Metaxalone does not directly relax tense skeletal muscles in man. Adverse Reactions: The most frequent reactions to metaxalone include nausea, vomiting, gastrointestinal upset, drowsiness, dizziness, headache, and nervousness or "irritability".

? 2004 King Pharmaceuticals?, Inc. All rights reserved. SKELAXIN is a registered trademark of Jones Pharma Incorporated?, a wholly owned subsidiary of King Pharmaceuticals?. Contact King at 1-888-358-6436; write 501 Fifth Street, Bristol, TN 37620; or visit www.kingpharm.com on the web.

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