Is it possible to do sport with back pain?

Can I do sport if I have back pain? This is one of the questions we are often asked by patients in pain units (PDU). Understanding what the spine is like and how it works is essential when trying to explain what back pain is.

Doing sport to improve or, at least, not worsen back pain

Regular low-impact activities can improve the strength and endurance of the back, allowing the muscles to work better.

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  1. Swimming: ideal sport. Considered one of the most complete sports. A sport in which there is practically no impact. In addition, it strengthens the muscles of the whole body.
  2. Running: in principle not the ideal sport as running is an impact exercise for the back and knees. Running on grass or sand is better as the impact is much less. With appropriate footwear to reduce impact and rebound as much as possible and with proper medical advice it can be done with caution
  3. Cyclingimportant to adjust the height of the saddle and handlebars to your height. Choosing smooth terrain (preferably tarmac) can help reduce impact. The type of bike is also an important aspect. The size of the bike must be correct. Mountain bikes are recommended for posture maintenance and, if possible, should be equipped with an electric motor for support, so as not to force our posture in moments of fatigue.
  4. Pilates: always under the supervision of a monitor and adapting the exercises to the patient’s physical condition
  5. Walking: Half an hour a day is enough. It also has multiple benefits.
  6. Yoga the following is recommended: as in Pilates, always under the supervision of a specialist who can advise us and/or adapt the practice to our physical conditions
  7. Belly dancing: another possibility to exercise, perhaps in a more entertaining/less known way. As always, always in accordance with the recommendations of the specialist.
  8. Tai chi: Tones all the muscles of the body. Improves flexibility. Clears the mind and helps to relax. It can be an excellent help for patients with lumbar pathology if done carefully


Can I do sport with back pain? In principle, if we adapt the type of exercise to our conditions, yes, it is compatible. But we must not forget that pain is a symptom and that it has a cause (although in a high percentage of cases we cannot identify it). Therefore, we should consult a specialist before embarking on a new sport to make sure that we are going to do the type of exercise that will benefit us the most or, at least, not harm us.

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