Back Pain FAQ
There are many possible causes of back pain, therefore having back pain doesn’t necessarily mean that your core is weak. It is almost certainly true to say that having weakness in the core is the most common cause of back pain. The best way to figure out whether your back pain relates to a weak core is to work with a practitioner who knows how to do a thorough assessment of your core strength:
It is not advisable to tackle your own, or often even your PT’s core exercises at the gym if you have back pain. Sit-ups and planking type exercises for example have been shown to irritate a bad back in many instances. The truth is that no practitioner who has trained extensively in rehabilitation of back pain would ever prescribe you traditional core type gym exercises from the outset. If your back is hurting and you want to keep up the gym work without aggravating it the research indicates that general light activity or ‘keeping moving’ is the best approach. Light stretching to keep the back loose may also be helpful.
Yes, it’s fine to get a massage when you have back pain. Massage can be very easing and a percentage of people get very significant short term relief from massage. As a treatment for back pain massage is considered by researchers to be significantly less effective on average than pain killers, acupuncture and spinal manipulation. If massage works for you though, it works for you.