Having treatment for chronic back pain? Don’t overlook rehabilitation, which is an essential part of any recovery programme if you want to avoid the recurrence of pain.

When the cause of each episode of pain is pinpointed and treated, an exercise programme can drawn up and supervised to help prevent recurrence.

Ideally, personalised stretching exercises for flexibility and strength should be introduced gradually and monitored carefully.

A proper rehabilitative programme should combine the following four important elements:

  1. Flexibility stretching                         
  2. Aerobic exercise for endurance
  3. Resistance exercises                     
  4. Strength, balance and co-ordination exercises

Stretching muscles should be done slowly and gently. After around ten seconds the stretch starts to have maximum benefit, so a stretch should be held for at least 20-30 seconds. It is important not to bounce as you stretch, which may cause damage and does not improve flexibility.

Aerobic exercise releases stress-reducing hormones and burns fat, and also increases your sense of well-being. It therefore works in two ways – not only strengthening muscles to make pain episodes less likely, but also reducing tension that can cause initial injury.