Aug 31, 2020
Recovering from a Back Injury

A back injury is not something to mess around with. Whether you’re a student-athlete, professional player, or just a weekend warrior, suffering a back injury can be down-right debilitating.

Surgery is always an option, depending on the severity of the injury, and, at times, the only option. But there are even risks post-surgery as well as a long recovery time.

back injury
Photo: Angelos Konstantinidis / Creative Commons

In a recent article posted on, author Stew Smith, CSCS and former Navy SEAL, said building a strong core and maintaining that basic strength and stability is essential in helping to prevent or quickly recover from common back injuries.

He outlined three core exercises that can help strengthen one’s back that are safe and effective that is typically a part of people’s postoperative physical therapy — the side plank, the bird dog, and the McGill curl-up pose.

“The first two poses are straight out of basic yoga, but the curl-up is not your normal military test curl-up, an exercise that looks more like a crunch or half sit-up. This curl-up is more supportive of the lower back and is an isometric flex of the abdominal and hip muscles,” Smith wrote in the article.

He went on to recommend for postoperative patients to seriously limit or eliminate the sit-up or crunch from one’s workout routine.

In addition to the three exercises, Smith urged walk or some form of light cardio to complement the stretches and exercises.

» ALSO SEE: Reducing Stress Fractures in Female College Distance Runners

“If walking hurts, try a non-impact option like a recumbent bike, elliptical trainer, or swimming. Combine this cardio with some basic calisthenics like push-ups, squats, lunges, climbing stairs, and maybe even pull-ups and dips as you rebuild your strength,” Smith wrote. “Combined with the power of the three exercises, you have a system of training that will maintain your core strength, decrease weight, and make you more mobile for decades to come.”

To read the full story on great stretches and exercises from, click here. 

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