The bones in your back are supported on top of each other by discs. The bones and discs play a key role in supporting the body for all activities. Often I am asked how to help heal the back or what people can do to make their back better. The simplest answer is aerobic activity. Aerobic activity increases heart rate and thus the flow of oxygenated blood throughout the body.

For most of us, our back is like a stagnant pond where the influx of new water has dried up. We sit at our desks and do little aerobic activity besides taking the stairs now and then or walking around in the store. If the discs and vertebrae see little in the way of gentle movement from exercise, then they are stagnant. The rate of exchange of healthy nutrients and outflow of waste products is relatively low.

I tell my patients that you want your back to be a healthy pond with a constant inflow and outflow of water that will keep the pond vibrant and alive. Aerobic activity is the key.

For some patients with back pain, aerobic activity is difficult. That is why it is important to attempt unloaded exercise when possible–in a pool or on an unloaded treadmill where available.