When you have become injured in some way, most times your doctor will advise you to exercise and stretch the back muscles. This does not mean they want you to go out and do any type of back exercises and stretches though!
What is ROM, AROM, and AAROM?
There is a form of exercises called ROM (range of motion) exercises which are used to keep the muscles and joints in your back strong and flexible. These exercises can be done on your own, or with a physical therapist. If you are doing these exercises alone they would be called AROM (active range of motion) exercises and if they require assistance they would be called AAROM (active-assisted range of motion) exercises.
Before starting any of these exercises for back pain you should always consult with your physician first. There will be back pain exercise that may not be good for you and by speaking to your doctor he or she can refer you to an experienced therapist. Only a therapist with the proper experience can guide you through your initial exercise sessions so that you are doing these exercises the way they should be done so that you do not injury yourself further.
While it is very easy to go on the internet and find a series of ROM exercises to follow, it is really in your best interest to first talk with your doctor or physical therapist so that you are not only doing the proper exercises but that you are doing them the correct way.
Depending on your underlying condition your therapist will guide you through specific exercises that will target the areas of your back and neck that require strengthening and increased flexibility.
Following Your ROM Therapy
Once you have been given the ok to do these exercises on your own you will want to make sure that when you do them you never bounce or jerk your muscles. All exercises should be fluid, slow and gentle; if not you can end up hurting the muscles or joints instead of helping them. If while you are doing these exercises you feel pain, stop. The exercises should never cause you pain or go beyond what your normal joint movements are.
If you are told to do these exercises 4 times a day, make sure that you set aside time to do them 4 times a day. Spread them out during your day and as long as you are allowed you may include other forms of exercise with your ROM exercises, things like walking on a treadmill or using the elliptical machine.
By following the exercises laid out by your therapist and following up on any other conservative treatments that may have been given to you, within a few weeks you should start to notice a reduction in your back pain.