Elliptical Trainers and Back Pain

Back pain comes in two forms -- acute or chronic. The big difference is in the duration. Acute generally lasts for a few days and chronic can last up to three months, reports the National Institutes of Health. When it comes to treatment, corrective exercise is used in conjunction with conventional medicine. An elliptical machine can be used as part of this treatment plan.


Being sedentary is a risk factor for back pain to develop. When you sit for long periods of time, your vertebra do not get an adequate supply of blood and nutrients. Aerobic exercise has been found to bring nutrients to the structures in the spine, according to the Spine Universe website. Elliptical training is an aerobic exercise. As an added benefit, it also burns calories and reduces weight. Having excess fat in the abdomen can exacerbate or cause pain in the lower back.


Elliptical training is a type of low-impact exercise. This is valuable to back pain. High-impact exercises, like running and jumping rope, cause excess stress throughout the spine. This jarring impact is eliminated with elliptical training, which many back pain sufferers find advantageous, according to the Spine-Health website. Once you place your feet on the foot pedals and start gliding, you feel virtually no impact at all.


When you do elliptical training, start off with a light warm-up. Begin gliding at a slow pace and gradually increase your speed through a five-minute time frame. Get to a point that you are breathing heavy and sweating. Stay there for the rest of your workout. If you get on the elliptical and start gliding quickly, you are going to risk injuring yourself. Your body needs time to acclimate to exercise.

Time Frame

To get favorable results with the elliptical, aim for at least 30 minutes of training, three or four days a week. If you have excess weight, aim for at least 60 to 90 minutes. This is recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine for weight loss. If time is an issue, split your workouts up into smaller sessions and do them throughout the course of the day.


Core exercises can also help alleviate back pain. Consider adding planks, hip raises, arm and leg raises and pelvic tilts to your program. Abdominal and back exercises help condition the core muscles to work together like a natural corset for your back, according to MayoClinic.com.


The back is an intricate, fragile area on the body. Even the slightest wrong move can cause back pain or increase current back pain. Before you start a new exercise program, make sure to get clearance from your doctor. This holds true, especially if you have never used an elliptical before.

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