Back pain is one of those things that can impact a large part of your life, especially if you lead a more active lifestyle.
Without a doubt, this common problem is one of the most frustrating problems that effects most people at some point in their life.
Nevertheless, there are things you can do to prevent back pain, most of which are related to certain movement patterns and positions of the body.
In this article, we’ll give you insight on how to prevent and deal with back pain, so without further ado, let’s get to it!
Keep It Straight…
Unless you want to be The Hunchback of Notre Dame, keeping a good body position (especially during weight training) is essential to preventing and dealing with back pains
Why? Well, because the majority of back injuries are due to a poor, unfavorable body position under significant tension.
Lifting heavy things during everyday activities, or simply being in a bad position for a long time, can progressively damage your spine’s vertebrae and discs.
To further help you understand this, consider the following example.
You went to the grocery to get some water and are going to load your trunk with large water tubs.
Instead of bending over and lifting the bottles up with a curved back, you hoist them up with a neutral spine.
How? Well, begin by bending over with a straight back and hinging at your hips, instead of rounding your spinal column.
Then, use your whole body to lift up the tubs, thus sparing your spine.
Think of it as a squat or deadlift!
Walk It Off!
Non-strenuous aerobic exercise, such as walking, has been shown to relieve low back pain.
It’s simple, free and easy to incorporate into your daily routine, plus, you can practically do it during any time, in combination with daily chores.
Walk to work instead of taking the bus, go to the store or simply walk your dog!
Walking helps strengthen the muscles that keep the body upright and improves the stability of the spine.
Though it’s the most common human activity, walking is a powerful back pain-relieving exercise!
The back was made to move, so restricting movement can make the pain worse! We want to make sure the spine can move through it’s normal range of motion but we also don’t want to aggressively stretch the lower back, especially into rotation.
Our lumbar spine doesn’t have a lot of range of motion into rotation at each spinal segment, it’s an area of the body that requires more stability than extreme mobility.
Improving the mobility of our hips will go a long way in helping our back. The hips are designed to have a lot of mobility and when we lose this mobility we tend to overuse our lumbar spine to make up for it. This can lead to pain.
Remember to move slowly, never force your body into a stretch that causes pain. Make sure you can breathe fully in each stress, if you can’t the stretch may be too advanced for you.
Swimming can be a great exercise to help relieve back pain because it puts virtually no pressure on your spine and back, as water supports your entire body.
These are the so-called “low-impact” cardio activities, which don’t put stress on your joints and engage the majority of your muscle groups.
However, it is important to use correct swimming technique, as certain movements can strain the back and neck, actually making things worse!
Remember, It’s Not Just The Back
In many instances, back pain is simply the result of weakness elsewhere in your body! As a matter of fact, your back works with many other muscles to keep your body straight and stable.
That group of muscles is referred to as the “core” and it’s consists of many different muscles than just the “6 Pack” muscles everyone thinks it is.
- Anterior abdominal muscles
- Lower back muscles
- Oblique muscles
- Diaphragm and Pelvic floor muscles
For this reason, developing your core muscles is of prime importance for back health. Here are our top 5 exercises to help you strengthen your core:
- McGill Curl Up
- Side Planks
- Single leg and double leg bridges
Including these 5 exercises and adding some resistance to them, will help you strengthen your core, take stress off of your back and make it less likely for injury to occur.
Back pain is a common thing for many people, which in most cases is caused by poor body posture during daily and training activities.
However, there are many things we can do to help alleviate our back pain and protect it from getting injured in the first place.
We must also remember that when we have pain, it alters how our body moves. It’s why when pain is present it becomes a medical problem and not a fitness problem. Getting properly evaluated by a medical professional (doctor, physical therapist, etc.) can help treat your pain and incorporate our above suggestions into a comprehensive treatment plan to get you back to full pain free function.
Your T2X personal training team.