Tips to Prevent Lower Back Pain While Exercising
Low back pain is one of the most common musculoskeletal disorders affecting about 80% of adults. To protect the low back while exercising here are a few tips to keep you going.
- The first question to ask yourself is what are your goals? Are they realistic? Do you have a good plan? There are plenty of trainers out there. If they push too hard, they may take you into unsafe territory. Seek reliable guidance from a professional like a physical therapist.
- Learn about a neutral spine to avoid back injury. The neutral spine is the position of the spine where all three curves in the neck, middle and lumbar vertebrae are in natural alignment. This is the position that creates the least amount of stress on the low back.
- Are you doing the exercises correctly? Is your form correct? Are your weights too heavy? Do you have pain from exercising? Some reasons may include jumping into a new routine without conditioning. If you are a beginner or are generally inactive starting a new exercise program can be daunting. Make certain you have a good routine that fits your needs. Then start small and build endurance. Learn to walk and then run! Don’t forget to warm up before and cool down after your workout and stretching before and after a workout.
- Learn to listen to your body. Start with the basics and build capacity. Working out harder or longer than necessary won’t bring faster results. Pushing yourself when your body is telling you to stop will create pain and increase the risk of injury. Modify the intensity level to match your capacity. Seek guidance from a physical therapist who can review and modify your technique and form or recommend you seek medical care.
- “Motion is lotion” If you reference the RICE vs POLICE Blog previously written you will know that early appropriate movement is essential to facilitate reduction of symptoms and healing. Finding appropriate mobility drills is a crucial part of every rehab program. Even something as simple as walking can help.
- Sports performance. When you are focused on a participating in a certain sport, sport specific conditioning is designed to prepare you for the unique physical demands of the sport you choose, optimize your performance, and help you prevent injury. The back specialists at CAO Sports Performance can help you with that.
- Learn to slow down. If you are working to build your aerobic conditioning and find you are having pain from running, interval training, cycling, or swimming the lesson is slow down. Run, swim or workout by starting slow and progressively and periodically building your distance, time, and effort; and make sure to stretch your hamstrings to minimize low back stress.
- Running tips. Wear the appropriate shoes and if they are worn buy new supportive and comfortable shoes. Shoes all have limited mileage capacities before it is recommended to replace them. Be aware of the different surfaces and grades you are running on, which can cause impact low back positional control.
- Weightlifting tips. Back pain is a common injury in weightlifters caused primarily by poor posture or poor lifting techniques. Avoid rounding your back when you squat. Learn how to squat correctly. Hip hinging is the key to deadlifting. Kettlebell exercises require guidance.
- Common everyday weightlifting means lifting the groceries from the car or lifting a child into and out of a car seat! Protect your back by bending at the knees, pivoting your feet instead of twisting your back, and holding the object close to your body.
- When is it time to see a spine specialist, orthopedic surgeon, or physical therapist? If there is any nerve pain (consistent limb numbness/tingling/burning/weakness) a physician should be consulted immediately. When running or any exercise consistently causes back or leg pain and when self-care measures like stretching anti-inflammatory medications and activity modification don’t help reduce your pain it may be time to see a doctor. Do not work though spine pain.
- Avoid motions that cause pain. If you begin an exercise and your back hurts, stop doing that exercise until you can assess for possible causes (loss of control/pain/movement patterns). Choose exercises that won’t hurt your back and will instead help to bolster core strength, posterior chain strengthening, and improve functional capacity. Speak with the experts at CAO Sports Performance about adjusting in your routine to avoid pain and injury.
Get the information you need to work out safely, achieve and avoid back pain. Contact CAO Sports Performance in California, Leonardtown and Waldorf Maryland.