At some point or another we all experience back pain. When this happens it is recommended that you see your doctor for the cause and for possible treatments. Before you end up at the doctor though, let’s look into some preventative measures.
Exercise with resistance
Maintaining your muscle strength, including your back, is vital. We carry backpacks, purses, briefcases, suitcases, boxes and we lift heavy objects from one place to another. All of these things can twist our spines and throw us out of alignment.
The stronger your muscles the better support you will have along your vertebral column and hips. Examples of exercises to help strengthen your back are: dead-lifts, lat pull-downs, pull-ups, seated and bent-over rows, and good mornings.
Strengthen your core
Another cause of back issues is an imbalance of opposing muscles. When you have a weak core then your back has to take up all the slack. Prevent this by focusing on exercises that build stronger abs and hips. Examples of some core exercises are planks, side planks, stability ball crunches and stability ball oblique crunches and using the hip abductor and adductor machine.
Yoga for the back
Yoga offers many poses that not only strengthen the back but also help to increase flexibility and balance. A leading cause in back injury is losing balance and accidentally overcompensating with one side of the body. We can lower the risk of that happening when our bodies have a controlled center of gravity.
Examples of yoga poses that target the back are helicopter pose, child’s pose, rabbit pose and warrior III.
Always use proper form
Speaking of moving heavy boxes and lifting weights, quality performance is key. When moving objects at home or in the workplace always lift from your legs. Squat down and keep your chest above your hips at all times. Never bend over and round your back to lift something up.
An object only needs 5lbs of resistance to cause an injury.
Proper form is important for ALL exercises. If you are unsure if you are using proper form, look around and ask a fitness professional or if one is not available be sure to research a few fitness websites before trying yourself.
Taking a warm bath can help loosen muscles. You could also look into foam rolling, getting a massage or visiting a chiropractor for realignment. Make sure to get plenty of sleep as this is when the body does most of it’s healing. If your bed is too soft or too hard it may also be contributing to back pain.
Remember to keep checking in on your posture throughout the day. We start off in the morning strong and proud but throughout the day after long hours of standing, sitting at a computer, or playing on our electronic devices we gradually hunch over and lower our necks. Stop what you are doing… slowly turn your head left to right, forward and back and roll your shoulders up, back and down. Then take a few energizing breaths to realign and compose yourself. You may need to remind yourself several times a day before it becomes a habit but it will be worth the pain to lose the pain.