Debilitating back pain can completely stop you in your tracks, making daily tasks nearly impossible. Read on to learn how to prevent this immobilizing pain.
- Lift with Legs. Save Your Back! When picking up heavy objects, many people bend at the waist and lift using their back on impulse. Instead, bend your legs, get low while keeping your back relatively upright and use your legs to lift. This method disperses the weight between your legs, which each contain much stronger muscles, preventing avoidable back strain.
- Strengthen Your Core. When I say your core, I don’t mean just six pack abs. I mean your core as a whole, including deep muscles such as the transverse abdominus that works like a corset to hold the midsection in place. Use exercises such as vacuums and planks in order to build strength and endurance in your core muscles.
- Don’t Forget Your Posterior Chain. Over years training clients from all walks of life, I’ve seen more people ignore their posterior chain than any other muscle group. Out of sight, out of mind! While less of a “vanity muscle,” the posterior chain is integral to pain free living. Spending a ton of time training abs but ignoring the lower back? The resulting strength imbalance damages the function of the spine causing pain. Most people have stronger quadriceps than hamstrings, this imbalance pulls the pelvis out of alignment, which also contributes to low back pain.
- Stretch. Our increasingly sedentary lifestyle (sitting at a desk, in the car…) leads to tightening up of certain muscle groups, especially the gluteal muscles and the hamstrings. As these muscles constrict, they pull on the pelvis, creating alignment issues, and pressing on nerves causing pain such as sciatica and other lower back pain. However, when stretched regularly, we can greatly reduce back pain.