Keep Low Back Pain At Bay With Exercising
Find out how to keep low back pain at bay with exercising, and how you can prevent low back pain if you take the time to do a few simple exercises to help strengthen and take the pressure off the back.
Back pain can be caused by many different stressors including sitting for long periods of time, muscle strain, structural abnormalities, stress, and more. If you’re suffering from back pain, be sure to ask your doctor if an exercise program is right for you.
When back exercises are done in a gradual and controlled manner, important nutrients are distributed into the soft tissues and disc space, which helps to keep your back healthy. When these exercises are also done consistently, they can help prevent reoccurring back pain, weaknesses, and stiffness. The trouble is getting people to do exercises before the back pain starts. Prevention is the key and will help to alleviate a lot of the problems of lower back pain.
Doing the right kinds of exercises is important, but especially for the lower back and core. This is one of the better explanations I’ve seen to describe the spine and the supporting muscles to help you understand this concept better.
As Dr. Cooper, MD explains, “The spine is like a mast on a ship. The same way that a mast on a ship has all these ropes attached to it, the ropes are attached to the mast to help unload the mast so that the mast doesn’t fall over and crack. A mast cannot support its own weight without the ropes. The same is true with the human spine. If you take the human spine out and put it on the table and you put some axial pressure on it, it can support about thirty-five pounds of pressure. We all weigh more than thirty-five pounds, so we rely on certain muscles that attach onto the spine to take the pressure off of the spine. When those muscles are weak or imbalanced, this leads to a lot of wear and tear within the spine. By getting the muscles right, we take the pressure off the spine and we make the spine a lot more durable”.
Try some of these tips to help keep low back pain at bay with exercising:
- Engage your ‘dormant muscles’, the glutes and hamstrings, and stretch out your ‘shortened muscles’, most often the hip flexors, to undo the adverse effects of sitting for a long time each day and promote muscle balance. Most people will also have tight hamstrings, so be sure to include daily gentle stretches for these as well.
- Exercise releases endorphins and are the body’s natural pain relievers. Endorphins are chemicals that occur naturally in the body, and when released they help block pain signals from registering with the brain, and alleviate stress, anxiety, depression and more.
- The core muscles of the body, which include the abdominal and back muscles, play a critical role in supporting the lower back. If they’re not actively exercised on a regular basis, more strain will be placed on the lower back for everyday functional movements. You’ll most often hear people working their abdominal muscles and focusing on getting a ‘six-pack’, but don’t forget to strengthen the many extensor muscles of your back, as they are equally important.
- Many people underestimate the impact of regularly applying forms of cold packs (to reduce inflammation) and/or hot packs (to help blood flow to the affected area) to help reduce lower back pain and the healing process.
- Our spines are optimized for standing, walking, and moving around. So to prevent low back pain in the future or ease the pain if you suffer from it already, be sure to get out there and start moving to loosen things up and strengthen the muscles that are needed for support.
If you don’t know where to start and you need help in this area, click on the Time For Change Personal Training Services tab to either join our fitness group or work with me one-on-one to help strengthen your back and core muscles.