BACK PAIN: THE SCARY TRUTHS
If you’ve ever had lower back pain, you are not alone. Studies show 80% of the United States population will suffer from lower back pain at some point in their life.
At Pursuit Fitness, we’ve had many members who have come in with back pain. We have heard from many others that their back pain is a reason they never go to a gym in the first place.
We’ve gone to great lengths to better understand back pain so we can work around it and ensure it won’t get worse. We often even see a decrease or elimination of pain.
TWO TRAINING PRINCIPLES TO RELIEVE LOWER BACK PAIN FOR CLIENTS
First, an important note. As fitness professionals it is beyond our scope of practice to diagnose and treat the causes of pain. If we see a member’s back pain not impoving or getting aggravated, we refer them out to one of our amazing medical partners to get more input.
With a medical professional’s help we can identify what we should add in, change, or cut from their program. And the medical partner can also perform direct treatment to help with the member’s issue.
Below are two principles we have seen make a difference for a lot of our members with some history of back pain.
PRINCIPLE #1: INCREASE MOBILITY OF THE ADJACENT JOINTS.
The primary function of your lumbar spine (your lower back) is to create stability. The lumbar spine gets a small degree of movement. But when there is more movement that is is designed for we experience pain.
The two joints that surround the lumbar spine are the thoracic spine (mid and upper back) and the hips. The thoracic spine is above the lumbar spine, and the hips are below.
For many people the thoracic spine and hips don’t move as much as they’re supposed to. This is particularly an issue for people who sit a lot throughout the day or that are generally inactive.
HAS THIS HAPPENED TO YOU?
You bend over to pick up something light off the ground, or twist to move things from one area to another, and experience your back “going out”?
Instead of your hips and/or thoracic spine being able to do the majority of the movement, your lumbar spine moved to make up for the lack of mobility from a surrounding joint. The lumbar spine was not designed to move that much. Which creates a tremendous amount of stress on the lower back.
These issues can be avoided creating more range of motion from the hips and thoracic spine.
BACK PAIN FIX #1: 4 EXERCISES TO INCREASE HIP AND THORACIC SPINE MOBILITY
Supine pelvic tilts
Band resisted hip hinges
Side Lying Open Books
PRINCIPLE #2: RE-EDUCATE THE CORE TO ACTIVATE
First, let’s start with defining “re-education” of the core.
Our core muscles, especially the deep core stabilizers, stop functioning due to inactivity. For example, sitting for a high percentage of the work day.
These core muscles help make sure the lumbar spine doesn’t move beyond it’s capability. Doing specific work to make sure the deep core stabilizers can assist in this function will also help keep the lumbar spine in a safe position.
BACK PAIN FIX #2: DO THESE 5 EXERCISES TO RE-EDUCATE THE CORE
Quadruped breathing with deep exhales
Bear Crawl Holds
OUR VIDEO DEMONSTRATES THE BACK PAIN TIPS OUTLINED ABOVE
REHAB YOUR BACK PAIN DAILY
In my experience, correcting back pain works best when you do the above exercises daily!
Have you ever visited a doctor or physical therapist and started feeling better with their recommended exercises?
And then as soon as you felt better you stopped?
And then the pain came back?
It comes as no surprise, but those two events are definitely connected. To keep getting the benefits of these exercises we need to keep doing them!
The information in this blog is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images purpose and information, contained on or available through this web site is for general information only. You should always consult your physician or other healthcare provider before starting an exercise program.
Since everyone’s back pain situation is very individual, I recommend you work with a professional personal trainer, chiropractor, or physical therapist that understands the principles that I’ve explained herein. Often times, clients have fixed lower back pain through doctors recommendations but it’s the continual sitting and lack of exercise that gets them right back into trouble.
Director of Training
Pursuit Fitness and Performance