Regardless of your health and fitness goals avoiding injuries and setbacks like lower back pain is critical.
If you cannot bend over to tie up your shoelaces without searing pain, then taking yourself to the gym without a plan is a recipe for disaster.
Ironically, one of the biggest causes of back pain is a lack of strength. So, avoiding lifting weights altogether is not always the best option.
8 in 10 people will experience back pain in their lifetime. With those odds, it is key to arm yourself with the correct steps to prevent or treat it.
Unfortunately, when people experience back pain, they tend to seek out medical professionals that are not competent to diagnose or treat the issue.
For example, going to a general practitioner will not give you anything but powerful painkillers and the obligatory “rest for X period.” This is a big generalisation… I am sure (hope) some refer out 🤞.
Rest and painkillers are temporary bandaids that can sweep things under the rug.
If you are in a position where you are experiencing pain, seeking expert help is your silver bullet. Attaining a diagnosis will give you a road map of what you should and shouldn’t do.
Who are the professionals that you should see? There is no definitive answer to this. Physiotherapists, osteopaths, chiropractors, and sports rehabilitation specialists are valid options.
However, there is a big caveat with seeing these allied health specialists. Make sure you find a good one! Many are more concerned with you returning for multiple visits than getting you better.
Ask around and do a little background research. With back pain prevalence, you will be able to find someone in your network that has gone through this process of finding someone credible that can fix them.
It is critical to bring home the point that “Prevention is always better than cure.”
Just because you might not be in any pain at the moment does not mean you cannot take steps to prevent it from happening in the first place.
Here are five tips to prevent back pain from happening in the first place.
- Purchase and learn how to use a foam roller correctly. Making sure you have adequate mobility in your thoracic spine is a MUST! When it comes to overhead strength movements. If you lack range in this area, you will start to compensate in other joints. For example, in an overhead shoulder press, you might start using your lumbar spine to make up the range you are missing in the thoracic.
- Be strong and lift weights. A strong and stable back will protect you when something might go wrong with your movements. The caveat is you MUST have perfect form on all exercises before loading them. If you cannot do the movement properly without weights, you have not earned the right to lift them. Crawl before you walk!
- Mobilise your hips. Most people spend considerable time sitting on a couch, desk, and in a car. With this in mind, you will need to offset this with daily mobility drills like a “couch stretch“.
- Learn how to brace your core. If you have spent time with a trainer or a coach, you should have heard the phrase “brace” or something to that effect. It helps your lifts in the gym and is a great way to protect your spine. After a while, it becomes an unconscious habit whenever lifting.
- Make sure you are adequately recovering. Overtraining and under recovering can put you in a compromised position or movement. Attempting to lift something heavy when you are fatigued can elicit different mechanics and muscles. Save your big lifts when you are fresh!
If you have any questions or comments, please let us know!