Hey GIT Girls! Fitness Friday: 4 Ways to Prevent Back Pain is here!
Recent studies reveal that 80 percent of Americans will experience some sort of back problem in their lifetime.
That’s because poor everyday habits, such as improper lifting techniques and sitting for long periods of time may lead to tired, weak back muscles, causing pain in the region.
Plus, other activities like gardening and overdoing it at the gym may be other culprits that cause this pressing, achy dilemma.
But it doesn’t have to be that way! There are preventive measures you can take to help avoid the pitfalls of back pain, and deal with it if does occur.
Below are four ways to help you avoid back problems, or cope.
Fitness Friday: 4 Ways to Prevent Back Pain
Staying active is a great way to shed those unwanted pounds, especially around the midsection, that may be pulling your body forward, and causing lower back pain.
Simple walking (15-30 minutes daily) is a great way to start if you’ve not accustom to exercise. But don’t be afraid to increase you pace and duration over time.
2. Strengthen the Core Muscles (transversus abdominis, multifidus, internal and external obliques, rectus abdominis, erector spinae, the diaphragm, and pelvic floor)
First and foremost, it’s crucial to develop strong abdominals when it comes to preventing back pain. More so if it already exists (of course, under medical supervision).
The body’s trunk is a combination of several muscle groups working in unison (see above). When the abs (rectus abdominis, mainly) are weak, other muscles must work harder in order to compensate. Thus, creating a muscle imbalance, and a likely pain situation in the lower back.
However, when the abs are strong (as well as the other core muscles), they help stabilize the torso, allowing the core to function properly.
Your basic abdominal crunch is a fine beginner’s jump-off point to an effective abdominal program.
3. Maintain Good Posture
Your parents were right when they repeatedly reminded you to stand and sit straight when you were a youngster. In fact, sitting incorrectly, with your trunk slumped forward, can put unnecessary strain on your back.
Simply remind yourself to practice sound postural habits throughout the day, especially when walking, standing and, like a mentioned above, sitting.
4. Improve Flexibility
The idea in increasing flexibility is to distribute the load equally throughout the body. When it’s not, as in the case of tight hamstring muscles (the bicep femoris, semimembranosus and semitendinosus), an imbalance will occur.
For instance, inflexible hamstrings will constantly pull your torso forward, placing a lot of undue stress on your lower back, which can lead to pain.
In addition, tight hips flexors will do the same. It’s also a good idea to stretch the lower back muscles as well as the upper-back and mid-back regions.
Exercises to Increase Mobility
Technique: Stand with your legs shoulder width apart. Slowly lower your fingers downward while bending your trunk at the waist, with your knees locked. Reach as far down as possible, while allowing your head to relax. You should feel a slight pulling sensation in your hamstrings. But do not force it to the point of extreme pain.
Frequency: Hold the stretch for at least 10-15 seconds. Follow by gradually returning to the starting position.
Note: it’s important to remember not to bounce during this stretch as microscopic tears may occur over time.
* Neck Pull Stretch (Upper and Midback Muscles)
Technique: Tuck your chin into your chest as if you were nodding. Hold for a second or two. With your hands clasped, gently pull your head forward. You should feel the stretch along the midback to upper back (to neck) areas (trapezius).
Frequency: Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds, then gradually return to the starting position. Repeat as necessary.
*Lying Lower Back Stretch—One Leg or Two (erector spinae)
Technique: While lying on a flat surface, pull your knees up to your chest, lifting your pelvis a few inches of the ground.
You should feel a slight pulling sensation in your lower back, but not anything to the point of extreme discomfort.
Frequency: Hold the stretch for 30-40 seconds.
*Standing Hip Flexor Stretch (Iliopsoas/psoas major and the iliacus)
Most people tend to have tight hip flexors because of the repetitive motions performed throughout the course of daily living—such as running, and walking up stairs.
The below stretch will lengthen and loosen the muscles in the anterior hip area.
Technique: Place one leg in front of you, with one leg behind you a decent distance apart from the front leg.
Lean your trunk back a little while pulling your hip flexor area forward without moving your back leg. You should feel the stretch in the hip flexor (anterior) region of the back leg.
Frequency: Hold for 20-30 seconds. Repeat 4-5 times, then stretch the opposite leg.
Until then…get it together girl!