No matter whether it is lifting a heavy object, twisting around, or even suddenly lunging forward, these motions can all result in lower back injury and pain. For athletes, the muscles and ligaments in the back are particularly prone to tears. However, lower back pain doesn't have to be forever, and by trying out these seven tips, it might not even have to be at all.
Strengthen Your Core
Your core muscles are key to the performance in a number of areas in the body. However, primarily a strong core provides support to the lower back and can help avoid injury. Regular low-impact cardiovascular exercise - like walking - will help non-athletes and those recovering from injury by increasing the blood flow to the area and helping to slowly strengthen the core. However, for non-injured athletes, planks and crunches are wonderful ways to prevent pain and injury.
Stress Correct Posture
An athlete can be at the top of their game and at peak fitness, but if they slouch while sitting on the computer or at the office, lower back pain is going to be a frequent guest in their life. Poor posture places a tremendous amount of pressure on the lower back and over the prolonged period of time can cause degenerated discs. Try switching to an ergonomic chair to support the lower back or setting a timer to remember to check your posture.
For dead lifts at the gym or even moving your best friend's couch, always be sure to lift correctly. Lift from the legs and not from the back or arms. Even with proper lifting technique, when doing a particularly heavy weight, wearing a lower back support will make sure that lower back pain doesn't put you off your game.
Wear Supportive Shoes While Running
While runners tend to focus more on their knees, running puts a tremendous strain on the lower back. However, support of the lower back, in the case of runners, begins at the feet. Without proper support in the foot, lower back pain is assured. Be sure to get comfortable running shoes or inserts if needed and change every 300 to 500 miles or when wear first starts to appear.
Consider Your Overall Health
Athletes may train and play almost every day, but sometimes their overall health can be less than ideal, and the spine is a good indicator of that. Exercise almost always benefits the lumbar spine, but consider upping your daily water intake, lowering your alcohol intake, and avoiding nicotine, all of which can affect your overall health as well as your spine.
Treat Pain, Don't Ignore It
Sometimes minor lower back pain is easy to ignore, but by not taking care of it, the pain can get worse. Take time out of your exercise schedule to rest and apply ice and heat to help the injured area heal faster. By treating the pain and taking a few days off to rest, it can save a lot of time and prevent a lot of pain in the long run.
Stretch Those Hamstrings
Little-known to many athletes, tight hamstrings are a frequent culprit of lower back pain. Simple hamstring stretches can help take pressure off the pelvis and as the leg muscle loosens, the relief in the lower back is almost immediate. Before heading to a physical therapist or a doctor for pain, try a few hamstring stretches first.
Is lower back injury keeping you out of your game? Contact us today to see what we can do to help treat your lower back pain so you can heal quickly and get back out there.