Back pain is one of the main reasons people miss out on work and social activities, or even go to the doctor. In fact, more than 60% of people will have back pain at some point in their lives.
Understanding risk factors for back pain is an important first step. People age 30 and up are more likely to experience back pain, as well as those who have excess body weight. Lack of exercise or improper weightlifting are also common causes of back pain.
Fortunately, simple but effective measures can be taken to prevent back pain or limit its extent if already present. According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise and increased strength & flexibility are among the best ways to prevent or eliminate back pain. Regular low impact exercises that don’t strain or jolt your back are a great beginning. Abdominal & back strengthening exercises, especially when taught by an exercise professional, will help condition your core for long term back pain prevention. Lastly, flexibility in your hips & upper legs will help align your pelvic bones to improve how your back feels on a daily basis.
Where to start? If you’re currently exercising, make sure you add in a proper warm up including some dynamic stretches. Take a look at our recommended dynamic stretches to begin. Once exercising, make sure you have proper form and are making appropriate exercise progressions. Not sure how to do that? Schedule a training session to learn the basics from a pro!
If you’re not currently exercising, start with some simple stretches. The same rules that we use for exercise (light load to start with) applies to stretching. Listen to your body! If something hurts (especially a sharp pain), ease back and stretch a bit lighter. If you’re able to get your muscles warmed up with a light walk or some simple movements before stretching, your muscles will be much more pliable!
And finally, stretching doesn’t have to be a big time commitment. But it does need to be consistent. Start with 5 minutes of stretching a day and go from there. Is there something in your morning routine that you always do? Maybe try some stretching right after that. Or how about the evening time? Do you have a regular habit at night? Then add 5 minutes of stretching right after.
Need more specifics on stretching? Make an account! At the top of the page, click ‘login / sign up’ and start your personalized account. You’ll have access to member’s only content as it’s released. Plus, there are lower back stretches waiting for you now!