Complaints of chronic back pain are not uncommon. Whether it stems from an old injury or you don’t know the cause, over 80% of Americans suffer from it. In some cases, it may be extreme and need medical attention. But most back pain can be prevented or alleviated by the following three techniques. (Remember, always get permission from your doctor before starting any exercise program, especially if you’ve had an injury or sharp pain).
Solution: Stretching! If you suffer from back pain, odds are you have tension somewhere. The most common form of stretching today is yoga. But there are other options…there’s Somatic Stretching, (gentle stretch and small, isolated strengthening exercises), and simple gym stretches. There are also different types of yoga and different types of stretches: dynamic stretching, active stretching, passive stretching, etc. So how do you know where to start, especially when you have a specific types of tightness or pain? It’s best to see someone one-on-one, especially to start out with. A yoga or fitness expert can give you specific stretches to do, since every body is unique, and your tight area is probably different than the person next to you in yoga class. Then you can take a group class, and even do yoga videos from home.
Problem: Weakness in certain muscles
Solution: Personal Training and strengthening exercises. No one wants to admit they have a weakness. But if you’re tight one place, it means your weak in another. For every yin there is a yang, so if one muscle is working over-time, another muscle is slacking off. The tight muscle pulls on other muscles, over lengthening them and causing weakness. Strenghtening these mucles is equally important to stretching-you have to work on both sides of an imbalance. Again, working one-on-one with someone can pinpoint weaknesses and give you a road-map to your strength training. If you can’t afford to continue working with a personal trainer, you can use their suggestions at the gym or in fitness classes.
Solution: Awareness. This may sound cheesy, but you have to be aware of your daily activities. How’s your posture at the computer? While your driving? When you’re at work? You can’t slouch for 12 hours a day, then expect your 1 hour workout to fix it. You have to become aware of your spine in everything you do. Use the things you learn from yoga and training, and apply it to everyday life. Even be aware of your posture as you lay down to sleep-8 hours can make a big difference in your spinal health.
So remember these three elements when you have back problems, whether it be: stiffness, lack of mobility, soreness or chronic pain. Just please see your doctor before starting any program, especially if you’ve had an injury or sharp pain.