Your workout could be causing your back pain - IMAGE - Women's Health & Fitness

YOUR WORKOUT

✗ Problem
Many of us suffer from exercise excitement – the enthusiasm of throwing yourself into physical activity, feeling your body come alive and the rush of all those happy chemicals pulsing through the system – followed by days (or weeks) where we haven’t the slightest inclination to get sweaty.

This is where much of the damage occurs – going in cold, too hard, too soon.

“A high ranking ‘workout fail’ is incorrect lifting techniques,” says Smith. “These incorrect techniques may favour the weaker back muscles. By bearing most of the load when lifting, it places undue stress and strain on this muscle group.”

“There is also the idea that pain is a good thing during workout. While loading the body in order to feel tension is beneficial, overloading can cause damage. Pain is always a symptom that something is not quite right, and may lead to an injury.”

✓ Solution
Frequent, core-strengthening activities that don’t crash through the pain barrier are the key to back strength.
“When lifting, you should use the stronger anti-gravity muscles – mostly buttocks, thighs, and calves,” says Smith. “Keep a firm grip on the weight, hold the load close to your body, and never twist and bend while lifting.”
Stretching – seemingly out of fashion – is also important, says Smith.

“A lack of stretching before and after a workout may also contribute to back problems in the long run. The aim of stretching is to help restore normal length to shortened and fatigued muscles. Tight hamstrings can create drag on the lower back, producing pain if left unattended.
“A warm-up followed by gentle stretching before and after a workout will help achieve better flexibility, allowing more fluid range of motion in the limbs and spine.”

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