Question: I have nagging lower back pain, nothing serious. I deal with it and keep exercising and lifting weights because I know it is good for me in the long run. Is there anything I can do to keep training and reduce the pain?
Answer: Lower back pain is one of the most common fitness injuries and has many causes. These include:
• Trying to do too much too soon.
• Poor lifting form or technique.
• Weight lifting with improper body position.
• Lifting too much weight in the gym.
• Poor body positioning while stretching or doing cardiovascular exercise.
• Failure to warm up or cool down properly.
• Need for stretch or flexibility training.
• Lack of variation.
• Poor nutrition or ability to recover.
Improving how well you prepare for physical exercise is crucial for healing and avoiding lower back pain.
Start out slow when beginning an exercise regime. Set a goal, but don’t rush to achieve it. Warm up on a stationary bike or walking in place for three to five minutes to increase the body’s core temperature and pump nutrient-rich blood to your muscles.
Follow this with a full-body stretch for your muscle groups.
If lifting weights, progress from light to heavier weights. Make sure your form and technique are good. This means positioning your body to isolate the particular muscle group you are toning.
Lift in a slow, controlled fashion working through the muscle’s full range of motion. Lifting too fast puts more stress on joints and should be done only by the most fit exerciser and athlete.
Vary your workouts, or risk overuse injuries. Cross train with a few different activities, thus avoiding boredom and injury.
Cool down three to five minutes to bring down body temperature and heart rate to normal. Follow with stretches to get rid of the muscle’s waste products and reduce muscle soreness.
Nutrition plays a big role in the health of the lower back and should not be taken lightly. Eat sufficient protein, quality carbohydrates, fruits, veggies and vitamins and minerals to help the body recover from physical activity.
I highly recommend seeing a doctor for your back pain. Have a fitness professional assess your activities to correct flaws in your body positioning and nutrition plan.