“I can’t work out with my back”
“My back aches every day”
“I can’t move like I used to because my back hurts!”
Does this sound like you? It might! We hear it all the time. And if it does sound like you, you’re not alone!
Back pain is one of the most common reasons people go to the doctor or miss work.
Not only that, but the doctor will likely just prescribe pain-blocking medication. According to the Canadian Chiropractic Association, “Low back pain has also been one of the key drivers for opioid prescription.” We already know that the over-prescription of opioids has caused even greater issues in our local and global communities.
But, here’s the thing: most back pain is preventable.
The truth is that the more you condition your muscles, the better they are at bouncing back from fatigue or temporary injury. If you ignore your back pain and mask it with medication or over-immobilize the muscles surrounding your spine the more it’s going to hurt.
Additionally, with the rise immobility from work-from-home positions and deks-oriented jobs, our risk of back injury, or worse, heightens. In fact, an analysis of 13 studies of sitting time and activity levels found that those who sat for more than eight hours a day with no physical activity had a risk of dying similar to the risks of dying posed by obesity and smoking.
So, if over-resting and over-medicating won’t do it — how do you fix back pain?
Movement is everything! Moving your body through regular, low-impact cardio activities will increase strength and stamina and allow your back muscles to function better. The more you move, the less stiff you’ll be! Think about it: if you leave a car to sit and rust, it won’t run. But regular maintenance through movement keeps the machine running.
Build Muscle Strength
We’re not saying you have to build giant Popeye arms. But what will help your back pain is strengthening the core muscles around your spine will create a natural corset-like support system. This includes your abdominal muscles as well as your back muscles.
And with all of that said, any exercise or strength training should be started at a SLOW pace. Even if you could do cartwheels before, start small! The little movements sometimes make the most impact!
Not sure where to start? Here are some stretching and exercises you do in under 5 minutes to help your back pain:
Follow along in the video above:
Exercise 1: Step-Ups
To start, place your entire right foot onto the step. Press through your right heel as you step onto the bench, bringing your left foot to meet your right so you are standing on the step. Squeeze your glutes on your way up to tighten your abdominals and stand with your chest up nice and proud!
Return to the starting position by stepping down with the right foot, then the left so both feet are on the floor. Repeat for 30 seconds.
Exercise 2: Lateral Leg Raises
Stand beside a wall or post, using your right hand to steady yourself. Plant your right foot (the foot closest to the wall) and start to raise your left foot out to the left, laterally. Return the left foot back to about hip-width apart—not all the way down.
Do 8-10 on one side, then repeat on the other side.
Exercise 3: Kick Back
Place your left hand against and put your right hand on your right hip for balance. Plant your right leg into the ground, but make sure not to hyper extend the knee. Kick your left leg back to engage your glutes.
Do 8-10 on one side, then repeat on the other side.
Exercise 4: Hip Bridges
Set yourself up to lie on your back (on the ground if accessible, otherwise a couch or bed will work too!). Scoot your heels as close to your bum as you can with your legs bent. Slowly raise your hips into the air until your head, hips, and knees make a straight line. Squeeze your glutes on the way up. Slowly, return your hips to the ground and repeat 8-10 times.
We recommend doing these exercises every 1-2 days. If you have questions about these exercises, we’re happy to help!
There are some other practices you can implement TODAY to help your back.
- Stand Tall
If you must stand for long periods, place one foot on a low footstool to take some of the load off your lower back. Alternate feet. Good posture can reduce the stress on back muscles.
- Sit With Intention
Choose a seat with good lower back support, armrests, and a swivel base. Placing a pillow or rolled towel in the small of your back can maintain its normal curve. Keep your knees and hips level. Set a timer on your phone to remind you to switch positions or back to standing every 30 minutes!
You may invest in office equipment that allows you to mix your standing/sitting time. For example, a standing desk, computer riser, or even putting your laptop on a cardboard box will help you maintain a more neutral spine than hunching over.
- Lift Only What You Can
Know your limits! If you do have to lift something heavy or cannot get assistance, keep your back straight — no twisting — and bend only at the knees.
If you’re ready to take the next steps to strength your back, reduce aches and pains, massively increase your energy, and boost your overall health – we can help!
Our 6 Week Stronger For Longer Program designed for women and men over 40 is a great place to start. Unlike a regular gym where you’d be left to figure it out on your own, we give every member personalized coaching at each session so we can make sure you feel your best at the end of the 6 weeks. We design your program specifically around your personal fitness level and your goals to help you see results in the most safe and effective way possible.
Get your back back on track! Check it out Here