Updated: Jul 10, 2020
Sometime in your life you may have felt a pain in your lower back. You got out of bed, your stepped the wrong way or bent over to pick something up and you felt a sharp pain in your lower back. It can be debilitating and doesn’t always get better soon. You may need to see a doctor especially if it doesn’t go away or if it is chronic. I recently took some courses which focused on lower back pain. It was of interest to me not only because clients have had this pain, but while I was working out one day I felt a sharp pain on the left side of my back which brought me down to the floor. These courses piqued my interest as I want to learn more about this issue. What causes lower back pain? There may be no specific answer at the moment when the pain happens, but 80 % of the population at some point will experience lower back pain. Sitting too long (and without proper form) or even standing too long without a break can causes weakness in other places in your body such as your foot, ankle, knee and/or hips. One or more of those areas can lead to chronic issues with your back such as bulges and/or herniation of disc(s). Two areas of focus on your back when exercising is your thoracic spine and the lumbar spine. 90% of your range of motion is in the thoracic spine which encompasses your upper and middle back. In the lower part of your back, the lumbar region range of motion in a healthy individual is about 13-15%. Keeping your body in alignment whether in your daily activities and especially when working out is crucial to protecting not only your back, but the other parts of your body. How you place your foot (particularly your big toe) in a lunge or a squat is important as it will guide your knee and leg into place as it moves with the hip. Positioning your knee as you move thru an exercise is also as important as you don’t want it to track too much outward or inward as it may cause a misalignment in your hips and back. So when doing an exercise, you want to make sure that you are mindful of your whole body from foot, ankle, hips, core, spine and head. Tuck your hips under and engage your core while performing an exercise will help protect your lower back. Make sure your movement comes from the thoracic spine which drives your lower back and hips as you move through your exercises or daily activities. Think of a beacon of light coming from your navel and your body moves with that light. Are there ways to strengthen your body to help eliminate lower back pain? Checking with a doctor is always best when it comes to pain in your back. If the pain is minor, you may be able to do some corrective exercises to help alleviate the pain. Movement is actually good when it comes to lower back pain as it will help alleviate stiffness setting in. Always remember to warm up before you exercise and stretch afterwards.