Do you suffer from low back pain? Almost everyone will experience some form of back pain in their lifetime. Preventing back pain is more than just lifting and exercising with proper technique. Having a healthy spine is an all encompassing way of life. These are four activities that may be causing your low back pain.

Sitting without back support

The lower spine naturally curves inwards towards the body making an S shape pattern. The curve of the low back is easily kept in line when we stand, walk, and exercise. However, when we sit down the muscles that keep the spine in line are not able to hold the natural posture for more than five minutes. Slouching when we sit causes tremendous stress on the low back and can be a root cause for why your back is hurting. The easy fix for bad sitting posture is to roll up a small towel and place it at the low back. The towel will act as a support system keeping the natural curve of the spine in place and preventing poor posture. Using this method can rid the cause of back pain and overall poor spinal alignment from sitting.

Sitting too long

Jobs have become increasingly more sedentary in the last century. Sitting for long periods of time is inevitable in today’s day and age. Hours of inactivity in a sitting position creates strain and instability at the spine. To help combat the strain that sitting puts on the spine,  take five minutes every hour to stand up and walk around. The human body was designed to move. When we sit, fluids build up around the body and are inhibited from circulating. The more often you are able to get up and walk around each hour the less detriment sitting will take on your body. 

Moving poorly when you don’t know it

Having a personal trainer or a friend to look at your technique when lifting is very valuable. Whenever I am lifting I film myself so I can check my technique after and assess how I am moving. If you approached every lift with the goal of lifting with perfect technique every rep you will significantly reduce your chance of injury. Having a friend to give you technique tips is huge in this respect. 

Movements such as picking up a sock or a box off the ground can be neglected because you are unaware of how you are moving. It is important to prevent rounding of the back when picking anything off the ground, especially if you suffer from low back pain. Everyday movements should be done with minimal rounding at your low back. 

Doing improper core exercises

“Repeated flexion of the low back is a mechanism for injury” (Stuart McGill, 2018)

This quotation from the leading spine doctor in the world simply means; keep your spine from bending repeatedly. One of the core exercises people love doing is sit-ups. Sit ups are great for working the abdominal muscles themselves, but the repeat flexion of the low back puts strain on the ligaments and discs of the spine. A good alternative for working the abdominal muscles would be a front plank or a partial sit up that involves a smaller range of motion on the spine. The free workout that Fit Focus offers dedicates a portion to core training and will show you in depth how to properly train the core in a safe way. 

Low back pain is not a life sentence. If you regularly move with good technique and progress exercises appropriately with outside help of either a doctor or trainer, you can overcome your pain and get back to living life to its fullest!!

Warren Bartlett. NSCA CSCS.

Personal trainer at Fit Focus Laconia