As a San Diego personal trainer I come across many individuals that suffer from lower back pain and discomfort. Now there can be many reasons and causes of low back pain: a previous injury; misaligned spine; gastrointestinal distress; repetitive movements; weak muscles; tight muscles; and poor posture to name a few. The majority of Americans that do suffer from low back pain it is most often caused by poor posture, and minimal physical activity. There are ways to improve and even eliminate lower back pain through proper flexibility, nutrition, and strength training activities.
Take yourself through a series of stretches to determine for yourself if you are tight in these areas:
1) Abdominal Wall: Is it difficult to lay on your stomach and push yourself up so that you have full extension in the arms while keeping your hips in contact with the floor?
2) Hamstrings- Can you lay on your back and fully straighten your leg while hip is at 90 degrees?
3) Low Back- Can you touch your toes when you bend over and legs are straight?
4) Hip Flexors- Facing the floor, can you bend your front knee to 90 degrees with foot flat on the floor, back leg straight behind, and set your hands on the ground on each side of the lead leg while hips are squared to the front?
If you can’t successfully complete these stretches as described then you are tight in that muscle group.
Strengthening– I take my clients through a serious of postural and movement assessments so I can determine by how they stand and the way their body moves what muscles are weakened. The common culprits for weakened muscles that cause lower back pain are:
1) Inner and Outer Abdominal Stabilizers
2) Gluteal Muscles
3) Erectar Spinae Muscles
Research shows that smokers have more frequent episodes of back pain than nonsmokers, and the more people smoke, the higher the risk of such episodes.
Scientists believe that the nicotine in cigarettes contributes to low back pain in two ways. First, nicotine hampers the flow of blood to the vertebrae and disks. This impairs their function and may trigger a bout of back pain. Second, smokers tend to lose bone faster than nonsmokers, putting them at greater risk for osteoporosis, another common cause of back pain.
Develop Better Nutritional Habits
Lower back pain can be caused by gastrointestinal stress. In short if you are eating foods that your stomach has a hard time digesting you most likely will feel pain in the low back because the stomach is connected to the nervous system receptors in the lower back. So the pain you are feeling in the low back could be your bodies way of saying you aren’t eating the proper foods. To learn more about what foods are right for you read about Metabolic Testing.
Practice Better Posture
Make sure that your work desk is at the appropriate level as well as your computer desk. You should be able to sit in your chair, rest your feet on the floor while still keeping your knees slightly higher than your hips. Also while sitting up tall in your chair, your hands should not be higher than your elbows when typing.
While standing, keep shoulders back and down, hips slightly pushed forward and toes straight ahead with feet hip width apart.