It can happen to anyone: beginner to advanced athletes will all agree that a tweaked muscle, especially in your back, is inevitable on your fitness journey. So now what? You may get a slew of recommendations on how to fix your low back pain, but how do you know which is best and will allow you to continue doing what you love? Here are 5 of Onward Denver’s favorite recommendations for a low back pain fix.
1. Motion is Lotion
This seems obvious but it’s interesting to see the vast majority of coaches and medical professionals recommending rest as the primary option. Although the idea of rest is important when it comes to recovery, we want to make sure we are frequently changing positions to keep muscle fibers loose. Shoot for changing positions at home at least once every hour to assist with low back pain.
2. Find your Directional Preference
Low back pain can be more complex than just saying “flexing makes it worse”. It can be helpful to find which movements are aggravating and which are relieving your symptoms. If flexing your back lowers your pain, focus on positioning that reinforces that motion. Examples could be double knee to chest stretch, cat/cow, or laying on your back with your legs up the wall.
If extension of your spine feels more comfortable, focus on positions such as laying on your belly periodically or cobra stretch. You can also reinforce appropriate spinal posture with a rolled up towel behind your low back for support while sitting.
3. Don’t Avoid, Modify
Within the same vein as what was stated prior, we don’t want you to be fearful of the movement that initially flared you up. First, let’s focus on the basics to make sure the correct muscles are engaged.
- Perform a PVC hip hinge or banded good morning: these movements emphasize the correct movement pattern in an unloaded position.
- Does going full range of motion irritate you? Let’s pull some weight from an elevated surface to get the muscles engaged without stressing the length until they are ready. Deadlifting from low blocks or a low box is a simple and effective modification to start with.
- Use an alternative position: if a conventional deadlift does not feel great, let’s try the sumo position for a more neutral spine.
4. Use Isometrics
- Isometric Rack Pulls – This can have a potent pain-relieving effect if performed accurately. Set up a barbell close to your starting position in the rig with the J cups at the lowest slot. Pull up and hold this position for 5-10 seconds to fire up your erectors and hamstrings. Perform 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps each.
- Chinese Planks – This is an excellent option to provide activation and stability around the spine while recruiting your glutes and hamstrings. Set up two equal height surfaces an appropriate distance apart to support your heels and shoulder blades. Push up to create a “table top” position. Perform 3 sets of 30-60 seconds.
5. Get your Heart Rate Up
We’ve likely all experienced the endorphins that flow after we complete a workout that leave us a little sweaty and breathless. Getting your circulation going with high intensity intervals on the assault bike or rower can allow you to flush out the inflammatory chemicals that are creating pain.
Start with performing 8 sets of 30 sec RPE 8-9 / 30 sec rest.
Still have questions? Please reach out. At Onward, our focus is to provide precision rehabilitation to get you out of pain as soon as possible. If you experience discomfort lasting more than 3 days, schedule an appointment and let’s get you back to doing what you love.