The spinal column, commonly known as your backbone, is a complex structure consisting of 33 vertebrae and more than 120 supporting muscles. It’s primarily the five vertebrae making up your lower back that can be the source of some degree of discomfort, often caused by muscle strain. While your spine is surprisingly durable, some common everyday mistakes may contribute to back pain.
1. Not Varying Your Workouts/Exercise Routines
There’s no question that exercise has many benefits. Yet all forms of exercise aren’t equal in terms of how your back is affected. For instance, riding a bike is excellent cardio, but it’s not something that’s going to necessarily work wonders for your back. Instead, spine surgeons in Los Angeles suggest peppering your routine with exercises that target your back, including:
- Strength training exercises like squats and lifts
- Abdominal exercises to strengthen muscles supporting the spine
- Hip bends and flexes
2. Not Maintaining Flexibility
Remaining flexible can help prevent injuries to the back, especially those related to some degree of muscle strain. Flexibility can be increased with post-workout stretches. Yoga, in particular, is especially good for boosting flexibility in a way that’s gentle enough for the back when the movements are performed correctly. Good flexibility stretches for your back include:
- Sitting spine stretches; sitting on floor, legs apart, touching toes
- Cat-camel back stretch; on hands and knees, arching back
- Cross-leg spinal twist; knees crossed, legs twisted, back flat
3. Failing to Lift with Your Knees
One of the most common causes of back pain is failing to distribute weight evenly, which is what happens when you do lifting with your back only. Whether it’s lifting weight while working out or picking up a heavy box, bending and distributing some of the weight to your legs reduces pressure on your back muscles while also helping to prevent serious injuries. If you have to stand for long periods of time, keeping your knees slightly bent can also help reduce pressure on your spine.
If you need added guidance, consider working with a fitness trainer or a physical therapist. While you can’t avoid all possible sources of back pain, taking steps to minimize muscle strain can certainly benefit your spine.
If chronic back pain is preventing you from living your life, reach out to the qualified team of diagnosticians and spine surgeons at The Spine Institute. Led by Dr. Bae in Los Angeles, they can properly diagnose the source of your pain and explain all possible treatments options. Schedule an in-person consultation by calling (310) 828-7757 today.