Injuries ruin the target. Learn to avoid them, because they knock you out of the working rut and do not allow you to visit the hall. Better to be in the gym than in the hospital.
Low back pain after exercise: what to do?
For back pain, you cannot get out of bed normally, walk bent over, it seems that even breathing hurts. Most people get back pain because they do not exercise. However, athletes at least once in their life suffered from unbearable back pain. Bodybuilders, for example, begin to experience stitching pains in the spine with age, as if hundreds of spikes simultaneously bite into the vertebrae only when they try to bend down and tie their shoelaces. This leads to the conclusion that you will inevitably encounter this if you are not training, and however paradoxical it sounds, and if you are training too.
In weightlifters, back injuries usually occur in the lumbar region, the lower part of the spine. Discomfort can range from mild, temporary bouts of pain to chronic, prolonged, intense pain. The causes of lower back pain can be muscle strain, a damaged disc, degenerative disorder, age-related changes in bone tissue, poor posture, improper weight lifting techniques and much more.
In order to learn how to avoid spinal injuries and related chronic back pain, I interviewed Jason Highsmith, MD, author of the Manual for Back Pain for Dummies, a sought after neurosurgeon, a world-renowned certified specialist in treatment and prevention of degenerative, chronic pain and back injuries.
Question: What do you treat and how would you describe your approach?
Neurosurgeons, like me, perform back surgery more often than any other. We treat everything in a row: from a clamped nerve and radiculitis to osteochondrosis and stenosis. My specialty is limited to invasive surgery. Not all patients need surgical intervention, but every day we take dozens of patients with spinal problems and help them find the best way out of this situation.
My approach to treating patients is complex. Exercise, weight loss, lifestyle changes, physical therapy, chiropractic, injections and pain control at every stage of treatment.
Key signs that back pain is a symptom of a serious injury?
Weakness, numbness, or both, is a serious cause for concern. Impaired bowel or bladder function - reasons to seek emergency medical help.
Persistent back pain in children is also cause for concern. Back pain in children most often comes from wearing heavy backpacks and improper posture, but this pain can be a symptom of a more serious disease: scoliosis or even a tumor.
The difference between ligament pain and muscle pain?
Pain in the ligaments, as a rule, is felt during rest and during movement; muscle pain intensifies with movement. But the difference is small.
Why are you of the opinion that bodybuilding is important both for strengthening the back and for maintaining its performance?
Most back pains result from sprains or muscles. Developed muscles can stabilize and strengthen the spine, which reduces the likelihood of injury. And even those who have old injuries can improve their situation by strengthening their muscle mass.
What would you recommend to bodybuilders who want to exercise calmly without thinking about possible back problems?
Everyone knows that the work of muscle groups-antagonists is always important during exercise. This is especially true for those who have back problems. During training, you need to try to properly distribute the load on the spine. This means that, for example, doing a thousand squats to strengthen the abdominal muscles is wrong and inappropriate. It is important to balance the load on the spine, including antagonist muscles.
Some types of exercises are contraindicated in patients with osteochondrosis. Weightlifting is associated with a large load on the spine and can increase pain. The following types of exercises should be excluded or reduced: leg press from a sitting position, deadlift, army bench press and lunges with a load on the shoulders.
U is sure that most bodybuilders are aware of their physique and physical fitness and, by definition, are in great shape, so the likelihood of injury from them is reduced to zero. However, improper lifting techniques, especially heavy weights, can lead to disastrous consequences in the future. If your back begins to hurt, reduce weight and increase the number of repetitions.
Why is it believed that weight loss is the first thing a person can do to reduce back pain? And will it help eliminate the cause of this pain?
From shocks and bumps, tires in an overloaded car are erased and bumps appear on them. In the same way, extra weight acts on the intervertebral discs and the spine as a whole. For example, body weight that presses the spine while walking is vital for disc health because they lack blood supply and receive nutrients from adjacent bone and cartilage, which supply them with nutrients and remove “waste”.
Losing weight can reduce disc wear and protrusion. Sometimes the disks are already damaged, but it still does not hurt to lose extra pounds to improve the general condition of the spine and in combination with gentle physical exercises.
Why are abdominal fat deposits a problem for back health?
A large belly leads to an improper distribution of the load on the spine and affects its bends. Because of it, you lean forward excessively to compensate for the load, which ultimately leads to the formation of the so-called “round back”. Excess weight also increases the load on the discs and articular surfaces.
What muscles should be emphasized if you want to strengthen the muscular skeleton and overall spinal health?
Oblique, transverse, rectus and lumbar muscles in the abdomen, as well as the square muscle of the lower back and paraspinal muscles for the back.
If a person has a backache, to whom should he turn first? What do you advise your patients to start recovery?
Most back pains are treated with traditional methods of treatment, which include rest, cold or heat, and medication. If the pain persists for several days or you feel numbness or weakness, you should contact your doctor.
Some causes of back pain that are not related to the spine may go unnoticed. Your doctor will help you choose the right treatment from the ones listed above. But if the patient came to me, then all of the above did not help.
What to do if your lower back hurts after training: 10 rules for a healthy back
Maintain the health of your body and the right weight, exercise regularly and avoid a sedentary lifestyle, which will reduce the risk of back injuries and related pain. The more you move, the healthier you will be.
2 quit smoking
Nicotine contained in cigarettes alters the chemical structure of the intervertebral discs, which makes them prone to rapid dehydration. They become brittle and wear out quickly. Here is another reason to quit this stupid habit.
3 Keep your posture always
For most of our daily lives, we have to sit, often for a very long time. Dr. Highsmith recommends that you position the computer screen at eye level, and the chair should be suitable for your height so that when sitting, the knee angle is 90 degrees.
4 Take regular breaks if you have to sit for a long time
“Regular short breaks are better than long and long breaks,” says Dr. Highsmith. A couple of minutes of walking every half hour will help ease the pressure that the spine gets when you sit.
5 Use less phone and laptop
"A laptop is considered an extremely non-ergonomic thing," says Dr. Highsmith. With excessive use of a mobile phone, when a person’s neck is constantly tilted or turned sideways, the posture deteriorates and an additional load on the spine is created. To avoid these problems, it is recommended to use a special Bluetooth headset that will help relieve your neck and spine.
6 Strengthen all muscle groups in this area
If you have back problems, this does not mean that you need to focus on only one muscle group, for example, the abdominal muscles. The back muscles should also be strengthened, so combine different types of exercises correctly and maintain their balance. If you do forward bends, then do not forget to do exercises for the back muscles (hyperextension).
7 Watch your body posture during sleep
Dr. Highsmith recommends sleeping on your side and on a firm but comfortable mattress. The embryo's posture relieves stress from the back. Between the legs you can put a small pillow, which will help relieve tension from the hips. The worst posture for sleeping is a pose on the stomach, it leads to curvature of the spine.
8. Do not ignore various symptoms or pain.
When back pain starts, you probably continue to do what you do, regardless of the pain or discomfort. Dr. Highsmith advises to stop all activities, give your back a rest and start taking anti-inflammatory drugs. If there is pain in the legs or weakness, you should consult a doctor. If you have problems with urination or intestines, immediately contact the emergency department.
9 Help the recovery process
If back pain does not greatly limit your mobility, then do light physical exercises, go swimming or walking. This speeds up the recovery process and also reduces the risk of further damage to the drive.
10 Avoid Some Exercise
Although Dr. Highsmith recommends physical activity that strengthens the back muscles and restores the body, some types of exercise should be avoided for back pain. Army presses, when the bar is lifted above the head, and lunges with dumbbells in the hands are not recommended. “Running can also be risky,” he says. Not only your back needs love, but also your heart and lungs, so do not forget about cardio exercises.