5 Common Mistakes Which Make Lower Back Pain Worse
Lower back pain is a BIG problem. As coaches, we come across a number of common mistakes clients make.
Identifying these common mistakes early and creating a game plan to avoid them will be key in resolving your lower back pain.
Mistake #1: Not understanding your pain triggers
If you are one of the unfortunate people who is predisposed to back pain, then the LAST thing you should do is walk into a gym and just start moving things around with the attitude “exercise is good for me!"
You need a game plan and this should start by understanding your pain triggers.
Get into the habit of writing a “pain journal” or “pain trigger list.” Log how your back feels pre-, during, and post-workout.
This will become a guide in understanding what exercises trigger your pain, and will enable you to plan exercise around your triggers, giving you relief and making pain a thing of the past.
And speaking of relief….let’s talk drugs. Yes, drugs can be helpful in a short-term setting, especially when you can’t sleep or function.
But taking the wrong kind or for too long can makes things worse because they mask your pain, leading you to overwork and injure yourself!
Mistake #2: Bad posture
Hunched over at your desk? Feel like you walk around stressed with your shoulders up by your ears?
Poor posture may be contributing to your back pain. You may not feel any issues after sitting with poor posture for a few hours, but over time the stress that poor posture places on your spine can lead to anatomical changes.
This in turn can provoke back pain through the constriction of your blood vessels and nerves. In addition, stress from poor posture can lead to back pain by causing problems with your muscles, discs, and joints.
Check out “How Bad Posture Can Decrease Productivity...and What to Do About It” by our head coach, which outlines some simple techniques you can work on to improve your posture.
Mistake #3: What’s a warm up?
Not warming up because you don’t have time, or not warming up properly before exercising, is asking for back pain!
If you don’t have time to warm up, you don’t have time to exercise. Warming up should be a crucial part of your exercise routine - it doesn’t need to take long, and can in fact be done efficiently.
Here are a few great videos that you can use to help build your warm up:
The 5 Most Effective Exercises to Start Your Day
Tight Schedule? Here is How to Build a 5-Minute Workout
If you can do only one thing to help to reduce lower back pain when working out, nailing your warm up is it.
Mistake #4: Too much sitting
Sitting at your desk? In meetings? At lunch? What about driving to and from work?
If you are like most people, the answer is a resounding “YES” and that all happens before you even get home!
I know you want to rest, and that’s okay, but try to be mindful of how much you sit.
Take regular short walks throughout your day. Go with a friend, breathe deeply, and go slowly. March in place.
If your job requires sitting, get up every hour and march for a minute. Why not have a walking meeting?
Stand up desks are also fantastic for alleviating lower back pain.
Mistake #5: Wrong exercises! (Sit-ups and stretching)
If you’re doing sit-ups or the wrong stretches, you could be doing more harm than good. Here are two exercises to avoid:
Sit-ups – You’ve no doubt heard that back trouble comes from a weakened core and that’s true, but sit-ups and their variations don’t necessarily help.
If you’ve got a disc problem, which is true for 70% of low back pain sufferers, sit-ups will make things worse.
Hamstring stretching – When your hamstrings are tight, stretching, believe it or not, is not always the best approach.
This is because it can destabilize your low back and make pain worse. It is much better to find out why your hamstrings are tight and fix that problem.
Having a Plan that Works
Now you know some of the mistakes people make that lead to back pain worsening. So, if these things don't help, what does?
Well, if you want to learn more about how to conquer stiffness and get out of pain, download our Body Fix Guide and learn the exact steps you need to take to start getting results now. This will include:
- How to prevent morning stiffness
- Key exercises to help your sore back
- 10 exercise you need to STOP doing
- How to get out of knee pain
- BONUS: How to nail your nutrition to help reduce aches and pains
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