You wake up one morning, and something just doesn't feel right.
Or maybe you turn at an odd angle to exit your car and feel something in your lower back "let go."
Or maybe nothing at all happened but by the end of the day you notice a dull ache in your back that definitely wasn't there before.
Welcome to the unfortunate world of low back pain.
The bad news is that pain in this region can affect nearly everything you do.
Most people say they didn't realize how frequently they engage their lower back during the day until they had pain in that area.
But there's good news too!
Download our Body Fix Guide and learn the exact steps you need to take to get out of pain and start getting results now.
First off, you're not alone. A large percentage of Americans will experience low back pain at some point in their life.
Secondly, there are comprehensive programs you can follow which not only help combat and alleviate low back pain, but can help build strength so you can prevent it in the future.
Oh, you say you've tried one of these before and it didn't work?
Again, you're not alone. This is one of those situations where what seems like a problem with a simple solution really isn't.
Doing a few stretches and taking your ibuprofen might help alleviate the symptoms, but it doesn't often address the cause.
This is why many low back pain programs simply don't work.
Let's go over what's happening here, so we can guide you to a better way of addressing your pain.
It's All About Mindfullness
Let's be honest here: even if you consider yourself pretty fit, you probably have a nagging suspicion that you could be doing a better job of stretching before and after your workouts.
It's okay – nearly everyone can benefit from spending a little extra time focusing on loosening up and preventing injury, but it becomes all the more important once you're experiencing lower back pain.
Serious question: how much time do you spend doing comprehensive, deliberate, and mindful stretching before and after your workout?
Do you give it a good 10 to 15 minutes both before and after, or are you more like most people who only spend as little as 60 seconds loosening up?
Stretching can get to seem like a bit of a hassle or a "waste of time." Believe us, it's neither of those things!
If you've just been quickly going through the motions, rushing through your stretching, or skipping it all together, the only person you're cheating is yourself.
Even those who seek out stretches for low back pain often find themselves not taking it entirely seriously.
To combat this tendency, go into your stretching exercises mindfully.
Set aside time just like you would for a workout and set an intention to do each movement fully and carefully.
You will begin seeing results this way!
Back Pain Sometimes Begins With Compensation
Sometimes lower back pain can be telling you something very important: namely that you may have limited mobility in either your hips, upper back, or perhaps both.
While very active sports like tennis, running, or rowing might tip you off to the problem, even something as gentle and low-impact as walking can begin to cause that familiar and unpleasant ache in your lower back.
This is because that muscle group begins taking up the work of other large muscle groups too.
One of the main functions of your lower back is to help stabilize you during your workouts.
If your hips or upper back are limited in how they can move, your lower back has to kick into overdrive to make up for the low mobility.
The best way to determine whether or not your back pain is being caused by compensation is to check in with one of our Los Gatos personal trainers or fitness coaches.
They can evaluate your mobility, posture, and strength, and can customize a plan to help you alleviate low back pain.
Your Posterior Chain Is Not as Strong as the Front of Your Body
Here is an often overlooked cause of low back pain: you're doing a lot to strengthen the muscles on the front of your body, but not enough to strengthen the muscles in the back.
This happens more often than you might think. Everyone's favorite at-home workout moves are usually things like squats, push-ups, and crunches.
These are all great, but they do tend to focus most of the effort in the front of your body.
Push-ups namely strengthen your arms and pectoral muscles, squats mainly strengthen your quads, and crunches mainly strengthen your abs.
What about your upper back, lower back, or calves?
What happens here is that the muscles in the front of your body become much stronger than the muscles along your posterior chain.
This means that your own muscles are pulling too hard on your back.
Take a few minutes to think about the types of activities you normally do and see how many times you can say you've actively engaged muscles along the back of your body.
If you think you may have been neglecting the posterior chain, it's time to talk to a fitness coach about a combined strength training and mobility workout.
There's no great secret to a successful back pain alleviation program. You just have to approach it intelligently.
Don't try to address an issue like this on your own; consult a doctor, check in with a personal trainer, and come up with a good solid plan.
Once you learn the root of the issue, you can then be fully focused on moving the right way and using the right muscles.
That's when you're going to see results and finally alleviate your pain, while also preventing future injury.
Want to learn how to conquer stiffness, get out of pain, and get back to doing the things you love?
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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Mint Condition Fitness is the leading personal training studio in Los Gatos for purpose-driven men and women to lose weight, get out of pain, and do more of the things that make life meaningful.