Backs need our help, give it some back up.
Most of us know what it’s like to have a bad back. How debilitating it can be and painful.
So how can you look after your back over the years.
Nutrition and strength
If your fatigued then your form will be compromised and injury risk increases. Food and nutrition and recovery are essential. Foam rolling for lower legs, ankle, back, hips and glutes. If each of these areas is functioning correctly and lose then the impact on the back is reduced.
Tight hip flexors and quads cause pelvic tilt and this is a main reason the back can hurt as it compresses the spine. Also causes a Lack of strength in the glutes. Rounding upper body, sitting for prolonged period of time and running and cycling can cause this.
If you don’t do strength work or address posture throughout your life then the muscles will be imbalances causing postural distortion. This alone can cause back issues.
How can you help yourself?
If you spent 20mins a day foam rolling and stretching that would help to counteract the exercise and then the sitting down all day after. Making sure you move every hour so you don’t stiffen up. Mobilising joints before exercise and stretching after. Neglecting both of these increases risk of injury as the body isn’t prepared for the exercise and muscle imbalances are made worse. Stretching after exercise helps because if muscles aren’t stretched back out your more likely to stiffen up especially over time aswell. Pilates and core work can help to strengthen core muscles and the back. Pilates and yoga help to move the spine in directions it should be moved. We often just sit and stand straight we don’t move enough. The spine gets fixed in one place and compressed too often with sitting and lack of movement. This can cause weakness in the disks as they become constantly compressed. By moving we relieve the spine and constant pressure, sitting all day can cause 140% pressure in the spine. By getting up and moving and doing exercise we relieve that pressure for some time. Allowing the back to move and loosen. Strength exercises for the core decrease our risk of injury.
Pregnancy and postpartum
Our pelvis shifts when the bump gets bigger and this isn’t the time to be doing any personal bests in the gym or when out running. Just go how your body feels that day. Most pregnant women with no complications should be aiming to complete 30mins of exercise a day. Decreasing stride length on walks and runs help to reduce aches and pains. Low impact exercise like swimming and water aerobics is great.
Post pregnancy core and pelvic floor exercises are very important.
Lack of sleep, poor nutrition, stress and anxiety can all lead to back pain. Trauma and weakened pelvic floor and abdominals need to be strengthened and rehabilitated. If these weaknesses are ignored issues with urinating, sex, back pain, and prolapse can occur.
Making sure your not slouching or rounding your shoulders over young babies and children, causing postural distortion too. Strengthen back muscles and lower traps to increase strength in the back and stretch the muscles in the chest from lifting the children and rounding when breast feeding and having kids that demand you attention by leaning over and rounding.
During the menopause, hormonal changes can reduce bone density, and affect core and muscle weakness. This can affect the lower back. Therefore exercise is crucial for physical and mental health in this time. Attention to core and pelvic health throughout a women’s life is really important, some say even from teenage years. This reduces and prevents issues occurring later on.
Having a regular routine is important as from the age of 30 sarcopenia can occur, reducing muscle mass and strength. If we keep a regular routine of strength training then we reduce the impact the ageing process can make.
Post menopause women have an increased risk of osteoporosis and osteopenia so it’s important to keep up exercise to increase muscle and bone strength. A reduction in bone strength can lead to stress fractures and bone related injuries so gradual bone loading is recommended.