How to help your back effectively

To prevent back pain, the goal is to develop and maintain toned muscles with exercises that involve different muscle groups – in particular the dorsal and abdominal muscles.

Muscle imbalance

Often, back pain is due to muscle imbalance, in which certain muscles are more developed than others. Muscle weakness also can cause back pain. If the structures that make up and support the spine are not stimulated, they will degenerate more quickly. For instance, hypertonia of the abdominal muscles results in less containment of the bowels and an increase of pressure on the intervertebral discs.

Simple everyday stretching

To ensure that the spine works correctly, maintaining elasticity is essential. Dedicating a few minutes every day to some simple stretching exercises is important and beneficial. Toned and supple muscles are essential to protect the spine against any imbalances.

Minimising risks when exercising

If you do particular sports, you’re more at risk from direct injuries due to falls or blows and if you perform an exercise incorrectly, you can create musculoskeletal disorders. Some movements, such as twisting of the upper body with weights in your hands, are harmful to the spine. To limit the risks avoid workouts or activities that are too intense and make sure movement s are performed correctly.

Choosing an engaging activity

To feel the benefits of a stronger, healthier back, it’s important to choose an activity that you like and is very engaging. Physical activity can be varied by duration, intensity, and frequency. If you normally have a sedentary life, you should start with activities such as walking, cycling or swimming. Don’t rush to reach high levels of performance; it’s better to gradually increase the intensity of training so you don’t excessively overload the body.

Training should be increased gradually so your muscles become stronger, more resilient and elastic and able to withstand and respond to traumatic events better.

The importance of good shoes

It’s important to have good shoes, especially when running where the back needs to withstand the impact of running on the hard ground. Shoes must be comfortable and have good cushioning. It’s not always true that running is a cause of back pain due to continuous micro traumas that affect the spine; back pain is usually due to the shoe's loss of cushioning capacity or because the foot does not fall properly on the ground or because of an incorrect movement. It’s better to choose a surface that’s not too hard and running on natural surfaces are best.

It’s ideal to do some specific exercises for the back, maybe during warm-up or cool-down. If you play asymmetric sports, such as tennis, it is recommended to do exercises that compensate for the muscles on the opposite side that are used less.

 

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Read An introduction to help your back
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