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 – particularly the dorsal and abdominal muscles. 

Muscle imbalance

Back pain is often due to muscle imbalance, whereby certain muscles are more developed than others. Muscle weakness also can lead to back pain. If the structures that make up and support the spine are not stimulated, they will degenerate more quickly. Hypertonia of the abdominal muscles, for example, can result in a poorer containment of the bowels and increased pressure upon the intervertebral discs.

Simple everyday stretching

Elasticity is essential to maintaining a properly functioning spine.  Dedicating a few minutes each day to a number of simple stretching exercises is extremely important and beneficial. Toned and supple muscles are essential for protecting the spine against potential imbalances.

Minimizing risks when exercising

If you're involved in particular sports activities, you’re more at risk of direct injuries caused by falls or blows, and if you perform an exercise incorrectly, you can create musculoskeletal disorders. Certain movements, such as twisting the upper body with weights in your hands, can be harmful to the spine. In order to limit these risks, always avoid workouts or activities that are too intense, and make sure that the movements are being performed correctly.

Choosing an engaging activity

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

The intensity of the training should be gradually increased so that your muscles become stronger, more resilient, and more elastic, and will be better capable of withstanding and responding to traumatic events.

The importance of good shoes

It’s important to wear good shoes, especially when the back has to withstand the impact of running on the hard ground. Your shoes must be comfortable and must provide good cushioning. Back pain from running is not always due to continuous micro traumas to the spine; in fact, back pain caused by running is usually the result of the shoes' lack of cushioning, or incorrect movements resulting in improper foot placement. It’s always best to run on a natural surface that’s not too hard.

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

 

WANT TO KNOW MORE?

Read An introduction to helping your back
Read The benefits of helping your back
Read Questions & Answers