Experiencing lower back pain but not sure what’s causing it? Actually, there are a number of culprits to look for or it can be a combination of things. Read on to learn about some of the potential causes for lower back pain.
Potential Causes for Lower Back Pain
If you’ve been weight training recently and experiencing lower back pain, you might first question your lifting form. Even the slightest mistake in form while lifting a significant amount of weight can cause spinal injury so it’s imperative to make sure your form is correct.
Dead lifting and squatting are by far some of the most dangerous exercises you can do in the gym if you are doing them improperly. By no means am I saying you should not do these exercises. I am merely saying you must perform them correctly before you load up your spine with weight. Shear and compression forces during these exercises can cause disk herniation, hernias, pulled muscles, and much more. Consult your personal trainer to ensure you are doing lifts properly.
Tightness and tension can be a cause for lower back pain. Try an active flexibility warmup to loosen up your back muscles so you don’t overexert yourself during your workouts.
Core strength plays a vital roll in keeping your back feeling great. Having a strong core aids in keeping the spine stable and straight, which is essential for preventing injuries like disk herniation. When we think of core, most of us probably think about doing a billion crunches right? Well let’s just put some things to rest right away. STOP DOING CRUNCHES. There are a number of different core workouts to get the desired outcomes.
Core training has evolved into something much more more beneficial and safe based on scientific research rather than just following the next internet fad that says “get six pack abs quick.” Here is another tip. STOP WATCHING YOUTUBERS. The fitness world is saturated with people that keep doing exercises that have been proven to be dangerous and not beneficial to the general population.
When we talk about core training instead of thinking about crunches, I want you to start thinking “ANTI.” Your core’s main purpose is not to move you. Your core’s purpose is to keep you stable. This is the opposite of how you see most people train core in the gym because they are looking for the “burn.” Proper core training should include anti-extension, anti-flexion, anti-rotation, and anti-side flexion of the trunk/spine.
It does not matter what movement you’re doing, your core is always involved. Sitting up, sitting down, picking something up, your core strength affects your core posture and your core posture affects the structures of your spine.
Believe it or not, your shoulder can cause lower back issues. Often times it is in the case of using a barbell. When we place a barbell on our back, we need our arms to stabilize the bar. If we can’t rotate our arms enough to hold the bar and keep the spine straight, then we we usually compensate for that lack of motion by straining the lower back.
Hip immobility is the next culprit. The knees, hips, and ankles are the main joints that must be mobile and stable at the same time. Most often the hips are the largest problem. The muscle of the hips can become very tight from prolonged sitting or lack of stretching. As a result, these tight muscles restrict range of motion and cause our body to compensate in another way. Again, your lower back or knees are going to pay the price.
Sitting posture is another one of the major problems in today’s culture. There are many desk jobs that involve sitting all day behind a computer. Take a look at the picture below. This is spinal flexion. Spinal flexion is one of the leading causes for disk hernation. Sitting is the new smoking. Remember when I said to stop doing crunches? You’re doing spinal flexion every time you do a crunch.
Sleeping posture can also have a dramatic effect on how you start your day. We are all guilty of this at some point. This is the same idea as sitting posture. Our back is not in a good alignment, which can cause us problems down the road with abnormal curvature of the spine. Find a mattress or pillows that keep your spine in perfect alignment when you sleep.
If your lower back pain persists, see your doctor or a specialist. If you would like to learn more about these causes for lower back pain, come see me or another personal trainer for a fitness consultation.
Matthew has a B.S. in Sports and Exercise Science from Wisconsin Lutheran College, is an American College of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer, and Certified in Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS). He specializes in Sports Performance, Strength and Conditioning, Injury Prevention, Health and Wellness, & Functional Training. Matthew lives by the philosophy of “Anything worth having is worth fighting for” – Susan Phillips and he believes that if you want something, then go get it, and don’t stop till you do.