If you’re experiencing low back pain, it might not be your fault. In fact, the blame could lie with your gym program. Gym programs are notorious for neglecting to warm up properly and many encourage a poorly balanced workout. This can lead to all sorts of problems, including low back pain. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most common causes of low back pain in gym-goers, and we’ll offer some solutions to help you avoid it.
Why Do Gym Programs Cause Lower Back Pain?
There are a few reasons why gym programs can cause lower back pain. First, many programs tend to focus on one body region per session. This means that if you’re working your legs one day, your upper body the next, and your core the next, you are essentially putting yourself at risk of over training . Alternatively, you could be working exclusively on your back muscles and putting too much strain on them. It is important that all of the muscles are equally strengthened in order to support the skeleton and avoid pain.
Second, many gym exercises are seated or bent over positions. These put a lot of strain on the lower back and can cause muscle imbalances. Although these exercises can be beneficial when performed correctly, they should be used sparingly particularly if you have a history of low back pain. If your gym program contains too many of these movements, you are likely to injure your lower back. Injuries like disc bulges, sacro-iliac sprains and joint pain can occur and re-occur.
Thirdly, complex movements like deadlifts or heavy squats are often done at the beginning of the session. The logic is that you are better off doing these movements when you are not fatigued. However, if your muscles have not had a chance to warm up properly before attempting these exercises, you drastically increase the risk of lower back pain.
Finally, lack of a proper warm-up is common in people that are lifting weights. Warming up properly is essential in order to avoid injury. It is especially important when doing complex movements like deadlifts and squats. A proper warm-up will raise your body temperature, increase blood flow to the muscles, and loosen the joints.
What Problems Is Your Gym Program Causing?
If you are following a bad gym program, it could cause a number of issues with your back.
When some muscles are neglected while others are worked too hard, it can lead to imbalances. For example, if you neglect your core and legs and only focus on your upper body, your lower back is forced to carry more weight to support you, and this will lead to pain.
Over shortening muscle
If a muscle is over-shortened, it can pull on the bones and joints, causing pain. This is often seen in people that do too many seated or bent over exercises. The hip flexors are a common example of a muscle that can become over-shortened.
Discs act as shock absorbers between the vertebrae in your spine. When you put too much strain on them, they can become compressed, which can lead to pain.
Annular tears and sciatica
An annular tear is a tear in the outer layer of the intervertebral disc. This can cause sciatica, which is a condition where the nerve that runs from the lower back to the leg is pinched. This can lead to pain, numbness, and tingling in the leg.
How Can You Avoid Lower Back Pain?
There are a few things you can do to avoid lower back pain by adjusting your gym program.
The most important thing when doing exercise of any kind is to warm up. This is especially true when you are doing weight exercises that put a lot of strain on the back. A proper warm-up will raise your body temperature, increase blood flow to the muscles, and loosen the joints.
Focus on all muscle groups
Don’t neglect any muscle group when working out. This includes both upper and lower body, as well as the core. All of these muscles need to be equally strong in order to support the skeleton and avoid pain.
Use exercises that don’t compress the discs
There are a few exercises that put a lot of strain on the discs in your spine. These include deadlifts, squats, and bent over rows. If you have lower back pain, it is best to avoid these exercises. Instead, focus on exercises that strengthen the muscles around the discs without putting too much strain on them.
Take rest days
Rest is just as important as exercise when it comes to avoiding lower back pain. If you are lifting weights every day, your muscles and discs will not have a chance to recover. This can lead to further injury and pain. Make sure to take at least one day off per week, and more if you are dealing with an injury.
Seek advice if pain persists
If you notice persistent pain after working out at the gym, it’s crucial that you seek advice instead of ignoring it.
Get in touch with Waterloo Chiropractic today and we can help you identify the cause of your back pain and prevent it in the future.