Fitness blog – Injury Proof your Back

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I have seen many poor postures in resistance training over the years and almost invariably they cause injuries eventually – some debilitating. But all modes of exercise can cause injury, particularly to the back.

Four out of five adults suffer back pain at some time in their lives…and this suffering can last for many years. The two age groups who don’t suffer back pain are the very old and the very young. Older people don’t put themselves at risk but the young possess normal mobility before their skeletal system sets and the stress is shared along the long bones rather than the joints.

So this immobility of all the joints or an imbalance between oposing muscle groups causes the back pain through uneven stresses in the structures around the joints. The body conforms or adapts to its prevalent postures and because we sit for long periods of time in most jobs in the modern world this is our prevalent posture. The head tilts forward and the upper back and lower back are rounded; the hamstrings and hip flexor muscles are shortened as the body conforms to the seated posture. So better to get up and move around periodically to help your body – particularly the spine to move back into an anatomically balanced posture.

The most effective exercise modes to help keep your body balanced and maintain your mobility are Yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi.

To strengthen your Core muscles (the ones around your torso) are exercises such as Supine, Front and Side Bridges. Just one set of ten repetitions, each repetition held for ten seconds is all you need to strengthen these muscles as Base Strengthening exercises. Concentrate on keeping an anatomically straight back throughout the exercises  and to help this squeeze your core muscles as if bracing yourself as if someone is about to punch you. There are other exercises such as the McGill Curl Up – but that would need some explanation and demonstration to do it correctly. Keep away from the many varieties of Abdominal Curl Ups as they don’t work the core muscles naturally.

If you have back pain and want a natural remedy – without using drugs – then press two pressure points for one minute each several times a day. One point is at your waist line on either side of your spine. You can use your knuckles and if you feel that you need greater pressure, you can do this lying on the floor and place your hands, knuckles up under the natural curve of your spine under your waist. The second point is about two centimeters under your belly button and press five centimeters into your abdomen.

To ensure that you don’t get back injury from your resistance exercises always maintain a rigid core throughout your exercises. To help with this grip the floor with your feet; have slightly bent knees if doing a standing exercise; squeeze your butt muscles; ‘punch brace’ your core muscles as described above; drop your shoulders down and back slightly and keep your head is a balanced position over your shoulders. So keep this solid ‘block’ and move your limbs around this stable position.

Do exercises that work the whole body in a coordinated fashion but maintain a natural spine when you have no problems with your back and never bend your body from the waist but your hips and use your legs to move any weight off the floor.

 


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