Low back pain... An American epidemic? I'd say so. I could provide you the metrics of population percentage experiencing this or the sheer amount of annual production loss within our work force, but those won't help YOU.
Allow me to offer 5 simple principles to help YOU reduce or avoid low back pain altogether:
1: Train the "Ab" muscles you can't see.
Our "Core", or torso better yet, is the epicenter of stability in movement and support for our spine. Easy anatomy lesson 101: Think of your body as an onion, and cut it in half. In that cross section of the onion, you'll notice rings, or layers. Those deepest inner layers are the equivalent to the muscles of your body that support your skeleton. Some have fancy latin names, but don't worry that. I know a place that can teach you how to train them :)
2: Practice mobility...STRETCH Actively!
Muscles are rubber bands, and they all meet and hang out at these cool patio bars called joints. By improving your joint mobility, then the area where those muscles begin and end will thank you for it...especially the ones around your hips and back! Less rubber band tug, less pain. Simple right?
3: Don't sit for long periods.
Duh. Move around dude. Whether it's a desk or couch, you're asking your hamstrings and hip flexors to remain shortened for extended periods. We also hunch over, creating elongation/weakness in your posture muscles. Yes, those muscles that begin near, or at, your lower back. Did we already forget lesson #2?!
4: Sleep the right way.
Easy rules of thumb, or pillow:
- Face down sleeper? Place pillow under your hips
- Face up Sleeper? Place pillow under your knees
- Side Sleeper? Place pillow between your knees
Why? All three pillow moves are meant to place your hips and spine in a position that's balanced, during something you do for 1/3 of your life. That's a TON of time.
5: Don't put yourself in a potential back pain situation.
That funky shaped furniture piece you "think" you can lift?! C'mon, why risk it? Playing basketball 5 days in one week, after not playing for 5 years?! Easy Einstein, you're not Lebron. Tread slowly back into things. Use logic and rationale, even though us humans are illogical :)
There you have it. This Fitness Professional's common sense advice for helping YOU not become a statistic.