The weather started changing a few weeks ago and now there’s a pile of leaves accumulating in your front yard. You get up, put a light jacket on, and grab your rake. After 20 minutes of raking you have a good sized pile going, so you grab one of your lawn bags and bend over to grab an armful. All of the sudden there’s a twinge in your lower back and exruciating pain.
You threw your back out...again.
Does this sound familiar?
We hear it all the time: “I threw my back out doing housework over the weekend, I think I need to take it easy for a few days.”
Back pain is nothing new, in fact over 31 million Americans experience back pain each year. This is an astoundly large number considering there are multiple things you can do to prevent back pain and throwing out your back.
We know back pain is some of the worst pain out there and can negatively affect your life in multiple days, which is why today we’re going to talk about what you can do to prevent throwing out your back,
Before we talk about how to prevent it, let’s talk about what’s causing it:
Just like electronics, the more you use something in your body in the wrong way the more it breaks down. Household chores over the weekend like the repetitve motion of raking leaves or picking up grocery backs can cause wear and tear on your back. Even things where you’re in one position for too long, like gardening, can throw your back out of whack and cause undo exertion. Then, you move too quickly doing something and you throw your back out.
Lack of movement
Sitting for long periods of time is not only normal, for a lot of us out there it’s a way of life! Many careers are centered around the computer, meaning the number one motion people make is just sitting and typing on the keyboard.
Sitting for too long can cause the discs in your lower back to compress, leading to sore muscles and ligaments. Not to mention, the more you sit the more your fascia locks your muscles in tendons into place, causing tightness that can contribute to throwing out your back.
Lack of movement also causes weakness in the areas that help hold our back in place: our core, upper back, glutes...this combination of weakened muscles definitely doesn’t help.
While this one seems a little obvious, most peole don’t practice good posture techniques. Having poor posture can throw your back over alignment, and the repetive nature of when we have poor posture (like sitting) can prevent alignment from going back into place naturally.
Now that we know what can cause you to throw out your back, let’s talk about some things you can do to prevent it from happening:
1. Lift heavy objects with proper form: When you have to lift heavy objects NEVER keep your legs straight and just bend over to pick something up. ALWAYS start with bending at your knees and maintaining a straight back the entire time.
2. Workout with the goal of weightloss: Extra weight on the body, particularly in the midsection, puts additional strain on the lower back. Losing weight can help lessen that strain and lower the chance of you throwing out your back.
3. Strengthen your core: You’ve got to strengthen those muscles if you want them to keep your back on track! Doing a few minutes of core exercises every day can work wonders when it comes to back health and back pain. Some of our favorites include planks, bird dogs, and dead bugs.
4. Improve mobility & motor control: Many times folks get injured because of poor movement patterns in the body. One of the best ways to prevent future injury is to find out what movement patterns you need improvement in and slowly begin working on them. The best way to do this is to find a professional that does Functional Movement Screens and can give you corrective exercises on how to better those movement patterns.
If you want to reduce the chance of throwing out your back and need help, reach out to us at 302-689-3489. We work with people just like you every day strengthing their core and improving mobility so that they can get rid of back pain.