My tip for someone with an active job dealing with back pain is to stop stretching your back by forward folding and to start a core strengthening regimen, like pilates or weight lifting.
Being active doesn’t always equate to being strong.
Because the stabilizing muscles around our spine and lower back can get overused quickly when there isn’t enough mobility in the muscles in the front of our bodies combined with weakened core musculature.
Here is how to get rid of back pain:
1. GET TO THE HEART OF THE ISSUE: UNDERSTANDING
The hip flexors are muscles that originate in the front of the pelvis and insert into the lumbar spine in your lower back.
When you sit, this muscle is shortened in length.
And when sitting for prolonged periods of time (like so many of us do), these muscles will get frozen in that position and will start to pull on your lower back thus causing back pain/discomfort.
This is the cause of most peoples back issues.
2. WHAT YOU CAN DO
The best thing to do for these tight (and shortened) muscles is to stretch them with a hip-flexor stretch.
Get into a deep lunge position, with your back knee on the floor. Now do a little belly crunch to tuck your pelvis under (or posteriorly) to give yourself a flat back.
This will increase the stretch in those hip flexors.
Muscles take a minimum of 20 seconds to start to relax and release, so hold this position until you feel the muscle letting go.
I call that the “taffy moment.”
3. DON’T MAKE IT WORSE
Many people will intuitively think that because it’s their back that is bothering them, that they should stretch it.
This is exactly what you should stay away from.
So avoid any forward bending stretches, as this will aggravate the issue and keep you stuck in the pain cycle.
Your back muscles have actually been weakened by many hours/days/years of sitting and need time to be strengthened.
The deadlift is a great hinge pattern movement that will strengthen not only your back, but your whole posterior chain (back side).
Assuming there is no acute injury (like a herniated disk) and as long as the movement is done with proper form, this is the best thing you can do for your back pain.
4. STRENGTHEN YOUR CORE
Your “core” isn’t just your ab muscles, your “core” muscles are the ones that lay deepest and closest to your bones, called your intrinsic muscles.
You also have an extrinsic set of muscles, which are your “shell” muscles.
Those are the ones we see when we get “toned,” but it’s actually your core muscles that are your prime movers, and have to do with the stability of your bones and even posture.
To strengthen these muscles, start a weight lifting or pilates program that focuses on this.
If you’re not sure what to do, hire an excellent fitness professional with a great reputation to get you going.
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