Top 8 effective ways to protect your back
Strength training exercises are at the heart of a gym addict’s training regime. And while they are extremely rewarding, they put enormous strain on the back muscles. This strain can lead to several complications such as muscle fatigue, soreness, spasms, sciatic neuralgia, etc. Though almost all strength exercises involve back muscles, protective measures can subside the risk of pain and injury significantly. Here are the top 8 most effective ways to protect your back.
As effective as they are, squats are one of the biggest causes of back injuries. Even though squats are pretty straightforward, compromising on their technique can lead to fatal injuries. If you want your squats to be productive and safe, it is necessary to execute the movement through the hips and knees. Also, it’s imperative to keep your back straight and not let it bend in either direction. If you feel like you have overworked your back muscles, it’s best to switch to exercises that are not too demanding for the back muscles.
Consume vitamin D
Vitamin D is one of the most important nutrients in maintaining bone health. Studies have found a strong correlation between deficiency of vitamin D and lower back pain. Along with improving the body’s absorption of calcium, it also makes the bones denser. Foods rich in vitamin D include:
- Fatty fish
- Egg yolk
- Beef liver
One of the most effective ways to protect your back: stretching
Stretching is one of the most essential yet neglected effective ways to protect your back. Along with improving flexibility, it also decreases muscle soreness. Physiotherapists have long been using stretching as one of the better exercises to alleviate acute back pain. A simple cat-cow stretch at the end of a hectic day can make a world of difference in protecting your back from chronic injuries. It is also widely regarded as one of the best post-workout activities and assists in easing the tension of muscles.
Grueling exercises like plank and deadlifts can tax your back’s mobility. It usually happens due to prolonged forward bending, incorrect posture, or fatigue. And while it may be hard for you to stay away from pumping iron, it might work to your benefit. Giving rest to your back muscles can give you a much-needed break while also keeping you fresh for your next crushing workout.
Apart from causing damage to the lungs, smoking also negatively affects the back. It causes disk degeneration which weakens the structure of the spine that leads to conditions such as osteoporosis. Also, it harms blood vessels causing inflammation and numbness in the lower back. While the side effects may take some to appear, once they start showing up, there’s no way back.
Quit smoking is thus one of the most effective ways to protect your back and your overall health!
Wear shoes with back support
As surprising as it may sound, inappropriate footwear is one of the biggest causes of back pain. What you wear plays a crucial role in the alignment and posture of your body. Shoes with cushioned soles provide a supportive base that helps in the re-alignment of the foot, leg, and back. In addition, they also diminish the impact of landing and absorb pressure that otherwise would have impacted the lower back. In contrast, flip-flops or shoes that have a negative heel can be harmful to your back.
Stress and anxiety usually cause muscles to tense, which can result in mid-back pain. Moreover, stress also increases sensitivity to all kinds of aches adding further insult to the injury. And while it’s almost impossible to stay stress-free at all times, activities that stimulate the production of endorphins can help you relax and lighten up your mood instantly. A 5-minute yoga session can go a long way in relieving stress and improving your body’s ability to cope up with pain.
Obesity has a strong co-relation with back pain. Added weight, especially in the form of belly fat, puts an extra burden on the back muscles, which tilts the spine and brings a plethora of complications. In some cases, it can lead to compressing the sciatic nerve, which can initiate excruciating back and leg pain. Losing fat can relieve your back from this extra burden and might also result in easing the pain altogether.
Conclusion: effective ways to protect your back
A lot of us don’t actively think about any possible issues with our back that we can encounter in the future. Only when it is too late, people often realise they should have handled things differently. Don’t be one of these people. There’s no doubt that back pain can be tormenting on its recipients. However, by taking precautions and adding these 8 effective ways to protect your back to your lifestyle, you can protect yourself from most chronic pains and injuries.
If you are experiencing back pumps you might also want to have a look on our in depth post on this matter.