Back pain has become one of the most common orthopedic issues across all active age groups with the United States spending more than $50 billion every year in treatment. Low back pain is one of the most common health problems in society and causes considerable disability, work absenteeism, and the use of health services. Back pain affects 50%-80% of people in their lifetime with 15%-30% suffering through it at any given time.
Major cause of back pain in the active population is either occupational or gym injuries. Moderate weight training helps develop back strength but overdoing can lead to back strain or even disc prolapse. Not only would a hurting back keep you away from gym, it would also bring a variety of other health issues as a result of the compensatory mechanism caused by back pain.
Things to remember
- Be Reasonable – This is the most important point to remember. Overextending or flexing the back muscles while lifting the weight can result in injuries like muscle strains/spinal injuries.
- Choose Wisely – While starting a new weight training program, the exercise chosen should focus on support.
- Warm-up and Cool-down – Appropriate warming up prior to working out and cool down afterwards is mandatory.
- Gradual Gradation – Start training with minimum weight and gradually increase the weights over time as you develop strength.
- Repetitions – You have the option of using less weights and performing more repetitions if you want to tone your body.
- Using Belt – During weight training, it is advisable to wear belt as it would protect the back during lifting weights.
- Movement Awareness – Jerky movements can apply undue strain on muscles so ensure you contract the muscles gradually and smoothly leading to a smooth movement during weight training.
- Consult a Physical Therapist/Trainer – Consulting an expert who would train you in the right technique of performing the movement is important.
Exercises should be started at a baseline where you are comfortable and gradually built up in duration and intensity as your body gets accustomed. The same principle applies to weight training. It will help you keep in shape and out of harm’s way provided you learn the right way to go about it. So stay safe and happy lifting!!