Overcoming Back Pain During Exercise

Since back pain during exercise is common today gym users and trainers should be taught to identify the warning signs which are indicators that the body is at greater risk of injury. Once recognised, modifications to correct the situation should be put in place immediately. 

Some common causes of back pain when exercising could be:

Muscle imbalances: 

When a muscle becomes short and tight, the antagonist (opposite) muscle(s) often becomes long and weak and this creates an imbalance in the body. To quickly determine if this is the case, simply try stretching any tight muscle in the region where you're feeling discomfort. If this helps your performance, you're probably balancing your muscles. If the relief is only short-term, you may need to stretch the tight muscles between each set while resting. The body often learns these faulty recruitment patterns so you will have to repeatedly stretch these tight muscles(s) until it re-learns the correct recruitment sequence. If this doesn't work, you'll need the help of a skilled practitioner or rehabilitation professional that is trained in assessment of the musculoskeletal and visceral systems. 

Bulging Discs:

Its estimated that up to 70% of the population has an undiagnosed bulging disc in the neck or back. Yet, many of these people have no pain! 

A sign of a disc bulge  is that flexion of the spine (forward bending) will increase the bulge, moving it toward a pain sensitive nerve root or the spinal cord. If your pain begins  in the region of the spine and progressively moves down and away from your spine to include the hip, shoulder or arm, you may have a disc bulge compromising nerve tissue or the spinal cord. It would be recommended to discontinue flexion exercises until a qualified medical professional helps to determine if you have a disc injury. 

Faulty recruitment of muscles: 

Faulty recruitment  of muscles may be due to muscle imbalances, pain, inactivity or poor fitness training. Faulty recruitment of muscles around the joints exposes the joint involved to excessive compression and torsion leading to inflammation, pain and injury.

Pain in any muscle or joint can cause the muscle to 'shut down' and if this goes unattended for a period of time the body will then adapt by using other muscles in efforts to stabilise the area. In time, this places enough stress on the body so that either the joint you injured, the muscles that are now over working, or other joints being incorrectly stabilised because of fault recruitment, become painful. If you can't track your problem to a given incident , it could be any number of related issues. If this sounds familiar, we would recommend visiting a professional for an assessment. 

Performing any exercise that hurts only makes things worse, sometimes much worse!

If you have been assessed by a physician and have been discharged and given the go-ahead to continue exercising, yet still have low back pain, you can drop in to visit us where we can book you in for a 1-2-1 session of stretching and core strengthening exercises that will help you to manage any long term back issues. 

You may find that with as little as two weeks pain can start to ease off with the correct stretching techniques, improved core function and improving your diet.

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