One of the most common gym injuries is back pain. Whether you’re going hard on the elliptical or lifting some heavy weights, it can get you. But don’t let the fear of potentially hurting yourself keep you from working out, instead educate yourself on how you can prevent and treat back pain.
Preventing Back Pain
Working out, or keeping your back muscles strong, is actually one of the best things you can do to prevent back injuries. Back pain is more common in people who are not fit, so start exercising today. Of course, that doesn’t mean heavy lifting. Heavy lifting is a big cause of back injuries, so make sure you work your way up to it. Take it easy and listen to your body, and follow these tips to prevent back pain.
- Core Exercise. As mentioned, working out can help you build up strong muscles in your back to prevent injury. Participate in some low-impact exercise like walking or ellipticals to increase blood flow to the spine.
- A poor posture can lead to back pain. It’s important to pay attention to your posture throughout the day, especially if you work a desk job. Try to get up every hour or so and walk around. You can also set a timer on your phone to check your posture every once in a while throughout the day.
- Lifting weights is not a bad thing and can increase the strength in your back muscles. But it’s important to know the proper way to lift weights to avoid injury. If you’re unsure of proper weight-lifting technique, ask the trainer at your gym for some pointers.
- Overall health. Take care of your body and improve your overall physical health. Just as exercising is important, so are eating right and drinking plenty of water. Getting the nutrients that your body needs will help build up your strength too.
Treating Back Pain
Even if we do our best to prevent back injuries, they can still happen. Here’s a list of ways you can treat your back pain.
- See a doctor. If your pain is severe enough that it’s difficult for you to walk, then it is best to get a professional diagnosis on the problem. A doctor is going to be the best source for a treatment plan to get your back healed quickly.
- Rest is going to be your best friend when you have back pain (or worst enemy if you don’t like sitting still). Don’t keep working out or you’ll risk injuring your back further. Give your back a few days to rest and then start out slow, stopping if you feel any pain during exercise.
- Eat anti-inflammatory foods with plenty of fish oils. Avoid the grains and let your body focus it’s innate healing power on the real injury.
- Massage therapist. See a massage therapist or chiropractor to help work out any aches in the muscles or to realign your back. They can also give you some good recommendations for at home treatment.
- Icing your back can reduce pain, swelling and spasming, especially during the first 24 hours of injury. Apply ice for only 20 minutes at a time, and then wait an hour before reapplying.
If you’re ever in doubt about a back injury, the best practice is always to consult your doctor before trying to self-diagnose or treat. Take these tips into consideration and do what you can to prevent back pain from enjoying everyday life.