Are you sick of being stuck with a sore lower back after every exercise routine? Lower back pain is common throughout the United States both as a symptom of intense exercise and chronic pain. Read on to discover some simple stretches and tips for avoiding and alleviating lower back pain.
Start with a Warm Up
Image source: NHS UK Live Well
Every exercise routine should begin with a thorough warm-up. Starting out loose and warm is the best way to avoid injury. If you make the quick transition from sitting at a desk or behind a steering wheel to running several miles or lifting weights, you are greatly increasing your chance of injury. Warm muscles move and stretch more easily than cold and stiff muscles. Torn and pulled muscles often result from the sudden stretching or contracting of a muscle that was not ready to be moved so vigorously.
Lift with your knees and don’t slouch
Image source: Breaking Muscle Fitness
A serious weight-lifter knows that you cannot rely on your back to lift for you. Even if you stick to the resistance machines, ask a gym professional to explain how to use them accurately and safely without putting the strain on your lower back. If you use free weights, it is important that when you go to pick them up that you squat and keep your back straight so that your quads, hamstrings, and knees bear the majority of the strain. Keep good posture on cardio equipment too, to avoid making your back feel the strain of repetitive motion.
Image source: Men’s Journal Health & Fitness
You should always take ten to fifteen minutes to cool down no matter how quickly you feel you need to get in and out of the gym. First, spend a few minutes walking it off. Allow your breathing to return to normal. Then do some light mobile stretching like bringing your knees to your chest and doing low stretching lunges. Lastly, cool down with some sitting stretches like touching your toes in a pike position and leaning to each side while reaching overhead with the opposite arm. Do not overstretch sore muscles as this can make them worse. Pay attention to your body. When something feels wrong, then stop doing it.
Use heat to soothe sore muscles days later
Image source: Moji Heat Lower Back Wrap
Ice is the best for muscles immediately after working out, but if your pain and stiffness still linger two days after your workout, you might want to try applying heat. Heat helps healing by encouraging muscles to relax and by increasing circulation. Greater circulation allows your body to remove toxins and pump fresh nutrients to the area. Moist heat is said to be the best for alleviating pain. So, next time your back is acting up try applying a warm damp towel, a moist-heat heating pad, or soaking in a steam room or sauna.