How To Train Through Lower Back Pain

Whether you train or not, lower back pain and dysfunction are the prices we pay for our modern lifestyle which needs us to be hunched over a computer or phone screen for the majority of the day. Lower back pain can severely limit your training ability and can even take you out of the game.

We would suggest that you don’t push through with your normal workouts on a blind stupor. The good news is, you can fix your back pain and don’t have to complain about it to everyone kind enough to lend you their ears.

Step 1 – Access The Severity

Every back pain is different and will have varying causes, severity, and solutions. While the majority of the back pain cases are due to incorrect posture and prolonged sitting, there are some cases where it’s best to consult a doctor.

If you are having any of the following symptoms, you shouldn’t delay calling your doctor –

  • Tingling or numbness
  • Diminishing sensation
  • Loss of motor control (inability to coordinate voluntary movements)
  • Loss of bowel or bladder function
  • Severe immobility- unable to walk

Step 2 – Classify Painful Patterns

The thing with back pains is that they’re not always permanent. Most people experience back pain while they’re doing a particular thing like bending down, turning around at the torso and lifting heavy stuff.

Your back pain can be classified into flexion or extension based intolerance. For flexion-based dysfunction, you should avoid sitting for too long and slouching. Hanging out in an extended spinal position for long durations can exacerbate your extension symptoms.

Step 3 – Say No To Heavy Front Loaded Hip Hinges

People with back problems should stay away from the exercises which exacerbate the tension on the lower back. There are no ways of elevating tension off the lower back while performing these exercises and we recommend not performing them until your back discomfort gets better –

  • Deadlift
  • Barbell Row
  • Good Mornings
  • Full Range Crunches/Sit-ups
  • Back Extensions
  • Low Bar Back Squat
  • Leg Press

Step 4 – Avoid Direct Spinal Compression

Confused? Let us explain. Direct spinal compression refers to loads placed on top of the spine, for example, a high or lower bar position while squatting. Compressive loading increases the tension on the lumbar spine and increases core instability due to the high center of gravity.

The phenomenon makes it one of the riskiest loaded positions for those recovering from spinal pains. The easiest way to keep the center of gravity low is by placing loads in the hands instead of the shoulders and back.

Step 5 – Use Dynamic Resistance Equipment

The bottom position on compound exercises like the squats, deadlifts and bent over rows place the lumbar spine at its most vulnerable position for injury. Using dynamic or accommodating resistances such as chains and bands can be incredibly effective in maintaining strength and enhancing performance while healing from an injury.

Accommodating resistances provide a slight de-load at the bottom of the movement as the chains coil on the floor and when the bands are relaxed. It also reduces shear forces, poor biomechanics and loss of core stability encountered during the amortization phase.


Are you suffering from back pain? Let us know in the comments below. Also, be sure to follow Generation Iron on Facebook and Twitter.



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