Hey folks! If you’re like me, you’ve probably felt a twinge in your back after a workout and brushed it off, thinking it’s just a normal part of getting in shape. But did you know that some exercises, if done incorrectly, could be causing more harm than good? Today, I’m sharing 8 signs your exercise routine might be hurting your back. And if you’re already suffering from persistent back pain, I’d recommend checking out my back pain coach for a unique approach to relief.
1. Persistent Soreness After Workouts
It’s natural to feel a bit sore after a particularly intense workout, especially if you’re pushing yourself harder than usual. However, if you find that your back soreness is lasting more than 48 hours after your workout, it might be a sign that your exercises are not back-friendly.
2. Sharp Pains During Movement
Feeling a sharp, stabbing pain during a particular exercise? That’s your body’s way of telling you something’s not right. Don’t push through the pain. Instead, stop the exercise and reassess your form or consider replacing that movement altogether.
3. Reduced Range of Motion
If you’re noticing a decreased range of motion, such as not being able to bend or twist as far as you used to, your exercise routine might be the culprit. Over time, doing exercises incorrectly can lead to muscle imbalances that restrict movement.
4. Reliance on Back Braces or Pain Relievers
Finding yourself reaching for a back brace or popping pain relievers after each workout? That’s a major red flag. While these can provide temporary relief, they’re not addressing the root cause of the problem. If you want to strengthen your core without straining your back, this guide offers some excellent tips.
5. Tingling or Numbness in Extremities
Experiencing tingling or numbness in your arms or legs after a workout can indicate a pinched nerve in the spine. This can be caused by certain high-impact exercises or exercises that put too much strain on the lower back.
6. Difficulty Standing Up Straight
If you’re having trouble standing up straight after your workout, or you feel a deep ache in your lower back, it could be a sign that you’re putting too much strain on this area during your exercises.
7. Back Pain That Worsens with Activity
While some back pain can be alleviated with movement, if you notice that your pain is getting worse the more you move, it’s time to reevaluate your exercise routine.
8. You’re Only Working One Set of Muscles
A well-rounded workout routine will target all major muscle groups. If you’re only focusing on one area, such as the abs, and neglecting your back muscles, this can lead to imbalances that increase your risk of injury. And, speaking of muscle imbalances, if you’re trying to push past your limits and break through plateaus, be sure to do it safely. I found this article super helpful in guiding me on this.
Remember, it’s essential to listen to your body. If something feels off, don’t ignore it. Consult with a fitness expert or physical therapist to ensure that your exercise routine is safe and effective for your needs. Stay strong and stay safe!
The Importance of Proper Form
We’ve all heard it time and time again: “Focus on your form.” But why is it so crucial? Proper form is more than just about looking good while you exercise. It ensures that you’re targeting the right muscle groups and not putting undue strain on areas like your back. Every time you neglect proper form, you not only decrease the effectiveness of the exercise but also increase the risk of injury. For example, a simple squat, when done incorrectly, can shift the strain from the thighs and glutes straight to the lower back. Over time, this repetitive strain can lead to chronic issues.
Stretching: A Critical Component
In the rush to finish our workouts and move on with our day, stretching often gets overlooked. However, skipping this crucial step might be the very reason your back is feeling the brunt of your exercises. Stretching helps to increase flexibility, improve circulation, and can aid in muscle recovery. For the back, specifically, regular stretching can help maintain the health of the spinal discs, muscles, and ligaments. After every workout, take at least 10 minutes to stretch out, focusing on both the upper and lower back. You might be surprised at how much of a difference it makes.
The Role of Core Strengthening
Your core muscles – which include the abs, obliques, and even the muscles running along your spine – play a pivotal role in supporting your back. Think of your core as the stabilizing center of your body. When these muscles are weak, it puts an added strain on your back, especially during exercises. Integrating core-strengthening exercises into your routine doesn’t mean you have to do hundreds of crunches. Moves like planks, bridges, and even some yoga poses can help engage and strengthen the entire core region. A strong core not only helps protect your back but also enhances your overall exercise performance.