OH, MY ACHING BACK
Out of nowhere...
How many times has it happened? You're going along, having a great day and then wham, all of a sudden you turn and you can't move. The pain rips through your body, taking your breath away and you wonder what hit you. Straightening up is impossible, breathing is almost impossible - what can you do?
We've probably all experienced this scenario to a greater or lesser degree at least once in our lifetime. What causes it? How do you deal with it? It's often difficult to determine what exactly causes back pain, suffice to say that in many instances it is due to a lack of strong back muscles. Dealing with it depends upon the individual. Some people rely on pain medication and physiotherapy, others chiropractic, some acupuncture or massage. Sometimes a combination of all disciplines are applied, it just depends upon the individual and their frame of reference.
Protect your back
How can we protect our backs and stave off the possibility of back injury? There are a few things we can do to strengthen our backs and hopefully avoid a painful experience.
Remember that your back is your "other" abdomen and your abdomen is your "other" back. What that boils down to is ensuring that when you do strengthening exercises for your abdominal muscles, that you balance them out with some strengthening exercises for your back. As a rule, we tend to focus on tight abs, often at the exclusion of the back muscles. So, incorporate lower and mid-back exercises as part of your regular workout.
Bend with your knees, not from your waist. This is a big one for most of us. We want to bend from the middle and scoop up whatever needs to be lifted. The end result can be a pulled muscle in the back. So, bend from your knees, lowering yourself, and using your legs to lift the weight you've picked up. That may require that you do a little work on those legs, getting them stronger and sturdier.
If the box you want is high above your head, don't climb on the counter, get a proper ladder or stool to stand on. If it's heavy, ask someone else to do the lifting for you. Lift what you can, and use a safe and proper method. Be sure your muscles are strong and supple, and ask for help if you need it. Your back will thank you for it.