Helping to prevent lower back pain

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One of the main complaints I get from office workers is that they experience lower back pain. This is also true of many people who travel a lot or whose job involves spending a large proportion of their day seated slumped over a keyboard. Whilst its not an overnight fix, there are several things you can do to improve the situation.

lower back pain

One of the main issues is that spending large amounts of time in this position leads to shortening of the hip flexors and the Rectus Femoris which attaches to the front of the pelvis. With these being tight, and the muscles at the back of your body (glutes, hamstrings, spine erectors) and your abdominals, not getting a lot of work, your pelvis can develop an anterior (forward) tilt. This, in turn, can lead to a arching of the lower back which is uncomfortable.

How to correct it…
1 – Strengthen your weaker muscles
Spend time in the gym focusing on strengthening the muscles that need the most work (hamstrings, glutes, spine erectors). Exercises like deadlifts, weighted hip thrusts, walking lunges, back extensions all work these muscles effectively. Avoid over doing exercises like leg extensions and the static bike as these will tighten the muscles that are already tight. Getting your abdominals stronger will also help, avoid doing 100’s of crunched though if your back hurts as many people feel this only hurts more. Instead focus on exercises such as the plank and mountain climbers.
2 – Get your glutes working effectively before you exercise
Warm up by doing band walks, hip thrusts, glute/ham raises to make sure your hamstrings and glutes are ready to work. If they are not used to being asked to work, chances are your quads will do a majority of the work before they get the chance.
3 – Stretch
Stretch your hip flexors and quads every morning when you wake up. Take the opportunity at work to walk around and stretch your legs.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but I believe that if you start to implement some of this advice on a regular basis you should start to see some improvement.

Hope this helps!


(note: this information may not be relevant to people with a pre disposed medical condition/spinal injury/scoliosis that is causing the pain. However if the problem is purely postural and muscular then it can be improved over time)

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