EXERCISE CAN RELIEVE OR EVEN PREVENT BACK PAIN

BACK pain affects 2.5 million people every day in the UK, is the reason for ten million sick days and stands as a leading cause of disability around the world. But what if exercise could help?

It’s part of a healthy lifestyle, but back pain puts many off being active.

According to the latest research from the British Chiropractic Association, 41 per cent of people have been prevented from exercising due to back or neck pain.

They found a quarter had been put off for up to a month, while nine per cent were discouraged from working out for up to half a year.

However, as with your mental and cardiovascular health – as well as numerous other benefits – exercise has the power to relieve, rather than exacerbate, back discomfort.

Pain in the lower back is particularly common – but it can be down to another part of our body entirely.

“It can be totally debilitating and the reasons for the pain are many,” said Lawrence Hannah, personal trainer and founder of Metabolic London (www.metaboliclondon.com).

“Often it may be down to common and unavoidable degenerative issues.

“However, before we are ready to write off our crumbling bodies we should be aware of one thing – our glutes.

 

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“It’s the biggest muscle group in our body and part of the core, but it’s remarkably often neglected and left dormant.

“However, when they are not firing properly, we are placing a greater demand on our lower back and therefore could well be contributing to lower back pain.

“The back is incredibly complex and the pain might not necessarily be down to inactive glutes, but it could well be.”

The glutes – properly known as the gluteus maximus – sit in our bottom, and should be the primary muscles used to carry the body forward and lower it down – more often than not we use the lower back to do this instead.

 

Back painBack pain: Foam rolling can release tension

 

Hannah recommends strengthening and activating the glutes by doing squats – taking care not to curve or bend back – lunges, and foam rolling over the area to release tension.

He suggests avoiding high-impact exercises that could create a jolt to the system, and doing strengthening exercises that will support the back.

If you haven’t yet experienced back pain, you can use fitness to prevent it.

Michael Betts, personal trainer and director at TRAINFITNESS (https://train.fitness/), said: “Do a combination of strength training exercises – such as bodyweight squats and lunges, then adding in barbells, and moving onto deadlifts – and stretching.

“The strength training is to ensure all the muscles are strong enough to maintain hip position and spinal stability throughout most movements.

“As we get older our muscles will get tighter over time. If we exercise, they will tighten even faster.

“Therefore stretching the muscles around the hip will ensure you have the mobility needed to prevent lower back pain.”

By Lauren Clark

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