Combatting Back Pain: Understanding and Relief
Back pain is a common issue that affects many, yet few take active steps to address it. The lower back and neck-shoulder regions are particularly vulnerable. Roughly one-third of individuals experience these discomforts, which can be effectively managed. Here's how to bid farewell to back pain.
Back pain can stem from various origins, but certain culprits stand out:
- Excessive Sitting
From breakfast to work, followed by TV time – our days involve prolonged sitting, often interspersed with minimal movement. Long periods of sitting, particularly at a desk or during extended car rides, create an imbalanced strain on the spine, especially on intervertebral discs. Additionally, leaning forward to view computer screens contributes to neck-shoulder tension.
- Inadequate Physical Activity
The musculoskeletal system, with its bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and spine, constitutes the body's largest system. However, our modern lifestyle leads to underutilization or engagement in repetitive, one-sided postures. Even when sedentary, a minimum of one hour of daily movement is essential.
- Psychological Stress
Work-related stress and pressure don't only affect mental well-being and blood pressure; they can also cause muscle tension. This often culminates in significant pain, such as neck and shoulder discomfort resulting from muscle strain and pressure.
Strengthening and Stretching
To prevent and alleviate back pain, strength training is touted as an optimal approach. A robust musculature, especially in the back region, can better endure strain. Although it's sometimes suggested that well-toned neck and shoulder muscles deter poor desk postures, this notion is partially accurate. While strengthening weakened muscles is essential, equal importance lies in stretching shortening muscles. The latter can also contribute to back pain. Maintaining proper and pain-free movement necessitates a balance between different muscle groups. Therefore, relying solely on strength training may not effectively resolve back issues. Adequate stretching and loosening of shortened muscles are equally vital. Consider the following exercises:
- Rowing Exercises
These draw the shoulders backward, promoting an upright posture. Different parts of the back are engaged depending on the exercise's form, which can be performed using a cable pulley or machine.
- Shoulder Circles
Ideal for quick breaks, this exercise alleviates shoulder tension. While sitting upright, perform large backward circles with each shoulder, then both together. Engage in this exercise for at least a minute to enhance blood circulation in neck muscles.
Utilizing the full trunk and engaging deep-seated muscles, forearm-supported planks prevent sagging of the back. Ensure your elbows are beneath your shoulders and your abdomen remains tight.
Targeting the lower back, this exercise involves lying on your stomach and simultaneously lifting your arms and legs off the ground. Hold the elevated position briefly before returning to the starting position.
Stretching exercises are crucial to relieve tension in contracted muscles. Recommended stretches encompass upper and lower back stretches, glute stretches, neck muscle stretches, shoulder stretches, and chest muscle stretches.
John Harris Fitness provides various courses aimed at alleviating and preventing back pain:
This 60-minute course focuses on training the back, glutes, and abdomen. Emphasizing surrounding and deep-seated muscle groups, the course incorporates both strengthening and stretching for enhanced flexibility. Suitable not only for individuals with existing back pain, this course is ideal for proactive maintenance to prevent discomfort.
This Swiss concept combines modern insights from movement science with elements of breathing, concentration, and relaxation. Antara® enhances back strength while improving body contour.
Ideal for post-intense workouts or to counteract the strains of a demanding lifestyle, fascial training targets the body's own fascia network – akin to a web of tissues. Training these tissues relaxes connective tissue. Perfect for athletes and those who frequently experience tension due to prolonged static postures, this training may initially feel strenuous but concludes with profound relaxation and balance.