You lift weights. You eat a well-balanced diet, and maybe you even have a nighttime routine to optimize sleep. But you have back pain that you cannot seem to get rid of, no matter how healthy you try to be. You can drink bulletproof coffee and practice deep breathing before bed, but you can’t bio hack your way out of pain.
So, how do you get rid of your back pain? The first step is getting to the root cause.
The 3 most common reasons why you experience back pain are:
1. Bad posture
2. Incorrect weightlifting form
All three of these reasons result in tight hip flexors and the inability to properly activate your hamstrings and glutes.
Bad Posture + Inactivity
When you are inactive for long periods of time (i.e. sitting down, hunched over), your hips start to tighten and prevent your gluteal muscles from activating. When this happens, your pelvis becomes rotated which usually causes lower back pain. You are probably asking yourself, “Why do my hips tighten when I am sitting down?” Our muscles are meant to be both lengthened and shortened, but when you are in bad posture or sitting down for prolonged periods, your hips remain in a shortened position.
Incorrect Weightlifting Form
Another common way people hurt their back is from lifting with incorrect form. Incorrectly lifting weights excessively stresses back muscles. When you are constantly lifting in the wrong positions, your joints can only handle so much stress until they become irritated. Have you ever bent over to pick up a tiny object off the floor by hunching your back and locking your knees? You most likely felt an instant strain in your body when standing back up. This is because you bent at your waist, instead of squatting down to the floor with a straight back.
So, now that you know why people commonly experience back pain, how can you prevent it from happening to you?
1. Try to limit sitting down for extended periods of time. If your occupation requires you to sit for a long time, get up to take breaks. Stretch your back and hips for a few minutes or take a quick walk outside your building.
2. When you are sitting or standing, remain in good posture. Relax your shoulders away from your ears while retracting them back and pull your stomach in.
3. Focus on lifting weights with correct form. It is better to start light and focus on the mechanics of an exercise than try to lift heavy and hurt yourself.
If you are already experiencing back pain, check out this blog on how to fix your back pain.