Bodybuilding is a great way to sculpt and tone muscles, but the strain that it places on the body is sometimes too much to bear. Injuries are not uncommon among bodybuilders, and lower back pain is one of the most common problems experienced by lifters everywhere.
If you’re experiencing lower back pain, you don’t have to stop your workout routine. However, you should remember these tips that will help you manage your back pain and heal quickly. Warming up, stretching properly, and maintaining strict form will go a long way, but try these too:
Practice the RICE Method
For dealing with lower back pain and muscle injuries of all kinds, bodybuilders and doctors everywhere recommend RICE: rest, ice, compression and elevation. This tried and true combination of treatments will help to relieve your back pain and make sure that you recover as quickly as possible.
Rest will give your back the time it needs to heal naturally, ice helps to reduce swelling, compression keeps you from making any straining movements, and elevation ensures healthy blood flow. Always remember to RICE your injuries for a quick and healthy recovery.
Improve Your Form
Poor form is the number one cause of back injuries for bodybuilders, so practice improving your form both as a preventative measure and a method of insuring that your injuries don’t become more severe. Some exercises are more dangerous than others.
Performing bicep curls with bad form won’t do much more than reduce the exercise’s effectiveness, while an improperly executed dead lift could land you in the hospital. Work out with a spotter to check your posture. Use theraputic exercises to strength your weak points until overall form improves.
Choose the Right Exercises
When you’re dealing with lower back pain, some exercises are going to be more beneficial than others. Focus on exercises that improve flexibility in your back and strengthen the muscle groups that support your spine.
Abdominal exercises and hamstring workouts are great for helping your body support itself naturally, easing the strain on your lower back. Strengthening the glutes and mobilizing the hips also help support lower back health. The ‘core’ muscles around the spine should always be strengthened and lengthened to promote a healthy back.
Passive extensions and side bends are some of the best lower back stretches you can do. Dynamic warm-ups will help you prepare for exercise. Be sure to statically stretch those hamstrings after intense exercise. Yoga can also work wonders on a sore back.
Choose the right exercises to help prevent, manage and heal your pain.
Decrease Weight, Increase Reps
Lower back pain is often caused by putting the body through workouts that are too intense for it to handle. Lifting more than you can handle leads to excessive strain, and no good can come of it. In fact, we’ve seen in many studies that show adding high rep sets in addition to your heavier intense sets, promotes recovery and increases stamina.
Be sensible about pushing your limits and opt for less weight with more reps when you are dealing with lower back pain. This will help to keep your muscles strong without straining your back and compounding your pain.
Try an Inversion Table
The inversion table uses gravity to relieve pressure on the spine. Medical professionals and physical therapists recommend inversion tables to decompress the spine, which allows for better flow of spinal fluid and repair of the spinal discs. Spinal compression can sometime be the cause of back pain, headaches, tight muscles, and so many more issues that can result in serious injury.
Inversion tables are said to help fix the spine as well as other joint issues, while also helping the respiratory system, CNS recovery, and mental state including an over-all improved sense of well-being. There are many inversion tables on the market but not so expensive to bring one into your own home. Check out this list of the best inversion tables for back pain relief and you’ll see that you can get a quality device for under $100.
Consult with Your Doctor
If you’re already injured, the first thing to do is consult a medical professional. Getting a correct diagnosis for a physical injury is the first step towards recovery.
If you are working through soreness or trying to be proactive about back health, and all else fails, still consult a medical professional. Whether your lower back pain is relatively minor or severe is hard to judge. You might require physical therapy and advanced pain management in order to overcome your injury, so it is always best to consult with your doctor about your pain management strategy.
Your doctor will be able to provide a detailed diagnosis and time-line for recovery, making sure that your injury is treated properly. Consult with your doctor about injuries, and always follow the doctor’s orders.