Why Your Back Hurts & How To Fix It
As one of the most common reasons for doctors visits, frequency of back pain is sky rocketing. Both active and inactive people will experience back pain at some point within the year and it’s estimated that 5/10 Canadians suffer back pain within a six month period.
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As moms, it’s not uncommon for us to grumble about our backs. We pick up, lift, twist and bend all day every day. And aside, from serious medical conditions (slipped and herniated discs, osteoarthritis etc) most back pain is caused by two things:
Poor Posture and Improper Movement Mechanics
Cause #1: Poor Posture
This is one of the most overlooked causes of chronic back pain especially in moms and pregnant ladies (I’ve actually touched on this posture here). Beginning during pregnancy, our center of gravity shifts to accommodate a growing baby. This shift makes our posture (which was probably not great to begin with) even worse. It causes our shoulders to round and low back to sway.
Outside of pregnancy, even those of us who are active lead fairly sedentary lifestyles and daily tasks like involving sitting (to eat, to drive, to relax) affects the way our muscles function. Throughout our day we lean forward frequently which causes our chest muscles to become chronically tight and out upper backs unable to do their job. Our posterior chain becomes under developed and all of it adds up and leads to back pain.
Cause #2: Poor Mechanics
As I mentioned, as moms we lift, twist, bend and pick up all day long. Unfortunately, all of those movements require a sound technique and a strong musculature. Picking up kids, moving furniture and playing can easily leave you with some low back tenderness when you fail to use proper movement patters and the necessary muscles (I’ve written before about why we need to learn to pick things up properly!)
If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed- it’s okay! With the exception of medical conditions, back pain is pretty preventable if you put in the time and effort.
In fact, the number one thing you can do to prevent your back hurting is strengthen your posterior chain (back of the body).
Creating a strong back of body allows your muscles to pull your body back into alignment and spread some of the force more evenly.
Learning to pick things up properly (using a hip hinge or squat) is crucial to preventing any injury to your low back. Meaning, strengthening the muscles of the back of the body is crucial. My two favorite things to focus on when preventing back pain are: contracting the glutes and learning to hip hinge
Learning how to make your glutes strong and contract them has a host of benefits but one of the biggest is their help in posture. Glutes are part of the posterior chain but also the pelvic floor. They help keep your pelvis in proper alignment, keep you upright and move correctly (and yes they can look pretty!). Glutes are beyond important and one of my all time favorite body parts to train.
Check out six of my favorite glute exercises here.
Learning to hip hinge is crucial as a mom and as a person. It’s a basic movement that we seemed to have forgotten and evolved out of.
When you hinge from the hips you strengthen the back of the body and shift the weight back there also. Allowing your muscles to lift the object instead of the ligaments in your low back helps prevent lifting injuries.
I’ll be chatting about my favorite drills to teach and train the hip hinge in a couple weeks so peek back- but in the meantime check out the video below!
As moms, we’re moving all day long. But rarely are we moving correctly. Instead of using our muscles and proper mechanics we rely on our joints, tendons and ligaments. This is a recipe for disaster and, as you know all too well, back pain. Instead work on building strength, improving posture and becoming proficient in basic movements and your back pain will be far less.