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4 Workout Mistakes That Are Making Your Back Pain Worse

Updated: Feb 21

We’ve all experienced back pain. To be precise, 70-85% of all people are likely to have some form of back pain throughout their lives. Exercise has been well-studied as a way to both prevent and help restore back pain. But if done improperly, the same activities that one performs to strengthen and soothe their back may have the opposite impact.

If you’re suffering from back pain post workout, then it may be the outcome of a workout-gone-wrong and could result in long-term consequences.

The good news is that back pain isn’t difficult to undo. Here are four mistakes to avoid at the gym.

Mistake #1: Insufficient Warm-Up or Stretching

We get it, warm-ups can be boring. Sometimes it’s just too tempting to skip it and dive right into the main workout.

We all know we should do it, but due to a lack of time, space, or patience, it's all too easy to put it off. A thorough warmup, on the other hand, should be a priority if you have back discomfort.

Warming up allows your muscles and joints to take more force before reaching the damage threshold as tissue temperature rises, oxygen supply increases, and tissue becomes progressively more extensible. Stretching helps us by gradually extending the range of motion of the joints before engaging in more strenuous activity.

So, what is included in a proper active warm-up?

  • 5–15 minutes of mild to moderate aerobic exercises, such as incline treadmill walking or stationary cycling at low resistance

  • Leg swings and trunk rotations are examples of dynamic stretches that are focused on movement.

  • Warm-up sets of 2–3 repetitions of your first resistance workout

  • A good stretch routine after a workout involves three sets of 10-second stretches for each major muscle group.

Mistake #2: Neglecting the Core

We're not saying you're vain, but it's a reality that most individuals prefer to exercise the visible muscles. Regrettably, the muscles that support and preserve the spine aren't often the ones that make us look beautiful on the beach.

These muscles, which make up the all-important - stabilising core - create a box around the lumbar spine and abdomen contents. While it's easy to focus on your six-pack, some of the most essential core muscles, including the spine-supporting transverse abdominis, are well hidden.

Learning to isolate and engage the complete core is essential for maintaining the spine during exercise and avoiding injury and discomfort. Even experienced exercisers may benefit from a gradual core strengthening programme that helps them incorporate important abdominal support concepts into their routines.

And when in doubt, plank!

Mistake #3: Failing to Mind Your Technique

Almost all types of exercise are dynamic, movement-based activities. Every exerciser, like a dancer, must perform these movements with the correct technique, otherwise, your workouts may wind up doing more harm than good.

The following are examples of common pain-inducing errors:

  • Excessive weight lifting

  • During a lift, holding your breath

  • Instead of bending your knees, curl forward from your back.

  • With a broad squat stance, you're not supporting your trunk throughout standing repetitions.

  • Instead of tucking in the tailbone during standing movements, arch your back.

  • Putting too much emphasis on a single muscle group

Working with a qualified personal trainer, exercise physiologist, or physical therapist may assist ensure you exercise correctly. A professional can evaluate your safety and pain avoidance technique, even if it's just once in a blue moon.

Mistake #4: Overtraining and Under-recovering

Back pain (also categorized as a mechanical failure) is caused by excessive strain or overuse. What's the simplest method to prevent it? Avoid overdoing it.

While muscular soreness after a workout is normal, spinal pain is not. If you're having back pain during or after an exercise, it's possible that you simply need to reduce the intensity.

Not recovering enough from your exercises is just as harmful as overdoing them. Muscles and joints become stressed during exercise, and a recovery time (usually 48-72 hours) allows the body to recover and rebuild stronger. Resuming tension on those muscles too quickly hinders their healing ability and puts them at a higher risk of damage.

Is Massage Effective in Treating Back Pain?

There is a lot of evidence that shows massage helps alleviate back pain. The American Massage Therapy Association cites studies to back up its claim that therapeutic massage is helpful for chronic low back pain and can offer long-term relief. The following are some of the advantages of back massage:

  • Pain is reduced or eliminated.

  • Tight muscles are relieved.

  • Improves blood circulation and helps to reduce tension and anxiety.

  • Reduces the time it takes to recover after vigorous exercise.

  • Supplements traditional therapies, such as taking anti-inflammatory pain medications and using cold or heating pads.

Therapeutic massages may be provided by a physical therapist or a massage therapist. Massage is one component of a physical therapist's regimen, which may also involve mild exercises and stretching. Many individuals locate a massage therapist on their own if their low back discomfort is caused by muscular tension. Massage for muscular tension is often all that is required to alleviate discomfort.

Types and Styles of Massage

Whole-body massage and structural massage are the two most popular types of massage. Whole-body massage induces a state of deep relaxation. Structural massages use spine massage methods to target particular muscles and connective tissue. Lower back discomfort may be relieved with a structural massage that targets the muscles from the buttocks to the neck.

Some massage techniques cover the whole body while others concentrate on a specific region. All massage techniques, however, have the potential to help alleviate pain. The most effective method is determined by the source of the pain and the patient's or client's preferences. Among the many massage techniques include, but are not limited to:

  • Swedish massage — a relaxing, gentle whole-body massage that relieves muscular knots.

  • Trigger point massage — a full-body massage that focuses on particular regions of pain produced by muscle tissue stiffness (trigger points).

  • Deep tissue massage is a kind of whole-body massage that utilises pressure to alleviate tension in the connective tissues and muscles of the body's deeper layers.

Other types of massage exist, such as Reflexology and Sports Massage, but the ones mentioned are the most popular. Massage treatment may provide much-needed comfort for individuals suffering from back pain. Because each scenario is unique, no fixed number of sessions is advised.

Consult your massage therapist

There is widespread agreement that spinal massage treatments may help alleviate muscular tension and restore balance in the lower back's muscle function. Massage therapy for the spine is usually used in conjunction with other therapies such as over-the-counter medicines, exercise, better posture (particularly while sitting), and physical therapy. It's important to discuss your low back pain with your doctor and devise a strategy for living a pain-free life.

Try our range of massage therapies to help treat your back pain muscle soreness. Feel free to reach out to us for enquiries & advice or to book an appointment today!

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