With increasing rates of obesity exercise is becoming more and more important and popular as time goes on. As a chiropractor I have patients e who do all different types of exercise from running, cycling, weight training, cross fit, etc. With exercise and activity unfortunately comes injury. One of the most common injuries I see is lower back injuries. In this blog I will discuss lower back pain and proper warm-up and training to prevent it, but these same principles i will be using to discuss low back injury prevention can be applied to any body part.
There is a three step approach to the healing and injury prevention.
Step 1: Warmup
It is important to warm up PROPERLY in order to prevent injury. I stress properly. Proper warmup will ensure muscles are warm, lengthened and pliable. These are characteristics of a healthy muscle.
One of the keys is to do a light run/walk (depending on age and ability) for about 5-7 minutes to increase core temperature and increase blood flow to tissues. The second part of the warmup is ballistic stretching.
Ballistic Stretching- Ballistic stretching uses the momentum of a moving body or a limb in an attempt to force it beyond its normal range of motion. This is stretching, or “warming up”, by bouncing into (or out of) a stretched position, using the stretched muscles as a spring which pulls you out of the stretched position.
In the case of low back pain swinging your legs back and forth pendulously front to back and then side to side for 30- 60 seconds will warm the tissues up as well as lengthen tissues of hamstrings, quads, etc at the same time.
Step 2-: Cooling down
After finishing activity, gentle static stretching is important to keep the muscles lengthened, help flush out lactic acid, and decrease soreness.
In low back cases specifically stretching the hamstrings after activity is the single most important muscle group to place emphasis on.
Step 3: Injury Prevention
I am sure we have heard it all before, but increasing core strength and stability is very important in long term decrease of low back pain. Core muscles DOES NOT just mean abs, it also includes major muscles that keep the spine erect as well as breathing muscles and pelvic muscles. Incorporating the appropriate exercises to strengthen these muscles will ensure a healthy back for years to come.
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