Nothing dampens the will to work out faster than injury. Despite the mechanical adaptability of the body to a wide range of movements, lifting too heavy a weight, or failing to observe proper form might result in injury and pain. It might last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. The lower back is one of the areas that are predisposed to injury, given its involvement in a range of compound exercises.
Understanding low back pain
Low back pain is the result of torn lumbar muscles or ligaments. Sometimes, there is nerve involvement, where the lumbar discs compress the sciatic nerve leading to the medical condition sciatica. In all these cases, the pain can range from a little discomforting to completely incapacitating. In bodybuilding it results from mostly squat and deadlift movements which put most pressure on the lower back. As these movements typically require the use of heavy weight for effectiveness, it’s easy to see how they can culminate in injury.
Dealing with low back pain
Discontinuing exercise to address the pain should be the first thing to do. Powering through it is ill-advised as it can lead to further injury. Taking rest until the pain dissipates is encouraged too.
Placing an ice pack over the area will offer immediate relief as it numbs the pain. It works better than a hot compress as this one encourages inflammation. However, you can use heat and cold therapy later once the initial discomfort has dissipated.
If the pain is somewhat severe, you can immobilize the back muscles by using an orthopedic belt, or an elastic bandage. Your movements should be minimal to allow recovery.
Persistent pain can be addressed with pain medication, anti-inflammatory drugs as well as muscle relaxants. For these latter ones, you might need a prescription from your physician. When the pain leads to reduced hip movements, or is accompanied by numbness in the leg, it might require professional intervention. Sciatica needs to be diagnosed by a doctor, and its cause is in most cases idiopathic. There is no cure for sciatica, but medication, together with physiotherapy usually helps with its resolution.
After a couple of days of rest, and as the pain reduces, you can begin using your low back muscles again. This is a necessary step, as failing to use the muscles might encourage atrophy which might increase or prolong your recovery time. The stretches should be simple and easy to execute. They include hamstring floor stretch, spinal stretch, knee to chest stretch and a total back stretch.
Learning the proper way to lift will forestall a future recurrence of the low back pain. Proper form is more important than how much weight is lifted. Work your way to heavy weights gradually to give your body time to adapt to the increasing challenge. Use a weight lifting belt as necessary, and include lower back exercises in your regimen. Finally, ensure your diet includes options that contain nutrients and minerals that support good bone health.
Find out how to lift correctly using your back.
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