Low-back pain is a very common health problem. About 80 percent of adults have low-back pain at some point in their lives (1). Most episodes of low-back pain last only a short period of time (usually up to 4 weeks), which is called acute low-back pain. Some people can have acute low-back pain without any long term problems. Low-back pain that lasts for between 4 and 12 weeks is called subacute low-back pain. Low-back becomes chronic if it lasts 12 weeks or longer. There can be a real cost to having back pain. Back pain is one of most common reasons people see a doctor or miss days at work (2). It can keep people from living a pain free life, exercising and moving without pain or discomfort, or able to do functional movements like getting dressed or walking short distances.
1) Engage your core at the beginning of your workout. Almost every movement we make requires the muscles within the core. Heating up the core effectively waking up the core stabilization muscles at the beginning of a workout allows for the core to be engaged throughout the workout. Even if you cannot do core at the beginning of the workout, consider adding in core and ab exercises at least twice a week at any point in your workout. Planks are an example of an exercise that gets to the deep, smaller core muscles. Always check first with a physician before starting an exercise program.
2) Do effective stretches. Not all stretches are created equal, especially when it comes to targeting muscle groups that are connected to the hip and other muscles that impact low-back movement and functionality. Some stretches may offer only temporary relief, but not long term solutions for low-back pain. I started doing these four exercises before my workouts, and I felt some relief for my lower back.
3) Seek professional help. There are many professionals who can assist in identifying the root cause of your low-back pain. It is important that you work with professionals to identify and resolve your issues, especially if you have chronic back pain.
4) Stand up every 20 to 30 minutes. If you spend a lot of time sitting, it is helpful if you stand every 20 to 30 minutes to break up prolonged sitting in order to reduce stress on the lower back.