For many fitness enthusiasts, lower back pain is a common thing. Others take this as a good sign, thinking their workouts may be paying off. But for some, this is a red flag. And this is reasonable because any kind of body ache can be troubling at times.
Here’s the thing: Some fitness pros claim lower back pain is normal. But while this is the case, you still need to pay close attention because your back might be telling you something else.
So, when do you need to ring the alarm bells? There are many reasons why your lower back is aching. It might suggest that you overdid that area or you have underlying conditions or weak muscles.
It’s also possible that the pain is associated with micro-tears or you skipped stretching exercises. In this article, you will learn all these possible causes, so you’ll understand your back pain better.
And that’s not all because we’ve included solutions, too! Find out how exercising your core, keeping a proper posture, and stretching your hamstrings can help prevent lower back pain. There are more tips, so start reading!
What Causes Lower Back Pain After Exercise?
Back pain may be inevitable after an intense workout at the gym. But, chronic back pain may keep you from performing your regular fitness routine or worse, cause you back injuries.
As in all things, there’s a reason why this happens. Experts say there are several causes for lower back pain, and we’ve listed down what your backache could be possibly telling you:
Lower back pain may be associated with microtrauma
Micro-tearing is important for muscle growth. But this micro-tearing may lead to microtrauma, which can cause pain. And you may experience this pain for up to 72 hours.
Experts say this is unavoidable, especially if your workouts target your lower back. The tissues that surround it may feel cramped for days, but this shouldn’t bother you too much.
If you’re seeking some relief, you can try over-the-counter drugs such as ibuprofen. It’s more likely to do the trick!
You probably under-stretched
Many fitness routines take stretching out of the scene. But, it’s actually essential in muscle growth, post-workout recovery, and injury prevention.
Stretching readies your muscles for all the work it’s about to do, making it more flexible and pliable. Keeping your muscles flexible for your workout routine will help to prevent the risk of injuries.
Post-workout stretches also play a major role in preventing tired, stiff, and sore muscles by relaxing them before returning to its usual stance.
Your muscles may be weak
Weak muscles may contribute to lower back pain, too. When you have weak muscles, your spine is not getting adequate support that it needs.
The muscles surrounding your spine as well as your abdominal muscles contribute to the health of your lower back.
Making these muscles strong will provide support for your spine, joints, and disks, preventing lower back pain and injuries.
It might also be because you have venous insufficiency
Venous insufficiency occurs when your veins find it hard to send blood from your limbs back to your heart. This causes your blood to gather in the veins of your legs.
This condition may also affect your lower back. To avoid this, try to elevate your legs to promote blood flow, and eliminate any lactic acid build-up that may be present beneath the surface.
You may have underlying conditions
Someone who is suffering from an underlying condition such as spinal arthritis, pinched nerve or injured disc may worsen his or her condition with workouts. These health problems may aggravate lower back pain after exercise.
So, it’s best to speak with your physical therapist or a medical expert if you’re suffering from any of these conditions and want to perform a new fitness routine.
Make sure that you have an expert’s go-signal before you try a different workout to avoid putting your health at risk.
You probably focused on that area too much
Any fitness pro would highlight the importance of working out various muscle groups instead of putting all your attention on a single area. Concentrating on a specific area for the whole week may lead to vexing, lasting pain.
Lower back pain usually occurs when you try to ‘max out’ your routine when your lower back and core lack the strength for the stress.
Ways to Prevent Lower Back Pain After Exercise
The encouraging news is lower back pain normally isn’t life-threatening. The pain usually subsides after a few days or weeks; it’s faster when you’re able to rest well.
Also, the need for surgery is often rare. What’s more, you can do some simple tricks to prevent lower back pain and its recurrence. If you’re curious to know what helps lower back pain after working out, we’ve prepared this list just for you:
Strengthen your core
Strong core muscles support your lower back, preventing injuries. Low-impact activities such as walking, cycling, and power yoga help strengthen your back and core muscles.
If you think that it’s impossible to squeeze in some time for exercise, try to achieve small goals such as climbing the stairs or sitting on an exercise ball for 15 minutes.
But, if you already hurt your back due to your fitness routine, you can try exercises for lower back pain relief.
Partial crunches, hamstring stretches, and wall sit also help to make your lower back and abdominal muscles stronger and relieve pain.
If you’re an athlete, watch your moves
Even the fittest and strongest athletes get injured, too. But while body pain and injuries are inevitable in sports, try to reduce your risk of experiencing such by watching your moves.
Just a single wrong move can lead to lower back injuries. Make sure that you completely understand the potential pitfalls of your beloved sport.
Always perform stretching exercises
As earlier mentioned, stretching before and after your workouts is highly important. Stretching exercises will prepare your body and muscles for all the work, and calm them down after an intense session.
Performing hamstring stretching exercises, in particular, can help reduce the pressure on your pelvis, and provide relief for your lower back.
But, keep in mind that some hamstring stretching approaches may be harmful to certain types of back conditions. It’s best to speak with your doctor or physical therapist first for any available modifications.
Keep a proper posture
Having an improper posture will put pressure on your back, and may even cause more pain for your degenerated discs. You can use an ergonomic chair so that the natural curve in your lower spine can be well-supported.
It also helps to set an alarm on your phone or write post-it notes to remind yourself to check your posture. If your work keeps you seated for long hours on end, make sure to have frequent short breaks.
Taking small breaks to stretch or move around helps to relieve muscle tension and stiffness.
Frequent travelers are more likely to experience lower back pain from carrying things to sitting for long hours in the plane or car.
The seats in planes, buses, and cars are not always the most relaxing, and sitting for an extended period can aggravate back and neck pain.
For a pain-free trip, experts suggest bringing your own back support such as a lumbar pillow and packing light.
Avoid lifting heavy objects
Lifting heavy objects can strain your back and shoulders, and may even cause muscle fatigue. Try to reduce the weight of the things you carry and bring with you only the most important stuff.
This is especially important if you regularly shuttle from one place to another.
But, if lifting or carrying heavy items is inevitable, try to seek alternatives such as a roller bag. Roller or trolley bags provide both functionality and convenience. They are a viable option for those who want to avoid lifting and carrying bulky stuff.
Enhance your overall health
All your efforts in keeping a healthy lifestyle will benefit your spine as well. Having an active lifestyle, eating nutritious meals, keeping yourself hydrated, and avoiding vices all promote optimal health.
When you do all these things, you are sure to reap the benefits that come with it, including the prevention of body pain, particularly in your lower back. So, try your best to stick to a healthy diet and lifestyle.
Lower back pain can be caused by several factors. It could be because your muscles are beginning to tone or your body is telling you that you didn’t stretch enough.
So, make sure that you don’t skip stretching exercises in your workout routines, and alternate working out various muscle groups to give your muscles ample time to rest.
Be watchful of the sensations that you experience, though, especially in your lower back. It’s often not something that you should worry about, but don’t push yourself too much.
If you’re starting to feel uncomfortable, take a break from your fitness routine, and rest. If the pain in your lower back lingers on for days and begins to bother you, seek professional diagnosis and advice to prevent further damage.