Back pain is very common, it is actually the primary cause of disability in people who are under the age of 45. The American Academy of Pain Medicine reports that over 26 million Americans between the ages of 20 and 64 experience back pain on a regular basis, and in many of them, it leads to limited activity.
For young men, back injuries can often be the result of muscle or ligament strains after an accident. Alternatively, the cause of pain may be unrelated to a single trauma but linked to obesity, genetics, muscle weakness, or a sedentary lifestyle.
When this pain is not severe, but more of stiffness, it will typically resolve on its own without treatment. However, if the pain lasts for over a week, or if other symptoms are present with the back pain, you will likely need to seek medical treatment.
No matter if you are currently experiencing back pain or not, living a life that includes smart-spine habits at a young age can really help your comfort in the long run. A severe back injury in your younger years can result in chronic pain down the line. It is best to do what you can to decrease the chances of that happening while you are young. Here are a few tips to help optimize your back health while you are young and protect it for your declining years.
Keep Your Hamstrings Healthy
If your hamstrings are tight, your lower back absorbs any force that your legs would typically absorb. This puts a lot of undue pressure on the lower back. One very effective method of loosening up your hamstrings is to use a foam roller before and after working out. This will help release tension throughout the body and prevent the hamstrings from becoming tight. Consult a trainer or physical therapist to help you learn how to actually use a foam roller.
Don’t Forget to do a Warmup
Warming up your body for ten minutes before exercising is a critical thing to do to avoid getting injured. Find a warm-up that increases your circulation and uses dynamic movements from side to side, front to back, and rotationally. These basic movements will help warm up the back, even if your workout has little or nothing to do with your back.
Lose Some Weight
The excess weight on your body can harm your back, especially with age. Losing extra weight can relieve some strain that is put on the spine, while also helping to increase blood flow to the spine and strengthen the core. This can all work together to prevent future pain. Some great programs to try aside from cardio exercises are Pilates and yoga.
Smoking tobacco leads to vascular constriction, so it limits the blood supply to various parts of your body. By strangulating your blood flow to vital organs, your spinal discs will wear out at a younger age than your would hope, or to a worse degree. Quitting smoking can also inspire you to eat healthier and pick up on some quality exercise habits.
Check Your Posture
Are you sitting with an arched back all day while typing away on a computer? When you find yourself in these unnatural positions, you may be contributing to later muscle pain. Often people’s chronic pain begins long before they are able to feel it, so start correcting your posture early, so you don’t suffer the consequences in the long run.
Go Lightly on the Ab Workouts
Your six-pack muscles won’t do much good for any back pain. Instead of training these front muscles, focus on the transverse abdominals, which is the corset around the abdomen and the back. Training these muscles helps to protect and stabilize the spine, rather than just flexing the front muscles of the abdomen repeatedly.
Remember the Basics
You don’t need to go all out by doing heavy back squats to gain strength in your back. Just doing single-leg squats can help your gain the stabilization you need to sit safely.In the end, it is important to remember when you are young that you have to weigh the risks and rewards of an exercise. Some high-risk activities can actually hurt your body over time, so it is important to train the right way. Start slowly, and build into more advanced training to help prevent injuries.