Column: ‘My lower back hurts’

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Commentary by John Karesh

One of the most common complaints I hear from clients is their lower back hurts. Low back pain is extremely common with men and women. As we age, common problems we have are degenerative discs, weak core and poor flexibility.

It isn’t as difficult as you believe to get your back healthy and functional. Here are some tips to rid yourself of lower back pain. It may not be a fix for everyone, but it probably will help at least 90 percent of the crowd.

Warm up the leg muscles

Simply go for a walk, use your treadmill or any type of cardio machine, or walk up and down your stairs. The goal of the warmup is to warm up your leg muscles. When they are warm they will stretch easier. The analogy of cold taffy being warmed up comes to my mind. The warmer the taffy, the more it will stretch. The same with muscles.

Stretching legs

When we talk about stretching legs, the main focus is the hamstrings, adductors and hip flexors. If you cannot touch your toes, that’s probably a good indicator that flexibility is a problem. The easiest way to understand this is your leg muscles that surround the low back are so tight that they are constantly putting tension on the low back; the nerves in your spine are very sensitive to pressure, and if you can relieve the pressure or tight muscles, many times that will relieve the back pain.

Strengthen legs and core

Your core is comprised of your abdominal muscles and lower back. Your core provides support to your torso and, in turn, protects your back. Weak muscles in the core can leave your back vulnerable to lower-back pain. When you perform an exercise that strengthens your legs, you actually will increase flexibility as a byproduct. Exercises that strengthen hamstrings, such as leg curls, are great for this.

John Karesh owns Paradise Personal Training. For more, you can reach him at john@pptcarmel.com.


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