One of the most common areas of the body to get injured today is the low back. There are simple ways to decrease the chances of injuring your low back. Proper mechanics during activities such as exercise as well as sitting and standing posture are all important to the health of the low back.
Tip #1– “Lift with your knees” This is a phrase many use today without a clear understanding of what it means and why it’s important. The low back has a natural curve towards the anterior (or front) of the body – called Lordosis. This curve helps to provide support to the entire spine. When this curve is compromised (straightened, rotated, or twisted) the probability of injury and severity of injury increase dramatically. So, when lifting, keeping the lumbar (low back) portion of the back in a locked position of curvature is essential. When the lumbar spine is not compromised or altered then the movement to bend over and pick and object up must come from the hips. This means that if one uses proper form- like that used when weightlifting (squatting) the back is protecting from unnecessary stress and injury. Keeping your back in proper position does not mean you need to stay vertical, but that from the hips to the mid back the curvature is preserved, maintaining its natural stability.
Tip#2– Avoid bending and twisting within the same motion. If you study the anatomy and movement of the spine in the lumbar region you will notice that it is built to bend forward and backward, not rotate side to side. The side to side movement is down more efficiently in the thoracic spine (midback). The highest prevalence of low back injuries occur when one is flexed forward (bending) and then rotates to one side or the other. When this occurs the lumbar spine is highly succeptible to injury and lacks the stability needed to avoid injury to the ligaments, muscles, discs, and other structures of the back. This is when one experiences pain due to trauma in the muscles, ligaments, or discs. When injured inflammation ensues. Inflammation can be the main source of pain. Because of this the effects often times are not felt until activity is stopped or even after rest, such as sleep.
Following these two tips can significantly reduce your chances of low back injury and pain.