People often make the assumption that the best way to fix their back pain is to do exercises that they think will strengthen those muscles. Maybe they do dead lifts. Maybe they’ll try planks, bridges or stretching. Maybe they’ll do crunches to strengthen their core.
None of these exercises are necessarily bad. The problem is, these exercises might be bad for this particular individual. That’s why I get frustrated when I see so-called personal trainers at the gym telling people to do exercises that I know aren’t right for them.
Bio-individuality tells us that every person has a different body structure, genetics, nutrigenomics, and physical condition. Different people are in different stages of life and should exercise accordingly. For example, a teen going through puberty shouldn’t be doing the same types of exercises as a woman going through menopause.
Before you hit the gym with the goal of getting rid of your back pain, you have to identify the cause of the pain. You have to pinpoint the muscular imbalances and weaknesses, and then focus on exercises that address those weaknesses and stabilize the spine.
Walk Before You Run
Many people develop severe lower back pain because they aren’t strong enough or balanced enough to do the exercises that their personal trainer told them to do. And there are certain exercises, like dead lifts and crunches, that people assume they can do from day one.
Just because you can complete a certain motion or lift a certain amount of weight doesn’t mean the exercise is beneficial. Actually, it could be preventing your back pain from healing.
At Natural Healthcare Center, we have our patients perform very basic functional tests so we can evaluate their physical condition and determine which types of exercises they should be doing.
For example, we’ll have you perform a basic squat with no weight, making sure you use proper form. You stand with your arms together in front of the chest, feet at shoulder width. Lower your rump until the tops of your legs are parallel to the floor, hold that position, and rise back up to a standing position.
If you can’t repeat this movement five or six times without wobbling, lifting your heels off the floor, or sticking your rump way out to avoid falling, why it the world would you go to the gym and try to do the same exercise with 100 pounds on your shoulders?
We Treat the Present, Not the Past
You may have been a star athlete back in the day, but if you just had a baby or you’ve been sitting behind a desk for the last 10 years, you have to accept the fact that you shouldn’t be exercising like you did years ago.
As a clinician, I can’t recommend a treatment plan based on who you were. I have to rely on who you are today and what I observe in front of me to determine how you can train safely.
Even if you’ve remained active all along, you can’t just assume you can do certain exercises to fix your back pain. The human body changes over time, and the exercises we recommend will be based on your current condition and structure.
This is especially true when the pain involves your back and spine because injuries from inappropriate training can have long-term consequences. If you’re frustrated because exercising hasn’t helped your back pain, schedule a consultation at Natural Healthcare Center. Let us diagnose the root cause of your back pain and recommend a treatment plan for you as an individual, not a one-size-fits-all routine for everyone at the gym.