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There are few things more frustrating than a nagging back injury. The back is connected to virtually every major movement that we do and when there’s pain, it’s hard to ignore. That’s why the best way to treat back injuries is to stop them before they start! Impact Physical Therapy in Chicago, Champaign, and Oak Lawn, IL is taking you through some of the most common mistakes that may cause back pain.

Bad Form While Weight Lifting

Regular weight training is one of the most effective ways to get your body into the peak physical form you’ve always hoped for. But just like any system of connected parts, your body needs to be properly aligned and engaged. If you’re new to weightlifting, take the time to learn from someone like Impact Physical Therapy on how to execute each lift properly, reducing chance of injury. Injuries may occur at any time from too much weight or a fluke, but often it is the gradual stress on a tendon, muscle group, or joint that leaves said area prone to something chronic or a breakdown.

For the more macho out there reading this, don’t push yourselves with too much weight; especially when untrained in Olympic-type activities such as squats or deadlifts.  Keep the weights close to your body, use proper knee balance, and only increase the weight lifted gradually over time. The most common lifting injury occurs when forgetting about form and just trying to set a personal record.

Learn more about weight lifting through Impact’s strength and conditioning services.

Hunched Shoulders and Bad Posture

We’re all guilty of it at the desk or at home from time to time, but when it becomes a regular habit, injuries can occur. Further perpetuation of poor posture can cause spine misalignments, imbalances, of strain throughout the back.

Poor Running Form and Back Pain

We love to run at Impact Physical Therapy, and so do our patients! But as we always stress to them, we will stress to you: poor running form can take its toll on the legs, knees, and back. Each step while running impacts the body at significantly higher stress levels than most other exercises, and like weight lifting, this can lead to both sudden and gradual injury.

Are you looking to improve your running style? Try Impact’s runner’s gait analysis.

Not Enough Core Strength

One of the major causes of low back pain is when the shallow trunk and abdominal muscles are weakened. More specifically these muscles include the transverse abdominis, diaphragm, pelvic floor muscles and multifidus. These help keep the abdominal and lumbar back region stable, in addition to coordinating movement. When these muscles are too weak, the rest of the body must compensate by improper usage of surrounding muscle groups.

Too Many Crunches

In an effort to build up your core strength, you’ve implemented a heavy dose of crunches into your workout routine. Makes sense that this would help strengthen your core and help your back, right? Unfortunately, there is such a thing as too many crunches.

When we do crunches, they activate both the abdominals and the hip flexors. The increase in abdominal strength is great, but over-tightening the hip flexors may cause the lumbar portion of the spine to pull forward. If this occurs, you’re leaving yourself vulnerable to an ugly bout of lower back pain.

Improper or Lack of Stretching

Just like the rest of the body, maintaining a flexible back helps prevent injuries from becoming worse. Stretching also increases blood flow to the stretched area, allowing for improved muscle development, better range of motion, and overall back health.

Not Enough Sleep or Poor Sleep Position

Sleep doesn’t just help the mind; the body, especially the spine, needs rest too. Sleep allows for recovery from supporting the body’s weight all day long. But sleep alone isn’t good enough. When sleeping out of alignment, it causes undue stress to the spine and may cause back muscles to seize. Finding the right position for you that both improves sleep quality and minimizes stress on the spine is crucial.

Find the Best Solutions to Recover from Back Pain

The back is an exceedingly complex and temperamental part of the body, affected by much of the activity, or inactivity, we put it through each day. Do you want to improve your back’s overall health, strength, and flexibility? Contact Impact Physical Therapy today!