How to get rid of back pain for good
Updated: Feb 28
if you're reading this, you've probably had a back pain injury that you potentially have been ignoring for a while, or that you felt would go away. If you're here trying to work out how to get rid of it for good, you've come to the right place.
First of all, let's talk about some of the factors that can cause back pain. One of the common misconceptions is people think that when their back gets injured, it's because their back is weak. And that's actually usually false. Most often times the back gets injured because it's been too strong doing too much work that is supposed to be done by other muscles for too long. And as you can imagine, if you were in a workplace where you were expected to do all of the work of other people, and they were being lazy, you'd get a little bit angry too. And that is why the back will often tell you things that it's getting a little bit angry, a little bit agitated, or you can pull something in your back.
Now, in reading this, I'm going to assume that you've already gone to get assessed, and you're actually able to walk around and stand on one leg without crippling pain, nor have you got numbness in your toes. Because if you've got any of those things going on, get yourself to a professional ASAP, and stop reading on the internet. If you have been diagnosed and it isn't any of those extreme reasons that I've just outlined to you, keep reading.
So there are two factors that occur when you injure your back. One of them is the actual injury itself, where there's inflammation, there's a pain in general, and it's your body's way of saying, hey, let's not use this. So we've got to remember that pain is inflammation. The second component is that your body's very smart. So what it's going to do is shut down all of the things that cause your body to move and potentially reinjure the area. Now that's very useful, to some extent, very adaptive. When you've got pain and also you've got lack of movement as well. It's very adaptive for the body to protect itself. But this kind of inhibition of movement of certain muscles is one of the reasons that we have continuing issues with the back.
Let me explain this a little bit further. So when you get the injury, if the injury starts to heal well, which is great. Then the next component is you've got to also think about the inhibition of the muscles that we needed to work on a regular basis. Those inhibited muscles are still an issue too. And if you have been moving around, injured, which is what you're supposed to do when you have back pain, not aggravating it anymore a bit general day-to-day moving. Well, the problem is how do you retrain the correct support muscles to be working if you don't specifically focus on that.
So one of the biggest mistakes that people make is they go oh, I'll just rest it. That's mistake number one. And then number two, when it comes to going back to exercise, they'll jump right back into what they were doing before. The problem is not that you're being active, that's actually a good thing. But the problem is your selection of what you're doing is a bad thing. So in selecting what you need to do, you need to confront the fact that the exact wrong muscles are going to be supporting you for the exercise.
Why should you care if the wrong muscles are supporting you for exercise? Good question. You'll actually end up injuring yourself again, in the exact same place. Maybe the same, maybe worse. So you literally going to be on this little yo-yo of getting re-injured again, then recovering, then getting re-injured again. So addressing the underlying cause and getting the correct movement patterns firing again will be very beneficial for you not getting injured again.
So if you want to ensure that you don't get injured again, here's what you need to do, you need to get a tailored exercise plan that is going to address the muscle imbalances, but also teach you how to recruit the correct firing patterns, both for the inner core unit and the outer motor unit. That's kind of like your muscular belt is going to support your core. Oftentimes, people will have injured their back because their back is doing the job that their front is supposed to do as in the abdominals. That doesn't mean that you need to be doing a whole bunch of crunches. In fact, quite the opposite. It needs to be a whole bunch of exercises that are focused on building up your transverse abdominal muscles which will be training your core and the way that you use it day to day.
Now a lot of people don't like doing these exercises because it's just from experience because first of all they’re really hard, the second of all, you can't really work out where they are working. The reason for that is when you do a crunch. You can feel a lot of isolation of a muscle working like your abs oftentimes or sometimes your hip flexors. But when you're doing a plank, it's very hard to mentally work out what part of you is working. The best thing to do is go, “could I continually do this exercise for an hour?” And if the answer is no, then it probably is hard. It's just you can't pinpoint where it is hard. And that's not it's not a problem.
So consider it the plank for example. What that's going to do is work your transverse abdominals that help that muscular belt that's going to stiffen the midsection of your body because remember your abdominals are the glue that holds your upper and lower body together. Doing that, it'll mean that when you lift any item, as in groceries with the upper body, your back will remain nice and tight under load. And so the core plank, therefore, is really quite an important exercise. When you're lifting that when you're with lifting children when you're lifting suitcases, that sort of thing. Another important one is working on your stability and on your dynamics, your stability, you want to be making sure that you have what we would call balance. I mean balanced for a few reasons. So the physical act of balancing that you're able to react to standing one limb for example, but also on top of that the balance between the strength on the front of the body and the strength in the back of the body because one of the most likely reasons you'll get injured to do with imbalances in the body, which is the whole reason why we're at this point, we're talking about back pain.
The other one that we need to look at is dynamic core stability. So this is the third pillar of getting your core stronger. So that dynamic aspect of that is the ability to counterbalance in your body using your core against a moving force. So this comes into use in day to day life when throwing the ball. No one likes to dislocate their shoulder when they throw a ball for their dog. And also in instances where you may be on a ladder and you're reaching out to just grab something. If you don't have that dynamic core stability you're putting yourself in a lot of danger. I had one client who came to see me when he came down from a ladder and misjudged the level that the next rung was on and just stepped straight onto the ground from there. And he said he could have felt himself being able to react and counterbalance with one arm on the ladder but just knew that he didn't have the strength in him to do that. So building up that the only time you're going to feel that it's a useful thing is when it prevents you from getting an injury because almost like the Ghost of Christmas Future coming out to get you there.
So when addressing those three aspects of the core, you want to be doing things on top of the plank as well as doing some movement when you're holding a side plank potentially. Remember, the whole middle third of your body is your core. So that includes your glutes and your shoulders as well. So some side planking is great as well. These are all things that I just do not see being done in a facilitated warmup, in gym settings, and it would absolutely make a difference to people's injury reduction as well as their performance in the gym.
Now, I know that I'm not talking to professional athletes here. But that's exactly why I'm telling you that you need to do this because it doesn't get ingrained into you because you don't have a whole entourage of a strength and conditioning team to teach you that this is one of the most crucial things that you can do to prevent injury and prevent further injury occurring. So once you get to a point where you can move around again without more than a 6/10 level of pain, it can be important to employ things that will teach your transverse abdominals to be nice and strong in those three principles that I just outlined. If you need any help with doing this stuff, I can save you a whole bunch of time and money by just hopping on and jumping to one of our back pain courses. Check out the link. Reach out if you've got any questions. Lastly, read my post on what to do when you get injured for more useful information.