Back pain is a common problem for adults. Per the Mayo Clinic, it is the number one reason cause for disability at a global level. Even the fittest CrossFit athletes are likely to have back pain at least one time in their lives. Today we will look at some stretches for your lower back, which are an excellent thing to do after CrossFit Class as part of your overall CrossFit training.
Your back has a lot of elements working together to give your body support and stability during movement. Bones, connective tissue, ligaments, muscles, and tendons make up your musculoskeletal system. In addition, your hamstring muscles and hip flexors also add additional support to your back and the natural curve of your spine at the lower back. We engage many of these areas and muscle groups during CrossFit class, and you use them in your everyday life, too.
Back pain can show up with a lot of different symptoms. The Mayo Clinic identifies the following five:
- An ache in the muscle
- Stabbing pain in the muscle
- Pain that feels like it radiates down your leg
- Pain that gets worse when you bend or lift anything, or when you stand or walk
- Pain that you can relieve by reclining
There are factors that put you at higher risk for back pain. People who are older or out of shape have a higher risk of developing back pain. People who are heavy, have specific psychological or other medical conditions, and people who smoke are also at an increased risk. Also, poor form during CrossFit training increases the chances you will have problems with your back.
There are many causes of back pain, per Web MD. They range from sprains and strains to spinal fractures to degenerative diseases and even cancer. It is essential that if your back pain does not improve after a few weeks of rest, you see a doctor to rule out any serious health conditions that could be causing your back pain.
Back pain can also be caused by a spasm. Spasms occur when you have a tear in your muscle or tendon, a common risk when weightlifting. We recommend that you see your doctor or a physical therapist to help you address these conditions also. By resting your muscles and building up some of the supporting muscles with physical therapy, a healthcare professional can get you up and running again, quite literally.
Less serious injuries to the back and lower back are common causes of back pain as well. Any strain or overuse on the elements of your musculoskeletal system can contribute to back pain. When the pain is minor, it can heal on its own with rest. Furthermore, physical activity and regular stretching can do a lot to reduce minor back pain and prevent its return.
Stretching is an essential part of any CrossFit training regimen. Not only does it help protect against injuries that would cause back pain, but it also increases your flexibility and strength. We have previously shared CrossFit stretches, which will also help you take care of this important support system for your CrossFit Training.
Also, here are our recommendations for back stretches:
Stretching right after class is a necessity. However, stretching at other points in the day is important, too. If you have an office job or sit at a desk throughout the day, Health.com has three stretches you can do at your desk.
A visit to the chiropractor or physical therapist can help you, too. They have different techniques to help you improve the support to your musculoskeletal system. However, don’t expect miracles; it might take a few sessions to see improvement.
Massage is another essential part of your recovery and prevention strategy. Per Web MD, people who had massages saw an improvement to their back pain after ten weeks.
Some people find relief using heat and cold therapy also. Per Medical News Today, you should apply ice for 20 minutes at a time, but not longer than that. Heating pads or a hot water bottle also can provide relief to stiff or sore back muscles.
Life is too short to have a sore back. Be sure to see your doctor if you have back pain to rule out any serious health conditions that could be causing it. Also, consult with a health professional before you engage in any physical therapy plan or stretches for a sore back to treat your symptoms. The quickest way to resume your CrossFit training is to listen to the professionals and follow their advice. Once you give your back what it needs to support you properly, we will see you back in CrossFit Class.