By Athlete's Care on March 05, 2021
Even more than that, the lower back is crucial in maintaining overall balance and mobility – a strong back protects the body from falls and other potential injuries.
A Complex Structure
The lower back is called the lumbar region. Technically speaking, it involves the area from below the rib cage to the tailbone, and includes five vertebrae.
Because of the intertwined structure, and the complicated movements that can be made, it's no surprise that lower back problems are among the top reasons for missed work in North America.
Keeping your back strong and healthy means looking after it in your everyday life. There are several areas that you can work on and improve anytime and virtually anywhere.
Daily exercise is important to strengthen the core muscles that support the lower back. This can include exercising ball workouts, water therapy, yoga and/or resistance training. Your Toronto physiotherapist or other sports medicine specialist can provide guidance on what kinds of exercises are best for you, and customize a regular routine.
Aerobic exercise, such as a brisk walk or run, which increases blood flow to the area, and loosens up your muscles, is also crucial.
Stretches that incorporate the hamstrings in particular can both alleviate lower back pain and help to keep the lumbar region flexible and strong. These can include knee to chest stretches, seated twists, and other lower back stretches.
Posture is important whether standing or seated. Your spine should have a natural curve when standing, with shoulders back and down to balance the upper body. While seated, the lower back needs sufficient support. An ergonomically designed chair – especially for office work – and work station will allow you to work with a minimum of stress on joints and body parts, including the lumbar spine. If you work seated, it’s also very important not to sit for too long at a time. A change of position every 20 minutes or so is ideal.
Keeping your back strong means avoiding injury. Lifting something that’s too heavy, or trying to haul up a heavy box with your lower back muscles can cause a painful sprain or even a more serious condition. Lifting with your legs, keeping your lower back straight and not twisting – these are guidelines you need to keep in mind no matter where you are.
Playing your favourite sport, it’s tempting to keep going even after your muscles have started to complain. When it comes to your lower back, if you’re feeling the strain, it’s time to stop and rest. Don’t overdo it – including exercises – and let your core strengthen gradually.
If you are experiencing any problems with your lower back, or you’d like more information, don’t hesitate to contact one of our Toronto physiotherapy and chiropractic clinics today for a consultation.