Category: Spinal Cord Injury | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: January 3, 2017
As we’ve preached on this blog time and time again, exercise and strength training are two great ways to keep your spine healthy and injury-free. However, if you aren’t careful, your workout can actually put additional stress on your spine. Today, we take a look at four common workout mistakes people make that increase their likelihood of a spine injury.
Whether you’re hitting the gym first time in the morning or jumping on the treadmill after a day at the office, always take a few minutes to adequately stretch your whole body. Structures in our back tend to stay in a more relaxed state throughout the day, so you’ll want to prepare them for the upcoming activity. Do some neck rotations, trunk twists, leg raises and hamstring stretches to ensure your spine, and surrounding structures like your hips, glutes and thighs are all prepared for movement.
Don’t Ignore The Core
A lot of people tend to work on bulking up their arms and legs, but be sure you don’t ignore your core. Your core muscles help to strengthen your spine, and you leave yourself prone to injury if your core isn’t strong enough to support your spine. Don’t just focus on your biceps and calf muscles – make sure you also regularly work your back, abs and glutes to strengthen your core.
Ditch The Crunches
While you want to focus on your core, you shouldn’t do so with the aid of crunches. Crunches target your core but they also put an abnormal amount of strain on the lumbar portion of your spine. Crunches also naturally tighten the hip flexors, and tight hip flexors pull the lumbar spine forward, which can contribute to back pain.
Everyone likes to break their personal lifting records, but lifting weights that are too heavy can easily lead to injury. For starters, it’s more difficult to maintain proper form when lifting heavier weights, and sometimes we try to draw extra strength from our spines when a weight is too heavy, which can lead to problems. Also, if the weight is too heavy, it can overstress a spinal muscle or the back can be injured if the weight comes crashing down. People rarely throw out their backs when lifting things of an appropriate weight; It’s when they try to lift something that’s too heavy that discs can become injured. If you are going to try a heavier set, always do it with the assistance of a spotter.
For more information on protecting your spine during a workout, talk to a spine specialist today, and for you runners out there, consider checking out this post on how to keep your spine healthy when going for a run.