I’ve recently trained a guy that is complaining about back problems. This person is completely young, muscular and mentally fit.
He is not working on a desk the whole time. He works in a job where he’s required to stand up. He’s even going to the gym frequently for years. What he truly lacks though is awareness of his own body.
What Really Causes Lower Back Pain
There are multiple causes that could lead to your pain. Your back pain could be caused for example by stress, diet, sitting or lack of physical activity to name a few. But the root cause is often simply a faulty proprioception. People are not aware about their position of their back.
Speaking of the guy in the gym, whenever I told him he should keep a straight back he couldn’t do it on his own. I was asking him if his back was straight while doing a certain movement and he told me that he thought it was. But it wasn’t.
This person wasn’t aware of his own body movements. This may sound strange but this phenomena is all too common. I once spoke with a Salsa dancer, that told me that the teachers struggle a lot to teach their students certain dance movements because the students are basically not aware of themselves.
This faulty self awareness can lead to a constant bending of your back, without you even realizing it. This is extremely damaging for your spine in the long-term. especially if you’re training in the gym and lifting a lot of heavy weights with a bended back. You’re damaging your spine over and over again. As said in my previous article, back pain is a cumulative trauma disorder. Back pain develops over time.
I suffered from back pain too. The reason why I’m not suffering from back pain anymore, is definitely partly because of bettering my self awareness.
I realized that every time I’d work out and do the back squats I would go so deep that my lower back would be slightly bended. I would wake up the next day after my training and would feel pain in my spine. I thought this was a normal part of my leg day routine. I was wrong.
Only later did I realize, during my Certification program, that I’m doing that exercise wrong. When a prof came up to me and asked me if I’m feeling any pain in my lower back, I was embarrassed but I had to agree.
How To Check Yourself
The only way to resolve a problem is to first realize that there is a problem. You could tell an alcoholic every day that he should drink less, but if he himself doesn’t realize that he has a problem, your suggestions are worthless.
I recommend people to talk to a certified Fitness Coach whenever they’re trying to minimize their back pain. Simply ask your coach that he should take a look at you while you’re sitting down and standing up from a chair. Also he should take a look at your workout routine. If he realize that your back is bending constantly, he should show you how to keep your back straight the whole time. A bended back is a warning sign and should be resolved immediately.
If you realize that you’re lacking self awareness, don’t beat yourself up over it. Move on. It can be fixed if you work on it.
I didn’t even realize that my lower back was bending at a certain point. I didn’t have enough self awareness to realize that. Few of us have. That is why it’s so crucial to have another person literally watching your back.
The young person that I’ve talked about in the beginning made a very important decision. He signed up to a gym and hired a fitness coach that took a look at his daily movement habits. This is crucial, I’m glad to say that he’s already improving. You could simply ask your spouse or a friend, but remember that the advice will not be as professional.
Are you bending your back while you’re doing daily tasks? Like lifting up a pen? If yes, try to fix them as fast as possible. Once you’ve fixed them and you’ve bettered your self awareness, focus on the other tasks.
What’s Next After Realizing the Problem
We start with fixing our self awareness because it’s usually the part that deals the most damage to your spine. It’s also the part that is the hardest one to change. Change your proprioception first and all the other habit changes will be easy. Like getting your diet in order, stop sitting, start stretching and exercising properly.
If you’re looking for ways to relieve your back pain, check out my other articles: