There are millions of people in the United States who suffer from back pain. For some exercising appears to make things worse. To help us understand back pain in relation to exercise I have interviewed Jake Yoes who has researched and studied fitness for many years. NJ’s top spine and orthopedic surgeons educate the patient about the pros and cons of the back exercise. The damaged nerve cells should be repaired through the exercise instead of getting in a worse condition.
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
“I am a senior in high school and plan on graduating this June. My world is revolved around health and fitness and how I can further educate myself in these fields. I am planning on continuing my education by going to college and working towards being a certified nutritionist. In my spare time I love watching the Minnesota Vikings football team and sports in general because there is always something motivational and inspirational going on.”
Why do some people have back pain from doing exercises?
“It all revolves around proper form and doing the exercise correctly. When working out the back, you have to be very careful of how you position yourself. It’s important to keep your back straight; knees bent and keep your bottom out. You will notice that some people wear a back belt that will help them with posture and form. They do this to help avoid injury to their backs.”
What are some back exercises people can do?
“There are some definite back muscles that require attention. These include the lats, upper and lower back. Lets start with the low rows that really hit the lower back. You can either do this with a smith machine or a straight curling bar or bench bar. Simply keep your feet at shoulder width apart, stick your butt out, keep your back straight, knees slightly bent and grab the bar where there are slits between the grip and face your palms outward. Hold onto the bar and slowly bring it upward around the lower section of your abdominal.”
“With the upper back, one of the best movements for building muscle is the seated row. There normally is a machine where you can sit on a bench while keeping your feet on resting pads extending straight. What you will do is grab your preferred handle and pull towards your chest. Now a lot of people mess this up when they don’t push their chest outward to really hit the upper back when pulling the weight toward them. There are two things you can do when releasing the weight back to the resting spot. You can sit up tall, extend your hands straight out and pull the weight towards your chest working more the bicep and upper back area. The second option is you can go forward with your upper body and use more of the upper back while pulling towards your chest.”
” Lats are one of my favorite muscles to work since there are many different exercises geared toward them. Lats are the muscles under your arms that give you that “V” shape. But one of the best there is the lat pull down. Simple adjust the seat and make sure your legs are tightly nailed down so you do not come up with the weight. Again, you can either use a long straight bar with angled handles to pull down or you can grab a straight bar with your palms facing you with only a few inches from each other. You want to pull down to your chin and also want to be able to feel your lats holding the weight with a burning sensation. Then slowly let the weight drift back up and repeat.”
Are there certain exercises that people with back pain should avoid?
“I would avoid all exercises until you can fully recover your back muscles. Aid the injury instead of prolonging it and possibly making it worse. All it would take is to do one exercise wrong to make things worse for your back.”
Other than back exercises is there anything else a person can do to reduce back pain?
“Yes, my main suggestion would to stretch your back out. Sometimes your back tenses up. A good stretch routine can help the muscles loosen up.”
What last advice would you like to leave for someone who has back pain?
“Your back is nothing to mess around with if it is hurting. Avoid seeing the back pain as a result of a hard workout. There could be something else wrong with your back. I would suggest seeing a chiropractor if it doesn’t go away after a few days. Failure to ignore it can lead to permanent back injury and possible surgery.”