In Part 1, we went over my back injury moment and the types of back pain common to firefighters and common causes. In this article, we’ll cover exercises that helped me and can help you with managing back pain. The following 4 amazing exercises will help with back pain. Keep in mind that we don’t want to overstrain any muscles. Do not do these exercises if you’re in any pain. Go slow and take it easy!
DISCLAIMER: make sure you are cleared by a doctor to physically perform any exercises including these.
Exercise #1 – Side Planks
Side planks are a key exercise, if you have spent years with tight hips or stretching tight hips and getting nowhere, side planks could become your solution.
How so? According to Dean Somerset, the muscles of the hip that resist internal rotation (lift up your leg, bend it at the knee and bring it inwards, that’s internal rotation) these muscles are found on the outside of the hip and they play a key role in providing lateral stability to the spine along with the obliques, psoas, serratus anterior and your “lats”.
By doing the side plank, it helps stimulate these muscles so they all work together to help stabilize the spine in a position that doesn’t allow compensation and it can re-set the hip and core to allow the hip to work more properly. Make sure to perform the side plank on both sides.
Exercise #2: Flexion Exercise / Stretch
This second exercise is a flexion exercise. This exercise will relieve your muscles in your lower back. Gently push your lower back against the ground so your hand can’t slide underneath and just stay like this for 15 minutes.
Exercise #3: Extension Stretch
The next exercise is an extension exercise called the pre-cobra (on forearms) or if your back spasm isn’t as severe I suggest the cobra on your hands.
Exercise #4: Hardstyle Plank + Side Plank
If you are not going through back pain and want to strengthen your back and core try the Hardstyle Plank and Side Plank!
For the Hardstyle Plank: lie face down on the ground. Dig your toes into the ground and squeeze your legs and butt (imagine you are cracking a walnut in between your cheeks). Lift up your hips and imagine you are pulling your elbows down towards your groin and at the same time, pull up on your toes towards your groin.
Back pains are among the most expensive musculoskeletal disorder to the health care system and one of the most common work-related ailments affecting adults in the United States. 50% of the working population in any given year will experience back pain with 80% reporting lower back pain some time in their life!
The International Association of Fire Fighters’ annualeath and Injury Survey reveals that back injuries account for 50% of all line-of-duty injury retirements each year! Those are some alarming statistics, if you haven’t experienced back pain, you may very well so let’s take care of our backs so we can avoid this pain and increase our career longevity.
Before you do any of these exercises consult your doctor. If you are experiencing back pain do the flexion and extension routines, back to back three times up to four times daily.
Perform the side plank and hardstyle plank at the beginning of your workout. (This can be used as a warm up). Do two sets of each exercise, and hold each for 12-15 seconds.
AUTHOR: SCOTT BISBEE