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  1. #1
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    Back pain: stretching & strengthening advice

    Been dealing with back pain a fair amount during the past year....not from skiing but from longer hikes and mtn bikes. Also from working at home where my computer setup is decent but not perfect ergonomically.

    What advice do you all have to help strengthen, stretch and handle back pain (both upper and lower back)? Iím mid 40s so I feel like I need to get into a regime to help me for the rest of my life.

    Thank you.

  2. #2
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    I had chronic lower back pain, associated with a major injury, in my 20s. I got all sorts of bad advice, till I got on a daily strength and stretch regime. Just 20 minutes every morning, doing a modified sun salutation progression on mat, some leg specific stretches (check out The Stark Reality of Stretching for the theory) and a series of core exercises on a ball. Perhaps find a therapist to get you started, then adapt from there. The key is enjoying it every day.

  3. #3
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    had some lower back pain for awhile and incorporated this workout a couple times a week which seemed to help a bunch.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4BOTvaRaDjI

  4. #4
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    Have had off/on back pain over the years - mine mostly from bad posture at a desk, but also related to the sports I do (ski, bike).

    I fix mine by focusing on the hips. Ski touring and cycling are hard on the hips and also tend to create muscle imbalances in lots of us (quad or hamstring dominant, weak glutes). I haven't fixed muscle imbalance issues yet, but can usually fix my back by doing hip stretches and targeting PSOAS muscles. Learned the shoelace yoga pose last year - that one provides instant relief for the back pain I sometimes get during MTB.

  5. #5
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    Very light weight Jefferson Curls and Good Mornings.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by North View Post
    Have had off/on back pain over the years - mine mostly from bad posture at a desk, but also related to the sports I do (ski, bike).

    I fix mine by focusing on the hips. Ski touring and cycling are hard on the hips and also tend to create muscle imbalances in lots of us (quad or hamstring dominant, weak glutes). I haven't fixed muscle imbalance issues yet, but can usually fix my back by doing hip stretches and targeting PSOAS muscles. Learned the shoelace yoga pose last year - that one provides instant relief for the back pain I sometimes get during MTB.
    I thought skinning works mostly glutes.

    Sent from my Redmi Note 8 Pro using Tapatalk

  7. #7
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    I used to have chronic back pain, lower back.

    I started on a program of 100 crunches a day, now it's 300.

    The only time i have back pain is when i stop doing crunches.

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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by rod9301 View Post
    The only time i have back pain is when i stop doing crunches.
    Most people stopped doing crunches years ago. There are much better exercises that achieve the same result without the problems caused by crunches.

  9. #9
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    Computers and driving causes hunching so workouts to counter act that target the upper back should be (at least) 2:1 on the pulling muscles vs pushing muscles.

    "This means for every rep of a pressing exercise (Bench Press, Overhead Press, etc.), you should be doing at least two reps of a pulling exercise (Rows, Chin-Ups, etc.)."

    The lower back issues are usually tied to tight hamstrings and insufficient core strength. There are many ways to stretch the hamstrings and build core strength.

    To avoid injury before an activity a dynamic warm-up helps, but static stretching actually reduces your potential output.

    "In simple terms, a dynamic warm-up is ďmoving while you stretchĒ or stretching through a joint's full range of motion and preparing muscles for more intense exercise to come. A dynamic warm-up promotes blood flow, helps PREVENT INJURY and muscle soreness, as well as helps improve overall performance."

    https://www.uwhealth.org/health-well...retching/47947

    I use a carefully chosen chiro on a regular basis and get therapeutic massage weekly.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by criscam View Post
    had some lower back pain for awhile and incorporated this workout a couple times a week which seemed to help a bunch.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4BOTvaRaDjI
    My PT recommended these Foundation Training years ago and it's been a huge help. The dynamic hamstring stretches are great.

    Sent from my Pixel 3 using TGR Forums mobile app

  11. #11
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    yoga & PT

    skiing 70-100 days/ mtn biking/ paddling i would always get hurt at some point but not since the yoga
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by concretejungle View Post
    Most people stopped doing crunches years ago. There are much better exercises that achieve the same result without the problems caused by crunches.
    If you lift your legs or shoulders less than 6 inches, no problems.

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  13. #13
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    me coming in with the yoga rec again. Daily yoga, focus on strenghtening the core.
    24į 06į

  14. #14
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    This is all helpful, thank you all.

    For yoga, what specific poses would you recommend looking at?

    Also, is a tension headache from a really tight upper back fairly normal?

  15. #15
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    Back pain: stretching & strengthening advice

    Quote Originally Posted by North View Post
    Have had off/on back pain over the years - mine mostly from bad posture at a desk, but also related to the sports I do (ski, bike).

    I fix mine by focusing on the hips. Ski touring and cycling are hard on the hips and also tend to create muscle imbalances in lots of us (quad or hamstring dominant, weak glutes). I haven't fixed muscle imbalance issues yet, but can usually fix my back by doing hip stretches and targeting PSOAS muscles. Learned the shoelace yoga pose last year - that one provides instant relief for the back pain I sometimes get during MTB.
    Pretty similar to my case. I stretch every day with emphasis on loosening up the hips.

    Iíll begin with a 5+ minute warmup before any athletic or lifting activity, pretty similar to the YouTube video above.

    I try to do any kind of deep tissue body work I am able to do myself but I find I still need to be seen by a massage therapist / PT / chiro / witch doctor to help with the areas that are harder to address myself. Mostly PSOAS release.

  16. #16
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    Sep 2005
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    This is the best static stretching that I have come across. 20 mins that can help you out
    https://www.fitnessblender.com/video...ange-of-motion
    ďA society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both.Ē
    ― Milton Friedman

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by The SnowShow View Post
    This is all helpful, thank you all.

    For yoga, what specific poses would you recommend looking at?

    Also, is a tension headache from a really tight upper back fairly normal?
    probably best to find a teacher who can take you thru some practises, in general its the pretty basic stuff that will help you, the holly wood moves are not necessary and in fact the idea is to relax not go all pretzel
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

  18. #18
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    Back pain: stretching & strengthening advice

    Quote Originally Posted by kootenayskier View Post
    I had chronic lower back pain, associated with a major injury, in my 20s. I got all sorts of bad advice, till I got on a daily strength and stretch regime. Just 20 minutes every morning, doing a modified sun salutation progression on mat, some leg specific stretches (check out The Stark Reality of Stretching for the theory) and a series of core exercises on a ball. Perhaps find a therapist to get you started, then adapt from there. The key is enjoying it every day.
    Stretching and maintenance aside, are you at a point where you arenít always thinking there might be an acute episode right around the corner? Did you experience sciatica?

    Personally Iím in a way, way better place than I was a few years ago, which was a way better place than I was a handful of years before that. But Iím still experiencing frequent mild pain and discomfort and occasional acute episodes are never a distant memory. It may be unrealistic to expect to feel any better than this, I donít know. Thereís work be done and I could use to lose another 5-10lbs , but Iím only 35 and I canít point to a major injury event. I suppose I did Ďíthrow my back outíí deadlifting with poor form in college then smashed myself in a half pipe a few weeks later. None of it felt serious at the time, I was playing sports a couple weeks afterward.

    Do most of you guys have a major injury, or impact that set it off? The first time I felt the lightning strike down my leg was casually hitting balls at the driving range.

  19. #19
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    I am pretty sure we all started off with being run over by the dirt bike we were riding after going over the bars or getting off a mtnbike or skiing or sft, i think you work thru it with a good PT and move on

    to the next injury
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    7,906
    Lower back pain for a good 15yrs now.

    Tried everything.

    Stretching (or yoga) and working the core / lower back are the only real thing that works.

    Lower back exercises tend to be overlooked but if your upper back is really strong and not the lower things get out of whack.

    Back extensions a few times a week and frequent stretching.

    I am tempted to try one of these. Just have to keep the wife away from it.

    https://www.amazon.com/Athletes-Perc.../dp/B085Q1L9NL


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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by XXX-er View Post
    probably best to find a teacher who can take you thru some practises, in general its the pretty basic stuff that will help you, the holly wood moves are not necessary and in fact the idea is to relax not go all pretzel
    This is pretty good advice. Find some level 1 intro classes and do them often. If you can (might be hard because of pandemic) go to in person classes. Hot yoga is nice because the heat can help loosen you up. Teachers will correct your poses which is helpful. Good teachers focus on doing basic poses the right way. I find it hard to point you to one or a few poses that would help you specific problem, its best to just run through a sequence.
    24į 06į

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Self Jupiter View Post
    Did you experience sciatica?.
    after a mtn bike get off in the late 80's where i landed on a straight leg & jammed it, I did not go down but then it lagged on/off for another 25 yrs, a new-ish PT grabbed my toe and asked me to lift my leg or sft like that and when I couldn't she said I had L5 issues , she & her associate worked on it a few times and seem to have fixed the sciatic for good

    but every back is different and I spent years/ money on Pts/ chiro's acupuncture until someone fixd it
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by danmelon View Post
    This is pretty good advice. Find some level 1 intro classes and do them often. If you can (might be hard because of pandemic) go to in person classes. Hot yoga is nice because the heat can help loosen you up. Teachers will correct your poses which is helpful. Good teachers focus on doing basic poses the right way. I find it hard to point you to one or a few poses that would help you specific problem, its best to just run through a sequence.
    yes ^^ a teacher should be up and correcting your practise, you should feel like they are helping you, they are not just there being paid to do their practice with you

    if you can find them the Manyoga classes will help, again its not about doing the big moves in fact its amazing how little you really have to do IME
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

  24. #24
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    Went to a chiro who does PT today and got a lot of insight and stuff to work on. Going to go there a couple of times a week for a couple of weeks then see how things are. Sounds like my hips are out of alignment and my neck is a mess from computer work.

  25. #25
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    Broke my back and herniated a disk in my lower back 12 years ago, and have struggled with back pain ever since. PT is absolutely the best way to get back to regular after a flair up.

    For maintenance, everything said above is great. A couple things to add: I would stretch my hamstrings, quads, groing, hips, etc all the time, but I neglected my hip flexors. Turns out that tight hip flexors are the main thing that trigger my back pain. So make sure you don't neglect those.

    This quick set of exercises I've been doing for five or six and always helps out when I'm in maintenance mode. It's too aggressive if I've tweaked something.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSSDLDhbacc

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