Back pain can be a major issue for many people. It affects about 80% of the population. Having back pain can make it difficult to train or compete. One of the main causes of back pain is poor posture and poor muscle balance. This can happen from our everyday activities. Most of us sit at a desk for a living or have long commutes to work. While not realizing it, most of us sit in a hunched position instead of straight like we should be sitting.
Problems with Back Pain
Back pain can be a sign of a herniated disc, disc degeneration, or it could be bulged. If you have pain past your knees, you could possibly have a herniated disk, or a pinched nerve. The discs in your back act as shock absorbers. They are composed of cartilage which is a squish kind of substance which helps absorb any movements. If it was disc on disc it would be very painful. A herniated disc is when the soft center of the disc leaks out and can irritate the nerves in the lower back. Disc degeneration occurs because of aging but also because of the stress you can put on them. The disc wears down and becomes less flexible. Discs are supposed to be soft and flexible. As you age or put excess stress on them, they dry out and become less flexible. When a disc becomes bulged, the soft inside of the disc pushes out on the outer area of the disc. You will need an MRI to determine if you have one of these issues.
Some have predisposed issues to back pain because they have a muscular imbalance. This happens when the muscles do not have equal distribution or functioning. This can be the cause of poor posture. Being involved in MMA or Brazilian jiu jitsu can make this worse. Most of the drills you do for these sports require repetitive movement of the same area – this causes the other muscles in that are to not get the required workout to keep up.
Things you can do help with Back Pain
There are many different things you can do for back pain. The main one is rest (which I know is tough when you’re training). Your body needs time to heal itself. You could also go see a chiropractor, acupuncturist, or a massage therapist. They may be able to help alleviate some of your pain. You could try cupping. Cupping is when a practitioner uses heated glass cups and applied them to the skin along the medians of the body. This creates a stimulating flow of energy. This can help decrease the spasms in your back. The foam roller is another favorite. Put the roller on the floor (preferable a clean one), and then lay on it and roll back and forth slowly over the painful area for about 10 minutes. This will help decrease any discomfort you may be feeling. An anti inflammatory diet is another you could try. Here you would want to focus on on eating the most anti inflammatory foods possible. Beets, fatty fish, multigrain’s, dark leafy greens, ginger, garlic, olive oil are all things you could take to help decrease the inflammation. Ice is always help and helps with inflammation as well. It may uncomfortable but it will definitely help in the long run.
Having back pain can be a major interruption in your everyday life but also with your training. If you end up getting a back injury be sure to rest and take care of the issue before it gets any worse. Do not work through the pain. Your body needs time to heal itself properly. Seek medical attention if necessary.