Why Your Lower Back Hurts + A Simple Way To Prevent It

Written by Mary Whaling

The bad news about mechanical lower back pain is that it's due to repetitive faulty movement or bad posture, which leads to increased pressure in your spine. This in turn can lead to disc damage, nerve root irritation, joint degeneration or muscle overload/tightness/pain. People with lower back pain often find they're moving too much through a single part of their spine and not moving well through their hips, particularly in movements that involve bending forward or lifting things.

The good news? It's totally preventable! So how do you know if you're moving in a way that's causing lower back pain?

Take your cell phone and enable video mode. Either ask someone to film you or lean your phone against something to film you from the side. Now bend over like you're picking something up off the floor and return to standing. Watch the video and take note of where your movement is coming from.

Did you move through the lower back? Did you twist your back on the way down? Did you stiffen your torso and bend through the knees? The majority of this movement should come from the hips, but if you suffer from back pain, you probably found most of the movement came from your lower back or, alternatively, you braced your lower back and stiffened it to avoid moving through there at all and bent your knees instead.

Throughout your day, make sure to pay attention to how you're bending. When you pick your bag up to leave the house, while you vacuum, as you unload groceries from your car ... make sure to shift the hips back as you bend through your knees (a "hip hinge") while keeping your back in a neutral position. Alternatively, you can squat from your knees while gardening, looking for something on a low shelf or lifting heavy objects from ground-level. All of these are movements we use daily and if done the wrong way, can lead to serious back pain.

Whether or not you currently experience back pain, this is important for everyone. You should know if you're repeatedly moving in a way that will cause injury so you can work to prevent future pain and issues. Don’t wait until it’s too late, pain should not be tolerated!

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