Injuries period are never fun. They can occur on the job, at home, and especially in the gym. Regardless of where or how they occur, they have an effect on every aspect of life.
When it comes to areas that are most susceptible to injury, nothing is more prone than the back. This is because the back is used in pretty much every movement and motion at work, home, and in the gym. Anyone who has suffered a back injury, minor or severe, can attest that it truly limits one’s ability in many ways.
So, does a bad back mean no more working out? It can, but not in all cases. First off if you have a back injury of any sort, make sure you are not putting yourself in more danger by going to the gym and trying to “muscle through it”. So, if you have a significant injury to your spine or even neck, it should be suggested to not worry about the gym for a little bit. But in the case where the injury is minor, muscles are sore or even slightly strained, or you have some spinal disc issues that require precaution in the gym but not avoidance, there is some ways to stay in the gym and train around, not through, the issues.
When Does It Hurt?
This is a question anyone should ask themselves when having a bad back. Is the pain constant, even when you are not moving? If so, working out is a no go. But does your back only hurt when you bend over, twist, or arch your back? Avoid any movements that require your back to be put in these positions. Look for movements that help keep your back stable and neutral. This is accomplished and aided through the use of benches or the floor, especially with press movements. If training your upper body, avoid any overhead presses that puts pressure on the spine and neck. Also, keep the weight you are moving limited, so you do not need to rock or use momentum to move it. The name of the game here when training with an injured or sore back is to keep the back out of it as much as possible.
Injured back could mean many things, but moving forward one way to help prevent future injury is to focus on building a stronger core. Many back injuries that take place in the gym is not due to improper form as much as it is due to improper form because the individual has a weak core. Oblique work, planks (do an assisted variation if needed to aid bad back), light lower back work (hyperextension machine, Superman crunches-regular or kneeling), anything that does not hurt your back but allows you to target those trunk and core muscles.
A bad back doesn’t always mean no gym time and workouts, but you got to be smart and listen to your body. The back is no joke. If it hurts, there is an issue. You have to be safe if training with an ailing back, but it can be done.
Remember, work around the injury, not through it.