A good workout produces hormones that make us feel good about ourselves. We feel a sense of accomplishment.
But sometimes the aftermath of a workout is not all rosy. Often we feel pain, especially in our backs. It’s not surprising considering 80 percent of Americans who experience back pain at some point in their lives.
Your back plays a big role when it comes to your daily activities and that includes your time at the gym. And there are a million and one reasons why you could be experiencing back pains after working out. There are several reasons for back pain after a workout.
What causes back pain after a workout?
One reason is that we overstimulate and under stretch certain muscles in our backs, Dr. Kevin Kinney, a chiropractor, told Aaptiv
The muscles in our back tend to have their source in the lower back (lumbar spine). And that’s why the low back can be a source if you want to get rid of the pain.
Your back pain could also be a result of overworking that area. Whatever workout you perform works on some specific muscles. Without your trainer, you could be making a lot of mistakes with certain weight exercises. And that includes bad posture when lifting weights.
But it doesn’t stop at what you do at the gym.
Another reason for the back pain after a workout is what you do or don’t do after the workout. So let’s go ahead and look at some of the things you can be doing more of and less of to prevent back pain after workouts.
DO more of this to prevent back pain after workouts
1. Stretch more
Research proves that stretching after a workout routine has some positive effects on the muscles.
This applies to our backs as well. After we have lifted weights or done any other form of exercise, you should spend between 5 and 10 minutes to stretch.
This gets the muscles ready for any further stretches. This is done by increasing your range of motion and further prevents any form of injury, including back pain.
2. Lift weights with proper techniques
Lifting weights has so many benefits. It helps to increase bone strength, increase muscle mass, and lose belly fat. But until you master the right form when lifting, you might continue to experience back pain after working out.
Depending on the workout, it’s always important that you engage your full body and mind. If you’re doing squats, for example, practice a form that allows you to engage your glutes and overall posterior chain.
If you’re doing deadlifts, keep your head in a neutral position as a starting point. Look forward, fixing your gaze to a spot on the ground, so your chin stays up. And throughout the lift, make sure you keep your back straight.
Here’s the point: you cannot lift weight mindlessly and hope your body is safe.
3. Drink more water
During an intense workout, you lose bodily fluids mainly through sweating. You need to replenish the fluid lost and drinking water – lots of it – can do just that.
Another reason why you should drink water is that the discs in your back depend on its hydration to prevent back pain. Thus, with a lot of water there, there is absolutely no way you will experience back pains.
Stretching your spine back and forth will use up the fluid available in that area to prevent the pain. If there is no fluid there, you know what happens next.
4. Get a massage
It is also good at preventing back pains after an intense workout session.
Massages help with the flow of blood, ease muscle tension and lose tightness in the muscles. That is why the feeling after a massage is one to die for.
5. Choose the right sleeping position
Our posture in bed does a lot for our backs. Sleeping on your back or facing the ceiling is one of the best ways to get your sleep well. Although only 8 percent of people sleep in this position
In this position, your head, neck, and spine rest in a neutral position. This means that there’s less pressure on those parts and less pain experienced.
Sleeping on your side is also one of the best ways to sleep. It provides almost the same advantages of sleeping on your back. At the end of it all, they all prevent back pain.
Sleeping on your stomach is the worst way to sleep. Let us explain.
This is because of the large amount of pressure being exerted on the back and neck. The excess pressure on your back doesn’t prevent back pain after workouts.
6. Take a cold shower
After an intense workout, your body has worked so hard that there is a lot of heat within the body. Taking a cold or cool shower is one of the best ways to bring the body’s temperature down.
It helps to relax the muscles of the entire body, relieves the body of its aches and mentally relaxes the mind after a strenuous workout. The cold shower helps to repair muscles that might have been torn during the work out session.
DO LESS (or none) of this to prevent back pain after workouts
7. Sit still after workouts
You don’t want to get your muscles tightened up after working out. When they tighten up, the cause sores and bring about aches. The same thing happens to the muscles at the back that causes back pains.
You don’t want that. Right after exercising, the first thing you want to avoid is slumping yourself on your couch.
I know it’s tempting, you’re tired and you feel you deserve it. Instead, first, make sure you’ve done enough stretches after working out. Move about do anything to keep the body mobile.
8. Skip sleep
Sleep is important, especially after an intense workout. Under normal circumstances, the body needs sleep to rest and to rejuvenate. After an intense workout, a good night’s sleep is equally needed to rest the body and rebuild it.
Several studies have researched the impact of sleep deprivation on athletic performance. The impact (negative of course) include:
- Slow muscle recovery
- Increased stress hormones levels
- Decreased glycogen synthesis
- Increased aerobic endurance
- Increased ratings of perceived exertion.
So how many hours should you sleep after working out? This depends on how intense and frequent your workout. But it’s not unique to find that top athletes sleep between 10 and 12 hours each night.