National Backcare Awareness Week takes place in the UK this week to promote healthy back care, and highlight how to prevent and treat back pain.
The event, from the 5th to the 9th of October, is organised by the charity BackCare, which works to help prevent back and neck pain. BackCare provides information and advice to people experiencing back pain, and funds scientific research into the causes, prevention and management of back problems. According to the charity four out of five people may experience back pain at some point during their life.
Most back injuries are caused by sprains, strains or pinched nerves, and are triggered by everyday activities at home or work. Poor posture at work is one of the biggest causes of back pain, as well as not using the correct technique when lifting or moving objects. Slouching, twisting, driving for long periods, and over-using the muscles in sport can all cause back problems. Back injuries can develop quickly after heavy lifting for example, or they can develop gradually over time.
What You Can Do To Help
As a personal trainer you will undoubtedly work with clients who have experienced back pain. The good news is that exercise is one of the best things to help and prevent back ache. Swimming is great for strengthening the back without straining it in any way. Walking can also be a good way to focus on improving your client’s posture.
Exercises that strengthen the back and improve flexibility should be introduced to prevent clients from getting back pain – Yoga and Pilates are ideal. Whether your clients already have back pain, or want to stop problems from developing there are a number of exercises to help.
Ask your client to lie on their front using their elbows to prop up their body. They should arch their back up. Ask them to focus on their breathing, holding the stretch before returning to the starting position. Repeat the exercise eight to 10 times.
Bottom To Heel Stretch / Yoga Child’s Pose
Ask your client to start by kneeling on all fours. Knees should be under hips and hands under shoulders. Ask them to take their bottom backwards to their heels. To develop the stretch in the middle part of the back, encourage your client to reach forwards with their hands. Hold the stretch before returning to the starting position. Repeat eight times.
Ask your clients to lie on their back and keep their knees bent and together. Roll them to the left side, making sure their shoulders stay on the floor. Hold the stretch before returning to the central position. Then roll to the right side. Repeat eight to 10 times, alternating sides.
If your client is overweight, helping them to reduce body weight through a combination of diet and exercise will ease the pressure on their lower back. It’s also useful to speak to your client about posture and how a good position can be maintained throughout the day. Teaching your client the correct lifting technique can help as well.