Like all of my articles in which I discuss pain and injury, please go see a doc if your specific context calls for it.
None of this is meant to replace medical advice, but hopefully you find some value in the content, thoughts, and discussion!
First thing's first... Your Spine isn't Special
And by that I mean that when we compare it to other joints, we shouldn't really treat it much differently... but yet, everybody does.
Although misnamed "backbone," your spine isn't a singular bone but a series of bones and joints.
These joints create movement.
They can flex, extend and rotate.
They are anatomically built to move.
When we don't train our spine to be a primary mover of our body, and then try to complete an action that requires it... cough, cough YOUR GOLF SWING... bad things can happen.
"Don't lift with your back"
Whoever said this isn't totally wrong, but they missed a critical second part of the quote, it goes like this:
"Don't lift with your back, unless you have built resiliency through a progressive overload strategy."
Your back can be trained to be resilient, just like any other joint.
We do so by progressively applying greater loads and stresses to it, strengthening it and allowing it to contribute to your motor output.
3 STEP APPROACH TO BACK PAIN
If you have back pain, the first thing is you NEED to understand those first few points I outlined above that can be summarized as follows...
Your spine isn't fragile.
In order to strengthen your back and prevent future injuries we need to stress it.
"Lifting with your back" isn't bad when we properly progress into it.
Also, read this article to understand how ridiculously complex pain is...
STEP #1: Be more active and healthier
If you have back pain, the first thing we need to do is take an inventory of our holistic health habits.
No amount of planks, foam rolling, and stretching is going to solve your back pain if you are consistently eating like garbage, sitting at a job you hate all day, and sleeping for 2 hours a night.
Injuries and pain run much deeper than our physical, motor ability.
Everything affects everything.
3 Tips for Healthier You
Go for a daily walk, even if it is just 5 minutes.
Get more quality sleep.
Be aware of what you are fueling your body with.
Step #2: Move Your Spine More
In training, we should be building spinal fluidity by exposing it to novel positions, ranges of motion, and movements.
Too much of our training seeks rigidity and tension... which in and of itself, isn't bad, but we need to balance it with fluidity and decompression.
Tension and flow.
Rigidity and fluidity.
Compress and decompress.
Yin and yang.
If spinal HEALTH is the goal, start moving your spine more.
Take positions and movements as far as you feel comfortable, and try to relax in it.
Then tomorrow, push up to that limit again.
Then do it again.
Watch your spine truly become a part of your body and movement system, as opposed to a limiting factor that you are just hoping hangs on for the ride.
Here's a bunch of exercises that promote a fluid and mobile spine...
[1.] Rotational Cat-Cow
[2.] 3 Rotational Exercises in the IG below
[3.] Split Squat Lateral Bends
Step #3: LOAD Your Spine from ALL Angles
Our body and spine is built to move in all three planes.
Because of this, we need to establish resilience in all three.
Start with light stressors.
Do the exercises below with either body weight or very light external loads, whatever it takes to NOT feel back pain while completing them.
Then, as you get stronger, increase the loading.
Slowly, we will build a spine that is RESILEINT and MOBILE!
Exercise 1: Cable Eccentric Pallof Rotations
Exercise 2: DB Single Leg RDL
Exercise 3: Band Resisted Back Extension
WRAP IT UP
Back pain is no fun.
If you don't currently deal with it... BE PROACTIVE.
If you do currently battle it, attack these three steps.
Be more active and healthier.
Move your spine more often.
Load it from all angles.
The golf season is here.
Let's go low!