A Trainer’s Tips to Beating Lower Back Pain

Pilates stretch

Back pain, whether in the upper or lower back, can be quite bothersome and make even the simplest of daily tasks more difficult.

Lower back pain, also referred to as lumbago, is more common and affects millions of Americans every year. It can be triggered by overuse or injury, or it can be a chronic issue.

While it may seem that back pain comes out of nowhere, it does have a cause. It’s important to identify the source, so you can learn how to heal. In most cases, it’s the result of improper bending or heavy lifting. The lower back, which includes the lumbar muscles and the spine, is most susceptible to strain because it bears the weight of your upper body. At the same time, it also absorbs and distributes the forces of your every movement, so it’s easy to see why problems can develop.

Another typical issue? A weak core. “Growing up I played a lot of sports; but would cry when I had to empty the dishwasher,” says certified personal trainer and health expert Stephanie Mansour, who hosts the PBS show “Step It Up with Steph.” Despite being young and active, her core muscles were not strong enough to support her back while bending.

Mansour says exercises and stretches that work on your core will go a long way toward preventing injury and releasing tension. “When training clients who have low back pain, I always incorporate Pilates-style moves into their workout regimens,” she says, citing this method as one of the best for promoting strength and stability. And if you’re already suffering from a backache, she says staying active is key. “Don’t push yourself too hard but know that most exercises can be modified so they don’t worsen your condition.”

Mansour also recommends relieving pain at the source by applying Boiron Arnicare. This topical pain medicine is made from the Arnica plant to relieve muscle pain, stiffness, and swelling from injuries.* It’s available in unscented cream, gel, and ointment formulas, as well as a roll-on that helps with applying on hard-to-reach areas like your back.

Lower back pain is no fun, but with these tips and a little help from Arnicare, you can outsmart it and keep your spine healthy.

“Don’t push yourself too hard but know that most exercises can be modified so they don’t worsen your condition.”