Low Back Injury Prevention

Did you know that low back pain is the single leading cause of disability world wide?  This is according to a study performed by the Global Burden of Disease in 2010.  It is also one of the most common reasons for missed work in the U.S. and will impact up to 80% of people in America at some point in their lives.  So what is causing this and why is it rising so drastically around the world?

There are many different reasons people can experience back pain ranging from having a muscle strain, to a ligament sprain, or even a bulging or herniated discs.  The good news is that the majority of injuries are mechanical and not caused by serious damage to the spine or other serious medical conditions.  Knowing this, there are a few things that everyone can do to help reduce the chance of injury.

Stretching is a very important aspect of daily living that many people put off thinking it doesn’t have much benefit.  But, because of the dramatic change in the workplace where the majority of people are sitting at desks or driving in cars, our hip flexors are constantly being placed in a shortened state.  Anyone who sits a lot during the day should make it a priority to get up, walk around, then hold a hip flexor stretch for 3 sets of 30 seconds.  This will allow your pelvis to get back into a neutral alignment and take pressure off of your lower back.

In addition to stretching the front of the hip, we also want to take care of strengthening the posterior side.  This means working on the glute group and core musculature.  One of the best exercises to take care of both of these is a glute bridge.  When performing this exercise you want to be sure to put yourself into a neutral spine position (which is demonstrated and explained in the video) in order to activate the glutes and take pressure off of the low back.  You can either do reps of 10 with a slow tempo and a brief hold at the top, or you can get to the top and hold for 30 seconds.  Do this for three sets being sure you are feeling mostly glutes firing and very little in the hamstrings a low back.

These are two preventative methods to reduce low back pain, but they aren’t the only things that can be done.  Performing these will help, but may not prevent all back pain.  If you continue to experience pain it would be best to seek further advice from a medical professional at Raleigh Orthopaedic to be sure it isn’t anything more serious and to learn other exercises that can be performed to help.

Written by:Ryan McCrea MS, ATC, LAT rmccrea@raleighortho.com 

Ryan McCrea is a Certified and Licensed Athletic Trainer (ATC, LAT) and is in good standings with the Board of Certification and the North Carolina Board of Athletic Trainers Examiners.  Ryan graduated from High Point University with his Bachelors in Athletic Training (2007) and Masters in Exercise and Sports Studies (2009).  He worked as a Graduate Assistant Athletic Trainer at Greensboro College before moving to Boca Raton, FL to work as an Assistant Athletic Trainer at Lynn University.  Ryan was promoted to Head Athletic Trainer three years later where he oversaw the medical needs of all 215 student-athletes.  While at Lynn, Ryan played an integral part in the Men’s Soccer team winning two National Championships as well as the Men’s Golf team being National Runner-ups on three occasions.  Ryan also worked with the Baseball and Men’s Lacrosse teams at Lynn University.

Ryan and his wife, Liz, recently moved to Raleigh where Ryan was born and raised.  He joined Raleigh Orthopedic in 2017 and is excited to be back in his hometown.  Ryan and Liz enjoy cooking, the outdoors and spending time with their two dogs Brantley and Cocomo.