My association, the British Chiropractic Association, has carried out some research which has produced these unhappy findings:
- 41% of respondents to their questionnaire have been prevented from exercising due to back or neck pain
- 25% of people reported their back or neck pain has deterred them from physical activity for up to a month
- 9% stating their back or neck pain has led to them avoiding exercise for over half a year
- With an unfortunate 34% who felt it was exercise itself which triggered their pain
This is pretty sorry reading.
What we want at C1 is for as many people as possible to benefit from sports. Particularly over the summer. Now, we all know that exercise is essential to build and maintain strength and flexibility. It helps to improve your posture and protect you from any further pain. It is also true that total rest is not a good way to recover from any back pain. Continuing moderate physical activity will help in the long run.
The BCA has developed these top tips to help people of all ages and fitness levels ‘back pain-proof’ their work-out routines:
Know your equipment: When trying a new activity, it’s always best to make sure you ask your instructor how your equipment should be set up. For example, if you’re cycling or spinning, you need to set your saddle and handlebar to the correct height. This reduces tension on your neck or back and reduce back pain
Know your limits. Even professional athletes aren’t born ready. It takes time to build the intensity of your practice. If you try a new sport, or want to intensify your workout, it’s important to take a slow approach and not to push your body’s limits. It is always advisable to visit a professional who can assess your body’s capabilities and advise on a safe way of training based on your body’s limitations
Warm up and cool down: Before starting any form of physical activity, you should warm up any muscle groups which might be affected whilst you exercise. If you use them without preparing them first, your muscles could get a shock, causing you pain which could have been prevented
Reduce the impact: If a previous injury is causing you pain, adapt your exercise to reduce the impact on your joints and muscles. Activities such as swimming, walking or yoga can be less demanding on your body keeping your muscles mobile!
Not all exercise is the same: The fittest of athletes will still find it difficult to adapt to a new sport. Each sport uses some muscle groups more than others. With this in mind, always approach a new activity with care and don’t jump in at the deep end!