Weightlifting & Exercise/Bad Back/Neck Pain

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Question
Well here we go… The saga of me and my back tragically continues.

I'm 20, about 11 stone, pretty healthy (I run x3 times a week and am well defined and toned)

All good you might ask, but tragically no… I started types of weights and going to the gym in variation about 5 years ago and this is my history.

1) Started at the gym, doing free weights and machines (NO NOTICEABLE BACK PAIN)

2) Transfered to home workout, just mostly sit ups and press ups, I tried to do the right technique (CRIPPLING LOWER NECK PAIN) Boy, oh boy, I would wake up in the middle night nearly in tears. I would try as hard as I could to concentrate pressure on my abs while doing sit ups than any on my neck, but still alas, neck pain…

3) Decided to try something new and bought a bench and started doing free weights (APPEARED TO BE A GOOD SOLUTION, NOTICEABLY BETTER BACK) Not that much back pain, apart from achey neck in the morning.

4) Went to College and didn't take my bench, just some dumbbells. Doing a range of exercises excluding anything that puts pressure on my neck. I don't do sit ups and press ups. (INTERMITTINGLY BAD BACK PAIN)

I mean, I'm at my wits end… I don't think I'm doing any exercises wrong, but why is my back always so tender. It's incredibly depressing. Why is the bench so important to exercises? I don't know what to do?!!

Please help,

Johnny

Answer
Johnny,

I am so sorry to hear about the pain you are experiencing and I can tell you that I totally understand what you are going through. I have had some herniated disc's in the past that brought me to the verge of tears, and believe me when I say I feel your pain. So I am guessing the pain in your back is lower (lumbar region) and it seems everyone has or will at some point experience this same condition for a variety of different reasons. I highly recommend seeing an Orthopedist or a Physiologist (Physical Therapist we call them here in the States) as they can perform some diagnostic exercise tests and see what is going on. It may be something as simple as a strained muscle, but this seems to be a nagging issue and with the pain this severe you may very well have a herniated disc also. Do you by chance have a sharp pain going down the back of the leg, anywhere from you buttocks to the top of the foot? If yes, than this is "Sciatica" caused by irritation or compression of the Sciatic nerve. I had this with my herniated disc. The best exercise for back pain believe it or not is simply walking, preferably while swinging your arms like a power walker. Try to do 3 miles a day, this will loosen up the paraspinals (muscle roots that tie in to spinal cord all along the spinal column. Also when doing sit-ups, do crunch's instead where your feet are not held down, this works the abs better and be sure not to pull on your neck, place fingers on sides of your head and use abs to crunch forward. Lastly go to YouTube for some exercises for your condition and be sure to use correct form otherwise you risk further injury to your back. Lastly if they are not already, strengthen your core (abs, lumbar region of back and hip flexors) as these are your postural support muscles when idle or during activity. Try placing an ice-pack where the pain is (especially after exercise even if it is not hurting after exercise) and be sure to see a specialist. You may just need some muscle relaxers and/or physical therapy.
Johnny I hope you find this information useful and I sincerely hope you feel better soon. Best of luck.

Sincerely,

Greg

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Greg Hoppe

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I can answer questions on proper exercise technique, starting as well as growing in attaining your fitness goals and questions regrading how the human body works from an exercise physiology standpoint. I can assist with any questions regarding anatomy & physiology, stretching and rehabilitation. I am also extremely well versed and experienced in martial arts, self-defense and massage therapy.

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I have a B.S in Physical Education and a Black Belt in an eclectic martial art. I am also a certified Fitness Therapist through ISSA and a massage therapist. I can assist with questions regarding hiring a health and wellness professional as well as growing and succeeding in the field for those already working in it.

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ISSA, Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals

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B.S. in Physical education, Black Belt, ISSA certfified Fitness Therapist.

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