What Causes Back Pain and How to Treat it

What Causes Back Pain and How to Treat it

What Causes Back Pain and How to Treat it

My family has been my backbone.. Heard so many successful people say this?  Backbone is synonymous to the biggest strength/support. The back bone of our body is our spine. Spine is the bone which holds us strong and tall. There are few muscles which surround the spine and hold the spine in place.

You want to lift, run, swim, drive, walk, sit? You can do all of this happily only if your back bone is strong..It is so important to keep the back bone or let me say the muscles surrounding it strong.
The common mistake that we all do is to train our abs like a beast and totally ignore the back muscles. This may strengthen the abs muscles but simultaneously stiffens the back muscles so you have 6 packs abs with severe back pain.. (now enjoy your 6 packs :P )

I want to share two examples here.

You must have noticed that people with a big tummy or a pregnant women have a weight appended to the front of their body. Their lower back is curved way too much. This curve is to contract the lower back muscles. So that lower back muscles can take the load, which is there on the belly. Over time, such a posture,  tightens their back muscles and weakens their ab muscles.

Now when such people start training their focus is on getting a flat belly. Most of the times, they do cardio and crunches and then complain of increased back pain. See it is not their fault, they see the tummy bulging so they put it under regiment. Wish they could also notice the back arching :P . They hardly think of first correcting their posture by strengthening equally all the muscles around their lower spine.

Luckily some of them are advised first to strengthen their core (muscles surrounding the spine) and then to hop on to cardio or crunches. For that they are advised to do planks, squats, deadlifts etc.. But some of them still continue to complain of back pain.. Why? Because it is not just about doing the planks, squats etc . Again it is about doing them with proper form or posture. As it is the proper form which ensures that all the core muscles are engaged.

What I am trying to say is pain free back means strong core and strong core is created by engaging the right muscles while working out.

one more example. When we bend down to lift weights for deadlift or to lift a shopping bag then there are two ways in which we lift:

1)  By bracing our abs and bending our knees. In this case, the load of the weight that we are lifting will be transferred to our core muscles.

2) By bending our spine. In this case, the load of the weight, will be transferred to our spine. and we will feel as if we were lifting ten times more than the actual weight.

This is the reason, I ask you to close your eyes, when you exercise so as to feel where the load is going. Lifting heavy is not important but lifting correctly is very important. So may be we do 10 simple squats and lunges with no weights but if we do them correctly. We will end up strengthening our core and getting our body rid of any pain.

The muscles around our spine are called the core muscles. One important muscle of this group is erector spinae. The muscle which runs on either side of the spine. In a bid to train our abs, we often ignore this muscle. Weak erector spinae means weak back and hence back pain.

First take away: before you do a lot of cardio or crunches. Think of your back muscles. Think of erector spinae. First train it then go to abs. So do deadlifts, squats, bridges before crunches.

Second take away: Before starting any exercise, it is a good practice to first learn to do it correctly. Plank does not mean staying on your toes and elbows for 1 or 2 mins. It means staying on your toes and elbows with your body in a straight line from shoulder to heels. May be just for 30 secs. In this posture you can actually feel your core muscles working to hold you. And that is what is actually needed.

Third take away: As soon as you feel back pain while doing any exercise. Stop right there and ask yourself ‘Am I doing the exercise correctly’? Even if it is a yes then tell yourself ‘may be I should first do some back strengthening exercises than get to this’.

Back Strengthening Exercises

1. Cobra pose. Bhurjanasana

2. Bridge Pose

3. Superman

4. Spinal Twist


5. Spinal Rotation

Single Leg Spinal Twist


6. Planks

7. Squats

8. Deadlift

9. Lunges

10. Isometric exercises like planks.

Yoga is the best for back pain or for anything in this world :)

fourth take away: Improve your posture. By that I do not mean that you sit straight like a rod. But just brace your abs in, tightly and roll your shoulder blades downwards, towards each other.

fifth take away: No sitting at one place for long. This also stiffens the back muscles. Please keep moving around.

sixth take away: Do a lot of spinal stretches in a seated or lying down position. Yes they are not intense and won’t make you feel high and sweaty. But they will definitely make your back hurt less :)

If the pain still nags then visit a physiotherapist.

Hope this helps. Please ask your questions :)

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12 thoughts on “What Causes Back Pain and How to Treat it

  1. Ankita

    thanks for writing this Nidhi…very helpful :) i swear by bhujangasana for lower back stretch and bridges r ultimate for relaxation :)

      1. Manali

        Nidhi, I hope things are ok with your mom. I know how it feels when our parents have even a minor fever. I get all hyper and worried. Take care.

  2. shilpa

    wow thanks a bunch for writing this article nidhi i really really needed this :) :) . I ll bookmark this article nd read again n again :)

  3. shilpa

    what is the correct way of doing squats n lunges ? do we have to brace our abs in, tightly and roll shoulder blades downwards ? I am already following ur tips of raising toes while doing Squats :) :) :)

    1. Nidhi

      :-) :-).. yes..no raising toes.. weight on heels so that you get to freely raise your toes but no raising toes.. it was just a way of explaining :-P :-)

  4. shilpa

    oops sorry its calf raise LOL . we can do that right ? please tell correct way of doing sqauts.
    do we have to brace our abs in, tightly and roll shoulder blades downwards ?


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