Did you know that approximately 8 out of every 10 Americans will have back problems at some point during their lifetime? The number of adults in America experiencing lower back pain is on the rise. This is especially true for those over the age of 65.
Back pain can have a negative impact on our daily tasks. Affecting our ability to work, sit, stand, walk or lift. An aching back can be detrimental to our quality of sleep, and ability to function.
One way to spare your spine is to bend properly. When you hip hinge, your spine can stay in a neutral position, while the hips and upper legs support your body weight. When you bend at the waist, the back curves, forming an unprotected C-shape, putting stress on the spine and it’s vulnerable discs. These discs are little rings of collagen found between each vertebrae, which form a joint. Although they are mobile, these joints are not made for repetitive, compressive motion. Over time they wear and tear, putting you at high risk for disc tears (herniation), slippage, or chronic back pain. Use the large muscles of your hips; glutes, quads and hamstrings to support the whole weight of your body, instead of the smaller muscles surrounding your spine.
My best advice to spare your spine is to bend consciously, from the hips, not the waist. This requires hamstring mobility and spinal stability. In order to hinge properly, your hamstrings need to be mobile enough to lengthen with the movement. Tight hamstrings are extremely common and can prevent you from bending over easily. Which is why it’s important to stretch these muscles often. We recommend incorporating daily hamstring and hip mobility exercises, especially if you spend a lot of time sitting OR if you are already experiencing back pain.