I was always amazed when working with athletes how it seemed that lower back pain was accepted as the norm. Most people brush off the sore back that they wake up with and hope that by moving around, it will get better. While there is some truth to that statement, just moving around and not really doing anything to help or fix it can lead to compensation issues—which can cause greater pain in the future or lead to time away from sports and activities that you love.
Most Americans, athletes or not, have some form of back pain. They wake up with it hoping that as the day goes on it gets better. This pain affects athletic performance and limits outcomes, whether you realize it or not. This pain can be the difference between attaining your best time or personal record… or just being able to complete a distance. Ignoring the pain can lead to hip pain, knee pain and ankle pain. Unfortunately, back pain rarely goes away on its own and only gets progressively worse.
I most often hear that people have had back pain for years. They finally just came to see me because they could not get out of bed or it finally prevented them from doing an activity. By this time, it is months of therapy to get you back to your sport. The time to deal with back pain is when you feel it, the first time—not when you can’t get out of bed. And back pain is NOT hereditary. Just because you father had back pain does not mean that you will have back pain.
For anyone who gets out of bed and has back pain or has ‘kinks’ in their back, starting a foam rolling program and gentle stretching and movements will help ease your back into the day. Forcing your back into movements when they are painful will only create further problems down the road. Compensation issues and knots arise in the muscles when the muscles are forced to react while in pain. It is important to take the time to decrease the back pain and sometimes that can be done with just a hot shower.