Back injuries are a surprisingly common problem. The key to preventing back pain and injury is to:
- Strengthen the muscles that form a guy wire system around the spine (the core)
- Reduce the amount of bending and twisting in the spine
Stuart McGill provides a series of exercises that can help:
- Side plank
- Bird dog
- Modified crunch
He demonstrates the exercises here. This video also describes why many of the exercises that we are often told to do are actually not good for the spine and actually put our discs at risk. Our discs are made up of layers of collagen and hold in a jelly-like substance in the centre called the nucleus pulposus.
If we bend the spine back and forth this can result in the layers of collagen separating. We can then get a bulging or herniated disc when the nucleus pulposus starts to push its way through the layers of collagen. Back pain is often the result of this material pushing on a nerve root.