Spine Health should be discussed at the gym and amongst friends and family. Especially if you are a non-athlete.
It’s a new year.
We all know what that means.
Thousands of us flock to the gym and fitness groups for workout regimens that will deliver a “new you.” There’s a trend towards heavy weight-lifting – be aware though, the outcomes can be impressive – and painful!
As an Interventional Pain Physician at MBSP, I see far too many patients who express remorse rather than glee about their heavy weight lifting stint. I am hearing “I am in pain” instead of “I feel great.” Why? Because many cross-fitness programs tend to ignore the importance of spine health. So let’s talk a little more about weight lifting.
The Biometrics Are Simple:
- lifting three to four times one’s body weight puts unnatural stress on the spine
- the weight pushes down the spine-bones and squeezes intervertebral discs (the gelatinous material that allows us to flex and rotate our neck and low back)
- the strain exerted while weight lifting can increase the pressure exerted on your intervertebral discs
- taken together, heavy weight lifting when combined with straining can cause a range of health issues including herniated discs and disc rupture
- over the course of months to years, these activities can contribute to degenerative disc disease, which accelerates aging of the spine
A growing number of my patients are in their 20s and 30s and present with herniated discs in the neck and low-back that they trace to aggressive workout regimens and heavy weight lifting. Many acknowledge being fitness fanatics who follow mantras like “no pain, no gain.”
The hardest part of my job as a pain specialist is discussing the realities of what spine injuries mean to young adults who’ve built their lives around fitness and health – no more weight lifting or running, no straining or lifting, at least for now. But the good news is that early and aggressive treatment under the care of a physician with advanced, specialist training is key and can lead to full recovery and improvement.
Yoga & Pilates
Many healthcare professionals also recommend Yoga and Pilates exercise programs for those with certain spine and back conditions. In addition to the prevention and wellness benefits they offer, these programs help with spine flexibility and the stretching/strengthening of important back muscles.
Spine Health awareness and education is an important mission at Maryland Brain, Spine, and Pain. The symptoms of a spine injury vary and shouldn’t be ignored. Disc herniation, disc bulge or other injury to the delicate structures of your spine can present symptoms such as extreme neck/ low back pain, or pain down the arm or leg.
Early and accurate diagnosis by a physician with specialized training is central to treatment and recovery. Spine Health should be discussed at the gym and amongst friends and family. Visit with one of our spine specialists for proper care of your neck and back if you believe you’ve suffered an injury.
In my own practice as an Interventional Pain Physician at Maryland Brain, Spine and Pain, a growing number of my patients are in their 20s and 30s and present with herniated discs in the neck and low-back that they trace to aggressive workout regimens and heavy weight lifting. Thankfully, under our care, this can be treated and lead to a full recovery.