Did you get a new puppy for Christmas and you need to start throwing balls or sticks for it … how could that cause back pain?
The problem is when you sit at a desk all day and become unfit, even this seemingly simple activity can lead to back pain.
If you think about it, when you want to throw a ball a long way, you tend to reach behind you to throw as hard as you can. However, if the muscles in front of your shoulders are tight from sitting at a desk all day, when you try to throw, you will actually twist your low back more than you should, in order to achieve the amount of stretch backwards of your arm to maximise your throw.
You may do this several times before your low back gives you pain. This of course depends on how strong your low back is to start with. If you already have a weakness there then repeated twisting will obviously irritate it sooner than later. The better core strength you have, as for any activity, the less you will twist in one spot and the less likely you are to irritate your back.
To throw efficiently, however, you also need to LENGTHEN your anterior shoulder muscles that link your upper arm to your breast bone – your “pects”. Then you will not need to twist your back when you aim for a long throw.
THROWING – HOW BEST TO DO THIS?
To train flexibility you need to approach it correctly – not just swing your arm behind you in the hope that you will improve your ‘flexibility’.
The best way to improve elasticity in a muscle is to:
- Extend the arm as far as possible but passively – which means without any effort. Hold onto a wall behind you with your hand and allow your arm to stretch, while keeping the muscle as relaxed as possible.
- After a few seconds of stretching, contract the muscle for 6 seconds by pushing against the wall with your hand but do not allow any movement to occur at the shoulder
- Relax the muscles again for 2 – 4 seconds then passively stretch the muscle again.
- Repeat the passive stretch then relaxation then contraction three times.
By the end of this series of stretches and contractions, you will be able to extend your arm behind you further than you could before without twisting your back.
You also need to keep your core strong – please give us a call if you have low back pain or you are stiff in your mid back. The quicker you restore strength where you should be strong and flexibility where you should be able to stretch, then your body will move as it should without causing you pain … and your new puppy will be happy too!