Fitness these days is all about following the latest trends, and one of the most popular trends of the last few years is CrossFit. There’s just something so alluring about this unorthodox style of working out that appeals to both veteran fitness buffs and beginners. Everything from the dynamic movements to the captivating marketing has convinced people all around the world that CrossFit is a great substitute to the boring routines of a regular gym workout.
But CrossFit comes at a price: it causes back pain in almost everyone who does it. One study from 2013 found that out of 132 CrossFit athletes, 97 of them admitted that CrossFit had caused one or multiple injuries. A follow-up study found that the most common injuries amongst CrossFit athletes were low-back and shoulder injuries.
So why exactly does CrossFit lead to lower back pain? We’ve analysed the techniques and exercises common amongst CrossFitters and have come up with a few explanations:
1. Your Weights Are Too Heavy
Most CrossFit athletes who experience lower back pain are actually experiencing what is known as lumbar strain. This occurs when you lift weights too heavy for your muscles alongside bad or unusual form.
Instead of having a stable spine during lifting, your muscles become too stretched, causing tears in your muscle tissue. This makes it more and more difficult to lift as you receive less support on your spine and more pain in your back.
2. You Care Too Much About Your Abs, Not Your Stability
True strength is expressed in your core stability, not in your glamour muscles. No matter how amazing your abs may look, if you don’t have the right amount of core stability to keep yourself stable through your entire workout, you are going to end up hurting yourself.
CrossFit tends to force athletes to have high rep lifts and max out the amount of weight or reps they can do under a certain amount of time. This leads to mistakes and errors in form, and can be incredibly damaging to your core stability. By neglecting the development of your core strength, you end up weakening the capability of your entire body.
3. Nerve Pressure Leading to Sciatica
The dynamic movements of CrossFit may look fun, but they also lead to more serious injuries. Sciatica is one common consequence of CrossFit, and the symptoms and pains you might feel are enough to take you out of the gym for an extended period of time.
So how do you know if you have sciatica? The pain is easy to recognize: sciatica stays around the back of the leg up to the lower back on a single side of the body. This occurs when there has been too much nerve pressure or irritation, and lead to sensations of numbness, burning, and tingling in the target area.
4. Working Out After a Day at the Office
Many people like to spend a few hours at the gym after sitting in their cubicle or office the entire day, believing that it will keep them in shape despite how long they spent sitting around at a desk. While it might keep you fit, it also leads to an increased risk hurting your lower back.
By suddenly working out at a gym and committing yourself to the speedy and dynamic movements of CrossFit, you risk hurting your hip flexors, causing them to stiffen which in turn leads to recurring lower back pain. This condition is known as stiff iliopsoas, which is the connector of the two muscles that connect your hip and thigh with your spine and femur. To avoid this, it is best to stick to slower and steadier movements after a long day of rest.
5. The Worst Pain: Lumbar Herniated Disc
Like every other condition listed above, a herniated disc can be the unfortunate result of the quick and sudden movements involved in CrossFit. By committing too much pressure on your spinal discs through extreme squats or deadlifts without proper form, an athlete can end up breaking their spinal discs, causing immense pain.
In cases such as these, treatment should be sought immediately.
Experiencing Lower Back Pain? Get Treatment Today at First Choice Chiropractic
CrossFit might be a fun, community-building activity, but responsible exercise should always take priority over any new trend. If you are one of the 75% of CrossFit athletes with back pain, sporadic or recurring, it is important to get it looked at by a professional right away.
At First Choice Chiropractic, we ensure that your spine is in perfect condition, and if it isn’t, we will work with you to develop a personalised plan and treatment to get your spine back where it should be.
Contact us online or by phone and book your appointment today!