How to Avoid Back Injuries at the Gym

Prevention is the most important alternative to pain management. Learning how to prevent back injuries, and taking the time to perfect your form can save you from years of dealing with pain. That’s why we’re happy to present this information – in hopes that it will help you live pain free.

Exercise is an important part of your weekly routine – for the sake of your overall health and wellbeing – but nobody wants to put themselves at risk of long term pain and discomfort. Developing a back injury at the gym may prevent you from achieving your fitness goals, and worse, it could make day-to-day activities uncomfortable and painful. Fortunately back pain doesn’t have to be part of the program – that’s why it’s important to take the right precautions and preventative measures when working out.

Some of the most common back injuries for people who lift weights are targeted in the lumbar region and the lower spine, and these injuries can lead to serious problems – especially if left untreated. Sooner is always better when it comes to back and spine injuries, so if you are experiencing back pain, we recommend you contact us or call (201) 962-9199 to book an appointment at our medical facility in Ramsey, NJ where we’ll be able to diagnose and treat your condition – without the use of surgery.


One of the most important things you can do to avoid back injuries at the gym is to maintain a healthy weight. Having extra weight on your spine may cause the discs to bulge and eventually become damaged. Reducing the weight that is supported by your spine will reduce the wear and tear on the disc and prevent future pain and discomfort.

Another health concern comes from cigarette use, which can alter the chemical structure of your intervertebral discs, leaving them vulnerable to rapid dehydration. As a result, these discs can become brittle, which increases the risk of tearing. For this and many other reasons, you should try your best to stop smoking.


Another way to reduce the risk of back injury at the gym is to develop a strong “core” region. Your core is a collection of muscles that starts with your midsection, but it extends beyond just your abs – including muscles like obliques, rectus, transversus, and psoas muscles in the abdomen, along with back muscles such as the quadratus lumborum and paraspinals. A strong core is essential for a healthy, pain-free back because these muscles work together to provide support for your spine and skull.


Some gym exercises can be more punishing on your body than others, and some should be limited or avoided altogether (without the assistance of a certified personal trainer). For example, Military Presses and Weight Assisted Lunges should be largely avoided, as they can compress the spine from the head area.

Overexerting yourself with too many reps or too much weight can lead to pain and discomfort, so always be sure to know your limits and work with a friend or spotter to keep you safe. It’s also important to make sure that you are maintaining the correct form and performing your exercises the correct way. When in doubt, ask. For example, one of our back specialists at our Ramsey, NJ facility will be able to show you the right way to exercise for your particular goals.


It is important to understand that back pain can be an indication of a more serious injury, when pain starts to manifest you should take note of your symptoms and see a specialist. Your instinct might be to fight through the pain and discomfort, but you may be setting yourself up for serious problems in the future – it’s not worth the risk!

To learn more about avoiding back injuries at the gym, and what you can do to eliminate back pain, talk to one of our doctors or physical therapists at Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine today by calling (201) 962-9199.

At Progressive Spine and Sports Medicine, we specialize in nonsurgical pain management, and back pain and spine injuries are just a few of the many conditions we diagnose and treat in our Ramsey, NJ medical center. For more information, please see our full list of our nonsurgical services, or to schedule a consultation, contact us today.

We look forward to being your #1 solution for nonsurgical pain treatment.

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