Can Working Out Cause Back Pain?

Do you experience back pain after working out? It’s possible you’re doing something wrong. Here are a few things that could be causing your back pain during and after exercise.


Most people think of exercise as a way to prevent and relieve low back pain. After all, exercise strengthens the muscles that support the spine, relieves joint stiffness and helps maintain the natural curves of the spine. However, overdoing it in the gym or participating in certain types of physical activities can actually increase your risk for developing back pain. Understanding what types of exercises can be particularly problematic for your lower back can help you minimize your risk for low back injury and prevent chronic discomfort as you stay fit.

Causes of Back Pain

Back pain is an incredibly common complaint and can stem from a number of causes. One of the causes of back pain can be regular physical activities such as working out. Working out can cause back pain because it can put stress on the muscles and ligaments that support the spine, leading to inflammation and chronic pain. We’ll look at other causes of back pain, as well as how to alleviate it.

Poor Posture

Poor posture can lead to back pain, especially when sitting for long periods of time. Poor posture often arises from weak muscles or tight muscles in the chest, upper back and neck – or from a combination of tight and weak muscles. When a muscle is both weak and tight, it can pull bones out of alignment leading to arthritis over time or immediate back pain due to the increased strain on an already painful area.

Sitting for long periods with hunched shoulders, bad chair design, incorrect monitors and not taking regular breaks to move your body will create an imbalance in the head-neck-back area that often manifests as lower back pain. The same applies when leaning forward while standing to fix a section on the ground with movements limited just in that area giving rise to neck and shoulder issues as well as other musculoskeletal pains and discomfort. In addition, poor posture can cause compression in the lungs which can limit our lung capacity difficulty breathing. Poor posture also affects our mental wellbeing where we are less refreshed and alert during working hours making us more vulnerable during activities that require concentration and balance such as driving a car or exercising.


Over-exertion is a common cause of back pain, especially when it comes to strenuous exercise and workouts. Many individuals push themselves too hard and too far during their workout or exercise regime, which can result in muscle exhaustion, strains or tears in the muscles of the back. This excessive strain can occur in many regions of the body, including the back, shoulders and arms.

In addition to straining the muscles associated with these body parts, over-exertion may also lead to an altered posture causing issues with stability and balance. Poorly aligned posture can put further strain on weak areas of your body, making them more prone to injury. To help avoid this type of injury when working out it is important to know your limits and take regular breaks where needed. It is also smart to warm up properly before exercising as well as stretch after a workout session as this helps reduce risk of over-exertion injuries.

Weak Core Muscles

Weak core muscles can be a primary cause of back pain in active individuals. Your core muscles, located in the abdomen, buttocks, lower back and hips, help support your spine and are key players in stabilizing your spine – working to resist movement. If these muscles become weak due to a lack of activity or improper form during exercise, the result can be an increased stress on the spine which ultimately leads to discomfort.

Other than simply strengthening your core muscles, another way to combat back pain is by engaging in dynamic stretching exercises that target your abdominal and hip flexors. Specifically designed exercises like planks and bird dogs improve balance and coordination while also teaching your body how to better react to external forces – allowing you to move better both on and off the field.

In addition to dynamic stretching, experts recommend engaging in core-strengthening exercises two or three times per week focusing on frequently overlooked areas such as stabilizing muscles around the shoulders and rotator cuffs. This combination should serve as an effective prevention measure for those who want to work out without sacrificing their comfort or well-being.

How Working Out Can Cause Back Pain

Incorrectly performing exercises or stretches, or being overzealous with intensity and frequency can result in back pain associated with working out. It is important to take a break if you feel any pain during your workout and make sure you are using proper form when exercising. Let’s take a look at how working out can cause back pain.

Poor Form

Not all back pain is caused by poor form or injury. It’s possible to experience back pain even if you take safe precautions when starting a new exercise regime. Poor form occurs when you use incorrect technique for an exercise, making the muscles and joints work harder than they should and causing injury or tension. Poor form during any physical activity increases the risk of developing lower back pain as well as other musculoskeletal injuries.

When performing exercises, it’s important to focus on proper technique and posture. Make sure you are using the correct body mechanics and engaging the appropriate muscles correctly in order move correctly through movements of a given exercise. This includes maintaining proper posture during each range of motion within an exercise, simple strength-training exercises, stretching, and even yoga poses!

Using proper form can help avoid or diminish lower back pain in many cases. You may also need to adjust your clothing or equipment before engaging in physical activities if you have any pre-existing conditions that may impact your ability to maintain correct alignment of your spine while exercising. Speak with your doctor if any existing medical issues should be considered when engaging in physical activities that could potentially increase the risk of back pain or even injury.

Too Much Weight

When it comes to exercise and back pain, the cause is usually not related to muscle strength. Working out with weights can lead to back pain, especially if too much weight is put on the lower back or spine. Exercising with improper form or overdoing a particular exercise can strain muscles in the lower back, causing injury and short-term pain. In some cases, cumulative injuries due to multiple occurrences of poor form and technique can lead to chronic pain.
It’s important to know your limits when it comes to weight lifting and other exercises that involve the lower back and spine. Follow instructions closely for strength training exercises, stay mindful of proper form, know when you’ve had enough for one session and don’t be tempted to increase your weight beyond what your body can handle.

Not Enough Rest

One of the most common causes of back pain related to working out is not allowing the body enough rest time. Engaging in frequent, strenuous exercise without giving your body proper time to rest and recover can lead to injury, particularly to joints and muscles—including the back. Pain develops when muscles, tendons, and ligaments all become overworked or pushed beyond what your body can handle comfortably.

Additionally, being inactive for a long period of time can lead to sessions of intense exercise that can quickly cause strain on weakened joints and muscles. When easing into any new routine (or simply still recovering from a long bout of inactivity), it’s best to start low intensity physical activities such as walking or other low-impact exercises such as swimming or biking until your body adjusts.

Finally, those with existing chronic health conditions such as arthritis or an existing back injury may find that even moderate exercise causes discomfort and further exacerbates their condition. It is best practice for those with specific needs to speak with a medical professional prior beginning any exercise plan. To prevent soreness that may be caused by frequent workouts give yourself regular breaks between physical activity days – 48 hours’ minimum – in order to allow any strained muscle fibers adequate time to repair themselves before going through another workout routine.

Prevention of Back Pain

Working out is a great way to stay in shape and maintain a healthy lifestyle. However, many people don’t realize that it can also put a strain on their back, resulting in back pain. By following proper form and technique and by taking steps to prevent back pain from occurring in the first place, you can minimize the risk of experiencing back pain from your workouts. The following will discuss the specifics of how to prevent back pain.

Warm Up Properly

Warm up properly prior to any physical activity to help prevent back pain. Low-intensity activities, such as jogging in place, arm circles, side bends and torso twists, could be incorporated into a warm up in order to prepare the muscles for more strenuous physical activity.

It is important for individuals to ensure their movements are within their range of motion and that they are not pushing themselves too hard during the warm-up. Exercise physiologists recommend that an individual should spend at least five minutes warming up before beginning any physical activity.

Dynamic stretching can also be a beneficial part of an individual’s warm up routine. Dynamic stretching consists of mild aerobic exercises, that involve active body movement such as arm swings, lunges and squat thrusts. These types of stretches should be performed with proper form and without bouncing or jerking movements; they are designed to help increase an individual’s range of motion and cut down on potential injury during exercise.

Use Proper Form

Many people are unaware of the importance of using proper form when exercising. Using incorrect form or posture can cause muscle fatigue, strain on muscles and ligaments, and joint discomfort. In addition to these problems, improper technique can lead to acute or chronic back pain.

To reduce the risk of developing back pain, it is important to be aware of your form when exercising and ensure that you are using the right movements for each exercise. A few tips to get started:

-Always warm up before engaging in physical activity; start with dynamic stretches which will loosen up large groups of muscles and increase blood flow
-Make sure that your core is engaged while doing any exercise as this will provide stability throughout your body helping decrease back pain risk
-Ensure that your neck, shoulders and chest are all in a straight line whether doing squats or any other exercises; this will help maintain good posture and keep pressure off the spine
-When lifting weights or doing any type of resistance training make sure you keep your abdominals tight throughout
-Whenever possible use machines instead of free weights as these have been designed with proper form in mind
-Listen to your body; if you experience pain stop immediately

Use Light Weights

When it comes to preventing back pain, using lighter weights for workouts is a better way to go. When lifting weights with heavier loads, there is a risk of an overload on the muscles, ligaments and soft tissues which might result in pain or even an injury if not done correctly. It is very important that you warm up before doing any strength training exercise and appropriately adjust the load weight.

Using light weights helps to build strength in the smaller stabilizer muscles throughout the body and provide stability when performing larger lifts that involve larger joints such as the hips, shoulders, and back. This will enable you to lift heavier without compromising your posture or technique which can cause tension and eventually lead to poor performance and potential injury.

As you increase your load weight with exercise, remember that proper form must be maintained during each repetition of every exercise; this includes maintaining good posture throughout all movements related to particular exercises as well as ensuring that you’re controlled while in motion (with awareness of range of motion). By following these basic rules you should be able to avoid any undesirable effects associated with lifting heavy weights while improving your overall fitness goals.

Take Regular Breaks

Regular breaks can help prevent back pain, as well as allow your muscles to recover and rebuild. Taking regular breaks while working, whether it is at an office desk or in a more physically strenuous job, can help relieve the pressure on your back and reduce discomfort. Make sure you get up every hour or so to move around and stretch, regardless of the type of work you are doing. Standing for even brief periods can be beneficial for your back health by allowing increased blood flow, better posture and dispersal of tension from your neck and shoulders throughout the rest of your body. Taking frequent breaks will also help you remain active throughout the day, helping avoid any issues that long periods of inactivity may cause.


After reviewing the research, professional guidance and real-life experiences, it appears that working out can contribute to back pain in certain circumstances. One issue is that people tend to increase their intensity or duration too quickly and may be pushing their bodies past a safe or healthy level. It’s important to take things slow and listen to your body when starting (or increasing) an exercise program. Other issues relate to having incorrect form or using improper equipment causing excessive strain on the spine. This can be avoided by following proper technique, warm up appropriately and using good quality workout equipment designed for your particular situation.

When used correctly and supplemented with adequate rest and self-care, exercising can actually help reduce back pain symptoms by improving core strength, stretching tight muscles and creating better posture. Ultimately, if you experience chronic back pain it is best to consult with a medical specialist who can provide advice on the best exercises for you based on your individual medical history.

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