Building Core Strength to Reduce Back Pain
The Importance of Strong Abdominal Muscles
Core strengthening is more than just achieving six-pack abs. Developing strong abdominal muscles may actually help prevent back pain by making you less prone to back injuries and teaching you proper spinal alignment.
Many people have back pain—whether it's upper back pain or low back pain—and this may be partly caused by weak abdominal muscles. Since your abs are the front anchor of your spine, if they are weak, then the other structures supporting your spine (your back muscles, for example) will have to work harder. By developing stronger core muscles, you'll be less likely to injure or strain your back muscles.
Preventing back pain caused by muscle strain can be pretty simple—if you know how to avoid it in the first place. Other than maintaining good posture and developing core strength, there are a few key techniques that may help you steer clear of back pain:
- Stretch regularly: Since many of us spend most days sitting at a desk, stretching for a few minutes a day may be very beneficial.
- Lose weight if necessary: Being overweight puts extra strain on your back.
- Be sure to get enough sleep: Aim for 8 or more hours of sleep every night. As with your mind, your spine needs rest, too. It supports the weight of your back, so make sleep a priority.
- Incorporate proper techniques when lifting something: Use the strength of your legs instead of your back to lift.
The Significance of Core Strength
If you think about it, your core is in the center of your body. It needs to be strong to support the weight of your entire body, including your back and neck. Adding core strengthening to your exercise routine can help protect your back and neck. By boosting your core strength, you'll also be less likely to rely on other back pain treatments, such as medications.
It's important to incorporate exercises that work all of your abdominal muscles equally. Core exercises should involve the major muscles in your abdomen, including your internal and external obliques and the transverse abdominals.