Severe back pain impacts every aspect of life including how you sit, stand and move. Even general aches and pains can be debilitating at times, so, it is important to gain back pain relief and to consider all preventative measures and methods of healing. Core strengthening is an important factor when it comes to back pain relief and by having strong abdominal muscles, this can reduce the risk of further injuries as well as aiding spinal alignment.
Many people suffer from back pain, but severe back pain can stop everyday life in its tracks. Worse, pain can be intense and last for weeks. The abdominal muscles act as an anchor at the front of the spine and if these are weak, it simply means that the muscles of the back must work harder. When the core is strong, this provides support and prevents the risk of injury. If you have become used to living with weak back muscles and rely heavily on pain medication, it’s good to know that by gradually introducing exercise into your life and by strengthening those core muscles, it is likely that the need for pain relief will reduce. So, it is worth the effort.
The supportive frame
The bones of the spine along with core muscles provide a framework in which to support your body. It enables effortless motion, backwards, forwards and sideways. This is an intricate system to provide stability and strength not just to the back but to the arms and legs also. Back muscles and abdominal muscles are vital for ensuring movement and keep the body upright and stable. Weak muscles do not support movement or posture and subsequently, this leads to back pain. When the muscles are weak or, very tight, it is easy for injury to occur and if you have ever experienced painful spasms in the muscles of the back, you will know why. When muscle strength is compromised, this can also lead to issues with bone structure.
Core muscles and back pain relief
If you are considering working on your core muscles, and you should, ensure that you exercise them all equally. So, this includes internal and external obliques and transverse muscles too. Alignment issues are often the culprit leading to back pain and so, by working the abdominals correctly, you can avoid pain or injury altogether.
Strengthening for back pain relief
To strengthen core muscles and to provide back pain relief, take an informed approach to exercise. If you have not exercised for a while, the muscles will be susceptible to injury and talking to a professional trainer could be useful. They will create a plan designed to support progression rather than risking injury. But there are exercises and techniques that can be used at home without going anywhere.
Firstly, consider your posture. A poor posture can create a lot of strain on the neck and back and so, get into the habit of standing tall, tightening up those abdominal muscles and when, bending or lifting, use the muscles of the thighs to take the strain. Never lift through the back. Stretching regularly is essential. Practice yoga at home but remember, that it is not about how far you can stretch, more about the alignment so stand in front of a mirror to ensure you are achieving the correct posture.
If you are carrying a little too much weight, try to lose some. Go on a healthy eating plan and couple this with gentle exercise to start developing a stronger, fitter body. By losing weight, your back muscles have less strain, and this may also reduce aches and pains that exist.
Learn the muscles groups that support the core. You need to work the back and gluteal muscles (extensors) as these are important for lifting, extending and straightening.
Abdominal and iliopsoas (flexors) assist in bending movements. They support the spine at the front while the flexors connect to the back arch of the lumbar spine. They flex and help with moving the thigh inwards – towards the body. This is known as adducting.
Side muscles (obliques, rotators, paraspinal muscles) help to stabilize the spine while standing. Work the obliques because they help with rotation while still ensuring correct posture and, impact the curvature of the spine.
If the core is not strengthened regularly, the muscles start to weaken. Fortunately, core muscle exercises also train muscles of the pelvis, hips, lower back and abdomen. Stability improves as does balance. For back pain relief, start slowly. Never overdo it, especially if you are not used to exercise.
Work on posture first to ensure sitting and standing correctly. Try to avoid too much tension in the back or neck and once, you have improved your posture, you can add in some stretches and gradually, core muscle exercises. Always listen to your body. This is especially important if you have been suffering with severe back pain for an extended period as it takes time to build up strength and fitness. Little and often along with conscious awareness can make a big difference.