Back pain is one of the most common reasons people seek medical care. If you’ve experienced back pain, you know it’s not any fun. There are many recommendations about preventing or healing back pain, but what actually works? The Southeastern Spine Institute (SSI) has answers for you.
Prevention is always the best course of action. Maintain good health and keep in contact with your physician. Staying in shape and building up your core muscles to support your spine are the most effective steps you can take. The exercises and treatments you learn from the physical therapists specializing in back issues at SSI help you to protect your back. Through core-building exercises, you practice prevention while minimizing any back pain you have now.
How Your Core Protects Your Back
Your core refers to the center of your body. It’s easy to think of it as your abs, but your core also involves several other muscle groups right around your hips, pelvis, torso and lower back. Even movements like walking, which seems to involve only your limbs, actually involves your core a lot.
Looking at a muscular skeleton of the human body, it’s easy to see how your core muscles support your spine. Core muscles also protect your back when you’re moving. For example, when you lift something, strong core muscles help you to do so effortlessly — or at least without straining.
If you have weaker core muscles, your back has to do more work. Strengthening your core protects your back by saving it from stressful situations, whether it’s just supporting your posture or helping you move and lift things.
How to Strengthen Your Core
Part of strengthening your core to protect your back means doing things a little bit differently. For example, if you have to lift heavy objects at work, make sure you lift them properly, using your hips and legs instead of your back. Carry heavy items close to your body. Following these and other guidelines strengthen your core. If you’re paying attention, you can even feel how movement taps into your core muscles.
Planking is a great core exercise, which you can do on your front or on your side. Another exercise is to lie on your back and lift your legs, keeping them straight, to a 45-degree angle. Hold them there as long as possible. Crunches and sit-ups are classic core-building exercises, but some experts are starting to recommend skipping them, as they could actually hurt your back.
Maintaining Your Core
One of the best ways to protect your back is to just stay in good shape overall. Stretching, for example, is a vital step to do regularly. Some experts include your gluteal and pelvic muscles as part of your core. Stretching these regularly helps keep your core working at its best.
Building your core makes you a healthier person in general. Good posture, better ease of motion and protecting your spine are all the result of a strong, healthy core. So to protect your back, build and maintain a strong core, which shifts the tension of everyday life off of your back and onto the muscles meant to do the job.