by Frank J Klene, PT, DPT, CSCS
Hello, JCC blog followers! My name is Frank Klene, and I am here to give you sound advice and opinions on physical therapy, injury prevention, and orthopedic conditions. This month I want to talk about low back pain, an epidemic in the United States today.
So what can be done to prevent low back pain or a recurrence of low back pain? Well, if you read the fitness magazines most might say..."You gotta work on your core" or "A strong core will decrease your back pain." Well this might be true, but you are probably thinking what is your core and how do you make it stronger!?!
The popular terms “ripped” and “washboard abs” are not exactly the type of core strength that will help protect your back. Core strength that protects your back consists of 2 muscles: the transverse abdominis, a stomach muscle, and the multifidus, a back muscle. When these muscles are working the correct way they act like a corset or back brace. They stabilize unwanted motion in your spine, thus decreasing pain and risk of injury.
The best way to engage these muscles is to pull your belly button toward your spine WITHOUT holding your breath. This is the same motion as attempting to put on a tight pair of pants...a cue most of us can relate to. Hold the contraction 6-10 seconds, then release and repeat. Try this simple exercise this week when you are at your desk.
Once you "find your core" you can turn any regular exercise into a core exercise by simply drawing in your stomach. So before and during any exercise, such as a bicep curl, draw in your abs without holding your breath. This will help stabilize and protect your back and could decrease your pain.
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