Health Fitness

Exercise your back pain!

According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, 80 percent of Americans will experience back pain at some point in their lives.

Traditional treatment for low back pain is to increase core strength to increase flexibility of tight muscles, provide better spinal stabilization, and exercises to correct muscle imbalances. The muscles that surround the spine provide stability and support to the spine. All the muscles between the hips and the shoulders are included. These muscles are known as the core muscles. Back pain can be caused by muscle imbalances in any of these muscles. If the back of the thighs is weaker than the front of the thighs, there will be an uneven pull on the front of the spine. This muscle imbalance can be caused by long periods of standing or sitting, inadequate strength training or running, this lordotic curve or backward sway of the spine can be painful.

There are more effective ways to integrate core strength training exercises into every exercise you perform than doing traditional crunches. One way is to use effective breathing. The following “Pilates” style breathing technique can be added to any strength training exercise. As you perform a leg press, inhale during the pushup portion and exhale during the press. This deep breathing technique should be incorporated with the resistance or force of the exercise. You’ll use the diaphragm muscles that help provide spinal support and lengthen your spine, breathing from your diaphragm rather than shallow upper chest breathing.

Abdominoplasty and bridge lift can help reduce back pain and strengthen core muscles. A tummy tuck is simply a pelvic tilt that moves your abs off the floor. Just lie on your stomach and squeeze your glutes to lengthen your spine. Bring your tailbone toward your heels instead of pressing into your thighs. Perform 10-12 repetitions of each exercise, alternating them until completing 2-3 series. For the bridge, simply place your feet on a bench or the floor and lift your pelvis up; the ribcage should remain low to reduce irritation to the spinal muscles. This will relieve stress on your back and focus muscle contraction in your hamstrings and glutes.

The lumbar lateral stretch, hip flexor stretch, and calf stretches can help relieve tension in the spine.

For the hip flexor stretch, bring one foot forward on a bent knee, at a 90 degree angle (knee to hip and knee to ankle) while the other leg is on the floor behind with the foot pointed toward the ceiling. . This stretch helps open up the back muscles on the sides of the spine near the hips. Squeeze your buttocks to deepen the stretch with each exhaled breath. You should feel a stretch in the back leg, in the front of the thigh, and in the hamstrings of the front leg.

For the lumbar lateral stretch, open your legs with your knees bent while sitting or standing. Lower one hand to the foot inside the thighs and the other behind the head.

The last stretch opens the Achilles tendon; the most distant pull on the vertebral column of the body. Place an object under your foot and lean your body weight forward. Maintain a flowing breath as you hold all stretches for 10 to 30 seconds. You should feel a stretch behind your knee and shin.

By working out your core muscles, you’ll be able to continue exercising without sacrificing your back. Check with your doctor before beginning ANY exercise program!