How To Exercise For Lower Back Pain Relief
The what, why and how to train your core to minimize lower back pain. Plus the factors that contribute to a nagging lower back and how to strengthen your abs and midsection.
Studies have shown that the vast majority of adults will suffer from some variety of lower back pain at some point in their life. And this doesn’t include those who suffer chronic back injury from serious accidents! There are many different factors that can contribute to pain in the lower back, but there is just one factor that can help you fall into the estimated 20% of adults who never experience it: strong core muscles.
The abdominal and lower back muscles, ideally, work together so you can function in daily life without suffering injuries and pain. But, there is a catch here: in order to work together they must be very strong so they can support one another. If you have strong abdominal muscles and strong lower back muscles, you’ll be able to benefit from bending over, twisting and turning without suffering lower back pain.
When someone does suffer lower back pain, it is often because the abdominal muscles are not strong enough and place extra strain on the lower back. Over time, this leads to overuse which can contribute to pain of the lower back.
Safe Exercises for Lower Back Pain
The best way to avoid lower back pain is to build up the abdominal muscles so they are effective in supporting the back. If you are already suffering from back pain, this can be tricky because many exercises that strengthen the abdominal muscles will also work the back muscles.
You need to use exercises that can correct or even prevent lower back pain without causing further injury to those sore or injured lower back muscles. There are quite a few that fit the bill, but it is important to learn the basic abdominal contraction before jumping into them.
The Abdominal Contraction
You could potentially injure the lower back muscles doing any of the above mentioned exercises if you aren't doing the basic abdominal contraction correctly. This contraction is central to all abdominal movements and can be considered an exercise on its own for many beginners.
Before you start exercising your abdominal muscles, spend some time lying on your back getting familiar with how an abdominal contraction should feel. Follow these simple steps to perform the contraction correctly:
Lie with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor at a comfortable distance apart. Place your hands on your stomach so you can feel the contraction as it is performed. Lift your pelvic region up, pushing the lower back muscles into the floor while contracting your stomach muscles. Think of this contraction motion as squeezing your abdominal muscles around your belly button. Release and repeat.
It is important to keep your neck muscles relaxed throughout the motion and ensure you are only contracting with the abdominal muscles. The back should be pressing to the floor while the neck and shoulders relax.
If you really squeeze this contraction and focus on relaxing the rest of the body so the tension is focused on the abs, this contraction alone can help strengthen the abdomen muscles for greater back support. Once this feels comfortable and you know you are performing it correctly, you can start using other types of abdominal exercises to strengthen the core.
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