Having a weak core is common. Many people sit at desks all day and do not get the exercise they need for a strong back and core. As a result, they have poor balance and posture, weakness, and lower back pain.
Are you experiencing lower back pain? If so, a weak core and back are very possibly to blame. A contributor to Health Status wrote,
“If the muscles surrounding your spine are weak, the vertebrae and discs of your spine won’t be properly supported. The lower back is supposed to have a forward curve to it, but weak core muscles will make this position impossible, resulting in pain in the surrounding muscles and tendons. If you do not have a more serious back condition, any lower back pain is likely a result of core weakness.”
The good news is that you can strengthen your core with a few simple strengthening exercises and some determination.
3 Ways to Ease Lower Back Pain with Core Strengthening
Getting a stronger core doesn’t have to be grueling. It’s more important that you exercise consistently than the exercise be intense. Here are a few exercises that reduce back pain by strengthening your core (suggested by the Mayo Clinic):
1) Bridge — The bridge exercise is low-impact and provides a good stretch. It strengthens several core muscles all at once.
To perform the bridge, first lie on your back and keep your knees bent. Try to maintain a neutral positioning of your back — don’t arch it or press it onto the floor. Tighten your abdominal muscles and raise your hips off the floor until your hips are aligned with your knees and shoulders. Once your hips are in alignment with your knees and shoulders, hold for three deep breaths, then return to the floor and repeat.
2) Segmental rotation — The segmental rotation exercise also stretches your body and will help you get your core muscles in better shape with just a little effort.
To do the segmental rotation, lie on your back in the same starting position as you used for the bridge exercise. Don’t forget to tighten your abdominal muscles. “Keeping your shoulders on the floor, let your knees fall slowly to the left . Go only as far as is comfortable. You should feel a stretch, but not pain. Hold for three deep breaths,” wrote a Mayo Clinic contributor. After this, return to your starting position and repeat the exercise.
3) Modified plank — If the word “plank” make you want to run the other direction, you’re not alone. Planking is a tough exercise for most people. An effective alternative is the modified plank.
To get started with the modified plank, lie on your stomach. Use your knees and forearms to raise yourself up. Get your head in alignment with neck with your back. Make sure your shoulders are directly above your elbows. As always, tighten your abdominal muscles. Press your elbows and your knees toward one another while holding their positions on the floor. As with the other exercises, hold for 3 deep breaths, return to the starting position, and repeat.
Each of these strengthening exercises should be repeated about 5 times. Try to build up to 10-15 repetitions.
Please talk with your healthcare provider or physiotherapist before beginning a new exercise routine.
What To Do If You Have Chronic Back Pain
If you have chronic or severe back pain, skip exercising alone and get to a physiotherapy clinic. A physiotherapist can determine the root cause of your pain and design a strength training program designed especially with your needs in mind.
Live near Winnipeg? Our team at Elite Sports Injury Physiotherapy Clinics would love to hear from you, so feel free to contact us.