Core Workouts Support a Healthy Back
- Posted on: Sep 15 2017
Spine health and back pain have been studied long enough for significant headway to have been made in all areas, including care and prevention. As experienced spinal surgeons, it is our mission to help patients regain structural stability after an injury or deterioration of a segment of the spine. At the same time, we find it imperative to discuss topics that support patients in the long-term management of a healthy spine.
You may have heard about the benefits of exercise for back pain – either to prevent it or minimize the discomfort of chronic back problems. The issue that arises for many people is that exercise is a very broad term. What can you do when you don’t feel like doing anything at all? What forms of exercise are going to target the right muscle group, and is that muscle group located in the direct area of pain or elsewhere? One of the most interesting discoveries about low back pain, in particular, is that our core muscles, located around the trunk of the body, including the abdomen, are crucial for mechanical function.
Developing an Appropriate Routine to Strengthen the Core Muscle Group
There are key elements to developing a workout routine that can make or break success. First, exercise should revolve around your particular preferences. Strength training is great, but that doesn’t mean yoga won’t achieve the same intended goal of toning up core muscles. Explore what you like to do, and develop a workout routine around those things if you can. Consider the value of three basic types of exercise:
- If your preferred form of exercise is yoga, stretching will be instructed in detail. If you’re working out on your own, stretching may be as simple as lying on your back and pulling one knee up to your chest while the other is outstretched. This position should be held for 5 seconds or longer before you completely relax. Repeat on the other side.
- Low-impact exercise. Aerobic training is beneficial for heart health and weight management, but too much “pounding” can hurt the back. Healthcare professionals recommend low-impact exercise such as swimming, bicycling, and walking for anyone with chronic back pain.
- This type of exercise is particularly advantageous for individuals with back pain because it doesn’t require lifting or straining or jumping. Isometrics has been proven effective at strengthening muscles without too much force. For stronger core muscles, plank pose, which resembles the beginning of a push-up, may be held for several seconds up to several minutes.
Working out can seem daunting when you’re in pain. Talk with your doctor, physical therapist, or trainer to move past the fear and into greater body mechanics.