Strengthening The Core To Relieve Back Pain
If you suffer from mild back pain accompanied by occasional flare-ups, then you can find relief by strengthening your core. As this article will illustrate, this does not mean just doing crunches or other exercises geared solely to strengthen your abs.
Defining the Core
In common nomenclature, the word "core" when used in reference to the body incorporates only the abdominal muscles required to create washboard abs. The problem with focusing exclusively on these muscles is that you can put too much strain on your lower back, which can lead to back pain. For the best posture, and to avoid back pain, your best approach is to strengthen your stomach, sides, and back.
Muscles of the Core
To begin strengthening your core, you will need to understand what muscles make up your core. There are, of course, the abs. To either side of your abs, you have your abdominal obliques. These muscles are used for side to side movements. Along your back, you have your obliques and erectors, which are responsible for bending backward and and straightening again. In order to strengthen all of these muscles, you need to do movements that work each of these muscle groups.
A great movement for working your erectors and abs is the kick through. Place both hands on the ground and assume a push-up position. Push off with your feet and tuck your knees into your chest. Swing your legs through your arms and extend your legs so that you land on your heels in a reverse push-up position with your stomach facing the ceiling. Push off, tuck your knees to your chest, swing your legs back, and extend so that your toes are again touching the ground and your stomach is facing the floor. If you don't have enough flexibility to tuck your knees tight enough to complete this movement, you can rest your hands on soup cans to get a little more height. Continue the exercise until your form breaks down.
To strengthen your obliques, sit on the ground with your legs extended in front of you. Place both your hands on the ground to one side. Push off as you flex your obliques to create enough momentum to swing your legs 180 degrees. Place your hands on the ground on the other side of your body, and push off with your hands as you swing your legs 180 degrees back the other way. Continue with this movement until your form breaks down.
By adding these two exercises into your normal routine for strengthening your abs, you should be able to gently strengthen your whole core. As your strength increases, strain to your muscles from your normal routine should subside, and your posture should improve. This should help to relieve mild back pain. Before beginning, consult with your chiropractor (like those at Chiropractor Plus).