According to the Centers for Disease Control, 70 percent of us will experience low back pain sometime in our lifetime. Core strengthening has been recommended as a treatment for low back pain and is becoming a major trend in gyms and in rehabilitation facilities.
Your core is considered to be the center of your body and core strengthening is a description of the muscle control required around the spine to maintain function and stability (Akuthota and Nadler, 2004). According to the Journal of Back and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation (2013), compared to general exercise, those who did core stability exercise were in less back pain compared to those who did general exercise.
There are at least three ways strengthening your core muscles can potentially help your back pain:
1. Your core supports your back and neck. Because many of our jobs and daily activities require standing and working against gravity, it is important that your back and neck are well supported throughout the day. A strong core will be the foundation for this support and will prevent extra pressure from being placed on your lower back.
2. Equal strength throughout your core will help you with alignment and postural problems. Even if you are active, you could still have muscle imbalance issues that can put your spine out of alignment just enough to cause lower back pain. A core strengthening program that addresses both sides of your body evenly can be extremely helpful to preventing alignment issues.
3. Your core is the basis for your strength. If your core is weak, you will have a more difficult time generating force from your body and may call your back into play more often than it is needed. Your arms and hips rotate around the core of your body, so if your core is strong, this area will be the foundation for your strength and you will be less likely to injure your lower back.
Check out these 10 Ways to Prevent Back Pain
A qualified trainer will be able to help you get started with a core strengthening program. If you have existing back problems or other health concerns, you should talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise program.
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Tracy Davenport, Ph.D., is a freelance health writer and the C.E.O. of Tracy’s Smoothie Place. She serves as the expert on a weekly radio show about health and wellness and is the author of Making Life Better for a Baby with Acid Reflux and multiple articles about the cost of caregiving. Learn more about Tracy and what healthy living services and products she can offer on her website. She can also be found on Twitter and Instagram @drinksmoothies.