Back hurt? Try strengthening your core
Strengthening your core muscles might help you get that coveted six-pack of abs, but what a strong core does on the inside of your body is far more important.
“The core muscles are a group of muscles that wrap around the center of your body from the rib cage to the pelvis,” says Dr. Deepti Agarwal, a pain management physician at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago.
“These muscles are important to your body’s health, as they assist with everything from breathing and walking to supporting proper posture and alignment of your spine. Having a strong core gives you a foundation for preventing injury when you exercise or lift weights and in your day-to-day movements. It will even help you get that six-pack if that’s what you choose to do!”
While back pain can develop as a result of many different factors, Dr. Agarwal says a strong core could help prevent back pain by making you less prone to back injuries. To achieve this strong core, Dr. Agarwal recommends beginning exercises under the guidance of a trainer or physical therapist.
“My personal favorite is the plank, as it is one the most efficient and effective core exercises and can be done at home, while traveling or at the gym,” says Dr. Agarwal. “It doesn’t require bending the spine, so it’s also easier for people with disc issues. Working up to a three-minute plank pose daily can improve posture, strengthen the back and tone the midsection. Three minutes is not easy, but take baby steps. Even 30-60 seconds is great. The key is to start.”
While some back pain comes and goes, Dr. Agarwal recommends seeing your physician if the pain is accompanied by any of these factors:
- Severe injury or trauma
- Neurological issues like numbness, tingling or weakness
- Loss in bowel or bladder function
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