Fixing Common Orthopedic Problems: Strengthen Your Back and Abdomen
The back is supported on the outside by muscles, and on the inside by ligaments and tendons. They must be exercised to strengthen them, when suffering from back pain, you should visit your doctor and check with him which exercises you should or should not do.
If you try to strengthen your back or abdomen without becoming flexible first, you stand a chance of straining your back. If your back muscles are tight, and you try to do an abdominal exercise, which requires flexion or bending of the trunk, you will strain or sprain your back.
Now comes the work and do not let anybody fool you; if you have back pain, you mud eventually work on strengthening the surrounding muscles and ligaments that support your back and trunk, in order to keep your symptoms from recurring. Just a few minutes a day will make a big difference.
The abdominal muscles provide approximately fifty percent of the support of the back.
The area between the rib cage and the pelvis is called the trunk. This is composed of two major muscles groups; the abdominal muscles and the back muscles. Consistent training, good form and good technique can enhance the effectiveness of abdominal exercises.
Try to exercise your abdomen a few times a day. Is not that hard once you get used to it. Lie on the floor instead of sitting on the couch at night watching TV. Then, during every commercial, do a few knee-to-chest stretches and abdominal crunches. Little routines like that really make a difference. Consistent, moderate training is the key to great success without a lot of effort to time. Statistics tell us the average person watch two to three hours of TV a day. So there is no room for excuses, hit the floor at night and start strengthening your abdominal muscles while enjoying your shows, talking on the phone or reading to your kids.
Try to remember to tighten your abdomen throughout the day, as you stand, work or drive. A simple thing like keeping your abdominal muscles tight really helps your back take the load off.
In the case of women, specially after having a baby, the abdominal muscles are weak. It took nine months to get out of shape; it will take a few months to get back into it. If you just let them go, you will be prone to back pain. For men, the “beer belly” sets them up for developing back pain. The extra weight pulls the spine into a sway position and offers no support for the back. Until your abdominal muscles become strong, you should wear a belt or support.
Attitude is Everything
Let me share a personal story. I developed a herniated disk as a result of a malpractice during a powerlifting competition a long time ago. I remember my trainer pushing me to squat a tremendous amount of weight that exceeded my structure-support capacity. However, I was young and naive and went for it. I will never forget the sound of my back as I started to squat and bend. The spotter assisted me and brought me back. I remember muy trainer treating the situation like it was nothing but it wasn’t.
Long story short, I developed a pain that never disappeared but never new or questioned it until like four years later when I felt on the floor paralyzed after a morning session of yoga. After the orthopedic doctor checked me and analyzed my case he told me to stay strong and keep exercising but with a different approach. He was talking about strengthening my back muscles, my abdomen and my overall midsection. I learned and developed a subconscious reminder to always contract my abdomen no matter what I was doing.
Also, I became aware of my posture habits and accommodate exercise routines to diminish the impact to my back and maximize the areas surrounding the disk. As a result I have been able to always control the pain and never rely on surgery. In the end is all about the attitude so keep making it happen!
Orthopedic Corner | Leon Mead MD Orthopedic Doctor | 730 Goodlette Road North, Suite 201 Naples Florida 34102 | Phone: (239) 262-1119