Prevention of Back Pain





Prevention of Back Pain: Core Stabilization



 If your back aches, you are not alone. Four out of five adults experience at least one bout of back pain at some time during their lifetime.  Low back pain is the fifth-leading cause of trips to the doctor in the United States.  In addition, back pain is the leading cause of work-related disability and the leading cause of disability under the age of 45.  Every year, $16 billion is spent in the management of low back pain.  Although back pain is common, it is possible for you to prevent most back problems with simple steps such as exercise and practicing good posture when sitting and standing.


There are many different reasons for low back pain or injury.  Improper lifting or lifting loads over our individual limit, poor posture with sitting and/or standing activities, and obesity or being unfit that can lead to weakness in the abdominal muscles and increased pressure on the low back area.  Active forms of exercise as those taught in physical therapy are typically necessary to rehabilitate the spine and help alleviate back pain.  The abdominal and low back area of the body is called your core.  Core stabilization is a series of exercises that strengthens this area of the body to help stabilize you during different levels of strenuous daily activities.  Stretching and conditioning the low back muscles while strengthening the abdominal muscles leads to a more stable core that protects the low back against injury.   Being able to activate your abdominal muscles and lock into a protected posture during heavy lifting with help prevent low back injury.  


Almost everyone can benefit from stretching the soft tissues in the back and around the spine.  The spinal column, its muscles, ligaments, and tendons are all designed to move, and any limitations in this motion of the spine can increase back pain.  Patients that suffer from chronic low back pain may find it takes weeks to several months of stretching to mobilize the spine and soft tissues, but will find that increased motion in the spine, will lead to decreased pain in the low back.  As there is a direct correlation with decreasing back pain and stretching, strengthening the abdominal muscles in our core will lead to increased stabilization and decreased pain in the low back area as well.  The abdominal muscles act as a natural corset to the spine, helping to increase the stability, decreasing our chance of injury.  It is important to learn how to activate the abdominal and low back muscles to help prevent low back injury during lifting activities.  When lifting, you should be able to tighten the abdominal muscles, allowing for a more stable spine, while locking into a good low back posture that will protect the low back during these activities.  We all need to become more active in core stabilization exercises to help prevent low back injury.  If your back keeps you from doing your favorite activities, please contact the professionals at Kenner Orthopedic & Sports Therapy.  Our back evaluation and exercise programs are designed for the active person.