Strengthening tummy muscles can be very helpful in helping to relieve low-back pain. Long days at the office can be more than just draining; all that sitting and computer work can make your low back sore and your tummy muscles weak. What is the best way to combat the tedium and body break-down of sitting all day? Exercise, of course!
Muscles in the belly support your low back in a big way. As part of your core muscles, or main support muscles for daily activities like walking or even just keeping upright, tummy muscles have a big job to do. If they are too weak, then the low back compensates, making it even more sore and compounding the problem. The upshot is that keeping the tummy strong will take some of the load off your low back. Most tummy exercises will also stretch and move the spine, which helps tight muscles in the low back to ease and heal.
Gentle Tummy Toners
As with any exercise routine, there's a difference between getting good results and pushing too far. Monitoring your body is important to avoid pushing it into further injury. If you're just starting your tummy exercises with a sore low back, pelvic tilts are a good option. To do them, lie on your back, knees bent and feet on the ground. This is a neutral position for the spine. Contract your stomach muscles, drawing your belly button in toward your spine and tilting your pelvis. Hold the contraction for at least five seconds and do five to 10 repetitions.
Harder Tummy Toners
Ramping up your tummy toning routine is as simple as adding the classic abdominal crunch. To do this, lie on your back with your feet on the ground and legs bent. Roll your upper body up toward your knees with the goal of lifting your shoulder blades off the ground, keeping your head and neck in line, then roll back down. Leg scissors work the lower belly. These are done by lying on the back, lifting both legs in the air, opening them wide and then crossing them back and forth. Bending the knees will reduce low-back strain.
If you have an existing low-back injury, or intense low-back pain, be sure to seek a health professional’s advice about when and how to exercise your core muscles. For mild pain, MayoClinic.com recommends home treatment for a few days, which includes gentle stretching and exercise. If your low-back pain becomes too much to handle, contacting a health professional before you start tummy toning may be necessary. She may have some great insights for how you can start your journey to being pain free and strong.
Meghan Palmer has written about health and lifestyle for publication for seven years. As a doctor of chiropractic with a degree in English, Palmer combines professional knowledge with real life experience for her health, lifestyle and parenting know-how. Palmer's recent work has been published in "The Rogersville Review" and "The Anniston Star."