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Back Pain? Work on Your Abs

iStock_000049395084_SmallIn a few weeks I will be turning the ripe old age of 43. I honestly don’t feel any different now than I did when I was 23, with the exception of waking up, walking, climbing a ladder, doing household chores, playing golf and basically just living.

I still think I can do the same things I did 20 years ago. And truth be told, I can. However, the next day is another story. I can play a round of golf, breaking 100, which I couldn’t do 20 years when I averaged 120 strokes per 18 holes, and my lower back is in knots.

I know I am not alone. An estimated 31 million adults suffer from chronic back pain. Lower back pain also is the number one cause of disability worldwide.

Odd as it sounds, the best way to prevent lower back injuries is to strengthen your abdominal muscles.  Here are three exercises to help strengthen core muscles and get you back on the golf course or whatever hobbies you enjoy.

Sit-ups

Yes, we remember them from gym class, and although our abs burned the next day, bent-knee sit-ups do work. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons said combining aerobic exercises with abdominal strengthening exercises – like sit-ups – is key in lessening the impact of back problems. Just like we did in grade school, lie on the floor with your knees bent. Put your hands behind your head and curl your body toward your knees as you exhale, letting your stomach muscles do the work. Inhale and slowly lower your body down, one vertebra at a time.

Hamstring Stretches

Exercises stretching your hamstrings also can reduce many types of hip and lower back pain. Perform an easy hamstring stretch by lying on your back and grasping your leg behind the knee, keeping your leg bent and bringing the leg toward your body. Slowly attempt to straighten your leg as much as possible without straining. Lower your leg to the floor and repeat the stretch on the other leg.

Knee Lifts

Another exercise that helps strengthen your core and may create flashbacks to gym class is knee lifts. To perform this exercise, lie on your back with your legs straight and your arms by your sides. Slowly pull your knees to your chest, then lower your legs.

If pain continues, please consult your primary care physician or contact the Microsurgical Spine Center at 800.890.1964. We are experts in treating lower back pain in Washington and the greater Seattle area.

Microsurgical Spine Center NeoSpine doctors, Richard Wohns, MD, JD, MBA, Neurosurgeon, David Paly, MD, Pain Medicine & Anesthesiology, Kathy Wang, DO, Pain Medicine and Anesthesiology and Trent L. Tredway, MD, Neurosurgeon, are dedicated to providing patients in Washington with unmatched levels of personalized care. They also are experts in the latest techniques for treating back pain, including laser spine surgery, neck surgery, and stem cell injections.

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