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Posted on 03-09-2009

A patient and I were discussing the risk factors of back pain today. One  primary risk factor for back pain relates to exercise. Everyone has heard, "if you don't use it, you lose it". If you're not exercising regularly, your back muscles are deconditioned and much more susceptible to injury - the strains and sprains we're accustomed to calling "back pain".

Muscles get stronger when they're required to do work. Also exercise helps "train" the soft tissues around a joint - the ligaments and tendons - these supporting structures "learn" how to withstand mechanical stresses and loads without becoming injured. Basically, when you exercise - when you do any kind of exercise - your body gets "smarter" and you're less likely to get those annoying back problems.

A related risk factor is weak abdominal muscles. When you were a kid, at some point one of your gym teachers probably told you to "suck in your stomach". Actually, it turns out that was pretty good advice. Your abdominal muscles support the muscles of your lower back. If your abdominals are weak or if you're not using them - letting them hang out and droop instead of keeping them activated - your body weight has to be held up by the muscles of your lower back. They're not designed to do that - they're designed to move your spine around. And eventually, these lower back muscles will give way under the excess strain. The result is a very painful lower back injury.

There are many easy-to-do exercises for your abdominal muscles. The key is to actually do them - and do them after you're finished doing the rest of whatever exercises you've scheduled for that day. How often? Three times a week is plenty. Abdominal routines are quick - no more than 10 minutes. Click here for an example ab exercise.  And, remember to use your abdominal muscles throughout the day. Imagine your abdominals are being pulled in and lifted up. Learning about potential risk factors and taking appropriate action will help ensure a stronger, more flexible, and healthier lower back. Do you have back pain? You may need an adjustment, stop by or give us a call for a free consultation. Have a great day and I will write again soon!

Yours in Health and Wellness,

Dr. Anderson

Angela Murphy said:

I didn't realize that so much strain was being put on my back because I haven't been exercising my ab muscles. I think I'm going to start doing the animated exercises on your website. Thanks Dr. Anderson!

2009-03-09 12:41:51

Jake Albert said:

That's right, my back always feels so much better after I do my ab routine

2009-03-09 12:42:30

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