Acute Back Pain:
Habit to Keep Your Lower Back Strong and Healthy
Dr. Ben Kim
you have what some people call a balky back - one that seems to get tight and
sore on a regular basis without any apparent cause - you might benefit from adopting
the following simple habit that can significantly improve the strength of your
lower back and core:
you walk, focus on keeping your gluts (bum muscles) and abs strong.
doesn't mean that you need to exert a lot of energy flexing the muscles in your
bum and abdominal areas while you go about your daily activities. All that is
required is for you to consciously use your gluteal and abdominal muscles
as you stand, walk, jog, and run.
you do this properly, your gait should feel strong and purposeful, and you'll
likely be more aware of the muscles that surround your hip and lower back areas.
is this habit usually helpful to people who experience chronic, intermittent lower
joints in your pelvis and lower back are surrounded by two main types of tissues:
ligaments and muscles.
ligaments wrap tightly around your joints, and their primary purpose is to keep
your joints stable i.e. your ligaments, more than any other tissue, help prevent
muscles also surround your joints, but over top of the ligaments that are wrapped
right up against your joints. So the order from inside out is: joints (bones),
ligaments, then muscles. And if you want to take it right to the surface, after
muscles comes a layer of fascia, and then your skin.
your ligaments, your muscles also help to keep your joints stable, but the primary
purpose of your muscles is to move your joints.
time, factors - like lack of exercise, being overweight, unresolved scar tissue
that affects gait, and pregnancy - can cause the muscles and ligaments that surround
your lower back and pelvic regions to become weak. As your muscles become weak,
your ligaments are asked to work even harder to keep your joints stable, but because
your muscles and ligaments tend to get weak together, it's natural for your ligaments
begin to fail (become injured), which is typically how intermittent joint problems
begin to surface.
the joints in your lower back and pelvic regions are unstable due to weak muscles
and ligaments, the unstable joints move more than they should, which inevitably
results in injury to the joint surfaces. Injury leads to pain and inflammation,
which often leads to less physical activity and further weakening of your muscles
and ligaments. You can see how this can become a cycle of pain and further weakening
that can spiral until you wake up one morning wondering how you became old and
stiff so quickly.
ligaments can heal and strengthen over time, but in some cases, like frank dislocations,
the involved joints may never be as stable as they were before they were injured.
is why training your muscles to be active and strong while you go about your daily
activities can be an extremely effective way of strengthening your lower back
and core. Your muscles have much greater capacity to be strengthened and reconditioned
than your ligaments do, so by consciously using your abdominal and gluteal muscles
every time you stand, walk, jog, or run, you provide significant support to your
lower back and pelvic regions and the joints contained therein.
reason why focusing on your abs and gluts while you walk is good for your back
has to do with a concept called reciprocal inhibition.
the muscles that surround your lower trunk area. Your abdominal muscles cover
most of the front of your lower trunk area, while your lower back muscles cover
most of the back of your lower trunk area.
it comes to bending your trunk forward and backward, your abdominal and lower
back muscles perform opposite actions; your abdominal muscles flex (curl forward)
your trunk, while your lower back muscles extend (bend back) your trunk.
nervous system is designed to allow both your abs and lower back muscles to perform
these actions with the least amount of opposing strain. For example, when your
abdominal muscles curl your trunk forward, your nervous system automatically relaxes
your lower back muscles, which allows your abs to curl your trunk forward with
minimal resistance. And vice versa when your lower back muscles extend your trunk
nervous system mechanism of relaxing an opposing muscle is called reciprocal inhibition.
you keep your abs strong while you walk, the muscles of your lower back receive
a steady signal from your nervous system to relax to some degree. And when you
keep your gluts strong as you walk, your hip flexors (the muscles that line the
front of your hips) also receive a steady signal from your nervous system to relax
strong abs, strong gluts, and relaxed and lengthened lower back muscles and hip
flexors are the four main requirements for a strong and healthy lower back and
you apply the suggestion to keep your abs and gluts strong as you stand, walk,
jog, and run, take note of how your lower back and the front of your hips feel
- you'll probably feel your lower back muscles and hip flexors being lengthened
to some degree, especially your hip flexors.
it. Really simple tip, but it's been highly effective for me and a number of my
share this article with family or friends in your life who have chronic lower
back trouble. Thank you.
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