• Preston Brown, DPT, GCS

2 Simple, Easy Tips To Reduce The Stress To Your Lower Back When Exercising

Updated: Mar 28, 2019

Don't Let Stubborn Back Pain Limit Your Physical Activity and Active Lifestyle

Are you having back problems that are slowing down your exercise routine?

Here are two easy ways to prevent or limit back pain while you're exercising.

Tip #1: Work on tightening your stomach muscles, especially while you are lifting or performing a body movement, to decrease stress on the low back.

You can even think about strengthening your abdominals or stomach muscles while you are standing or sitting to lessen the pressure on your back. Think of tightening or squeezing your stomach muscles, without holding your breath - your natural tendency might be to hold your breath while tightening the stomach muscles, however, this can increase your blood pressure as well as make you lightheaded. So, working on coordinating your breathing while you hold your stomach muscles tight is the key.

A simple exercise for strengthening your stomach muscles can be done while you are lying on your back or sitting against a supportive surface, think about pulling your belly button in towards your spine (remember NOT to hold your breath :-), hold for 3-5 seconds repeat 8-12 times, every other day. Once you get the hang of this exercise, you can perform this tightening of your stomach while performing other tasks to take pressure off of your lower back.

Tip #2: Engage your pelvic floor. Have you ever heard of Kegel exercises? If you have not heard of Kegel exercises, an easy way to think of the action is to picture yourself driving on the highway, there's nowhere to go to the bathroom, and you have to hold your urine. This action is engaging your pelvic floor.

To get the most benefit, try to combine both tightening your abdominal muscles and your stomach while you engage your pelvic floor at the same time.

The main reason we want to improve our core muscle strength is to take pressure off of the other structures that make up the low back (bones, nerves, discs, and ligaments, etc.). Let’s talk about the ligaments since they can commonly be a contributor to lower back pain. Ligaments keep the bones in your low back in place and help support the spine. Ligaments are partially made up of elastin, which has a rubber band effect so when you bend forward it has a little bit of giving in it. However, over time if we put too much tension on the ligaments, it can stretch and not entirely recoil back.

Bad posture and improper bending forward at the back and not to use our legs can perpetuate the problem. In these compromised positions, ligament tissue is regularly stretching in this area, and our ligaments start to lose their elastic properties. For example, a new rubber band can stretch fully and return to the starting position compared to an old rubber band may not able to stretch as far without breaking due to the lack of flexibility or elastic.

Having a better understanding of how your body is moving and what types of positions to avoid or modify is highly important. If you live in the Greater Milwaukee area and would like to learn more about how physical therapy or a trained physical therapist can help you please reach out to us CLICK HERE.

Talk more soon!!

Preston, PT

P.S. If you’re experiencing stiffness in your back which restricts your ability to move without pain, click here to download my free back pain tips guide which includes actionable tips I give to my patients at Prestige Therapy and Wellness, LLC. Click here to get your free copy: https://prestigetherapywellness.lpages.co/back-pain-freebie/

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