Low Back Pain and Balance Exercises For The Core
Modern research has demonstrated that chronic back pain is marked by periods of exacerbation and recovery. In many cases each succeeding episode is worse than the one before. If you suffer from chronic low back pain, you know it can be a debilitating problem and very frustrating to deal with. Flare ups of back pain can render you useless and praying for a quick recovery.
Many sufferers of chronic low back pain don’t realize that their problem is related directly to the health of their core. By core I mean the deeper muscles that support your spine directly. The core muscles include one abdominal muscle and several lumbar (low back) muscles.
The larger muscles of your body are the ones that give your body shape and move the skeleton. In contrast, the muscles of your core are smaller muscles of endurance. Their job is to maintain proper posture and spinal alignment as your body moves. They may have to maintain tone for long periods of time. To maintain good posture and to prevent back injury, your core must maintain proper tone at the right time when standing, walking, sitting, bending, squatting, etc.
Research has shown that low back pain problems continue to emerge time and time again if the core muscles are not up to par. This is true for the majority of bio-mechanical problems of the lower back. These types of problems typically arise from prior injuries to the soft tissues (muscle, tendon and ligament) of the spine.
Therefore, working on the endurance of your core muscles is one of the keys in recovering from back injury. Here is a sampling of the core exercises I recommend to my chronic low back pain patients:
SWISS BALL SIT
Activating the core, sit for 1 to 5 minutes. Progressive challenges include lifting one foot, twisting of torso, movement of arms up and down, and closing of the eyes.
Start on your hands and knees. Place your hands directly below your shoulders, and align your head and neck with your back. Activate your core muscles. The abdominal muscles should pull upwards towards your spine. This is called “abdominal hollowing”.
Raise your right arm and left leg off the floor at the same time. Hold for three deep breaths. Repeat with the opposite side.
If this is too difficult, you can try just the abdominal hollowing while maintaining the posture for three breaths. Repeat. Adding the arm raises, and alternating progresses the difficulty of this exercise further.
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