Back Pain & Abdominal Strength

When you injure your back people will often tell you that you have to strengthen your abdominal or “core” muscles. If this is not explained correctly you might think that you need to strengthen your stomach muscles by performing sit-ups. Sit-ups will strengthen your abdominals but it is likely they will increase your pain significantly. What we really mean is that you need to increase your Transverse Abdominus muscle strength. This is a deep abdominal muscle that directly supports your lumbar spine. People with lower back pain can have very weak transverse abdominus muscles, which means there is a lack of support and stability of the spine when completing everyday activities such as lifting, as well as playing sport. The transverse abdominus muscles are initially difficult to exercise, you will need some instruction from your physiotherapist.
The benefit of exercising these muscles are:

  • Increase the strength of your spinal stabilizer muscles, therefore reducing the occurrence of pain
  • Improve the strength and tone of your abdomen
  • May improve incontinence – or post pregnancy issues
  • Prevention of back pain

A lot of these physio exercises require supervision to see if you are activating the correct muscle groups. Back To Health physiotherapists are trained in teaching these exercises and can write you a comprehensive exercise program to assist with your back pain recovery or even just to prevent you from suffering back pain in the future. Our clinical Pilates classes are also ideal to strengthen your abdominal (or core) muscles.

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