Struggling with chronic back pain can be frustrating. Not knowing how to solve it or what to do to find a little comfort is confusing and just plain annoying. Your back is a large part of your body so it can be difficult to decipher whether your back is the origin of pain or if another place in your body may be causing it. If you haven’t already, make sure to read how diet can cause back pain here! But what if you eat a fairly good diet and still experience chronic back pain?
There could be a few other reasons for this. If you have weak abs, glutes or hips, this may be the source of your chronic back pain.
Let’s talk about the first muscle group: core. In order to understand this, you need to know what your core is. The midsection of your body is considered your core including the front, sides and back. Other muscles of the core include the obliques, lower lats and transverse abdominis (commonly referred to as TVA).
How is this related to back pain? Well, if you have a weak core, then your back will take over the load to accommodate the weakness in your abs. Your core is the anchor of the front of your spine, so this instability will create excess tension in the back, causing pain over time. When a muscle in your body is weak, other muscles will “lend a hand” to help keep your body stable. Your body is interconnected so it always wants to stay aligned. Imagine if you were to do a squat but instead of engaging your abs and keeping your back straight, you roll your back forward creating an arch. Not only will your abs not be tight through the squat movement, your back will be in an overreaching position. You’ll probably feel the pain fairly quickly. I know we’ve all gone to pick up an object off the floor without bending our knees, engaging our abs and failing to keep our backs straight… now think about how your back would feel over time if that’s the only way you picked up objects or went into a squatting position.
If you feel a weak core could be the reason for your back pain, thankfully there’s a way to relieve it. But how? By strengthening your core, duh.
Here are a few exercises that will help strengthen your core:
Planks: How To Do A PROPER Plank
Stomach Vacuums: Shrink Your Waist With Stomach Vacuums
Give these exercises a try and watch your core strengthen!
But wait! What if you have proper core engagement and STILL experience back pain?
The next muscle groups to look at are: glutes((insert link to my glutes blog) and the psoas muscle (insert link to my psoas blog). Read these blogs to find out why.