Back Pain and Abdominal Strength

The abdominal muscles are a part of the body's "core".  Core muscles work to support the spine and consists of several back muscles, the pelvic floor muscles and the abdominals which oppose the powerful back muscles.  If the abdominals are weak, muscles in the surrounding area may compensate, creating muscular imbalances.  Muscles may become tight or be more easily fatigued and take the spine of it's optimal position, leaving the back vulnerable to pain or injury.  Whether it be upper, mid or low back pain, strengthening and stretching can assist in alleviating pain when weak abdominal muscles are present. 

Many abdominal exercises are simple and require no equipment.  A great way to start is to learn how to engage the abdominal muscles: While lying on your back with legs bent and feet flat on the floor, push your lower back into the floor while breathing out and tightening your stomach.  This can be repeated 10 to 20 times and done slowly.  This exercise can be progressed in a variety of ways, such as sliding one heel across the floor and then pulling it back towards the body until the knee is bent again, all while the abdomen is still being held firm.  Plank and side-plank are low-impact exercises that also benefit back health and strengthen the abdomen.  It is important to maintain proper abdominal muscle engagement during all exercises and tasks to avoid putting extra pressure on the back and spine.  
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