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Are your core strengthening exercises making making back pain worse?

Many people perform sit-ups in an attempt to strengthen the core and, in turn, strengthen and support the lower back. After all, it sounds logical.  
 
But contrary to popular belief, sit-ups may exacerbate or worsen lower back pain by placing undue stress on the lower back as they pull you into a seated position from the waist. It’s asking the lower back to do something it wasn’t designed for. 

What to do instead?  
 

Partial crunches. Unlike standard sit-ups, partial crunches can help to strengthen the core and back.  

How to do it?  

 Lie with knees bent and feet flat on the floor or mat. Place your hands behind your neck or cross your arms over your chest (avoid using your arms to pull your neck or head off the floor). Tighten stomach muscles and raise your shoulders off the floor, breathing out as you ascend. Hold for a second before slowly lowering all the way. Repeat 8 to 12 times. To prevent placing undue stress on your low back, keep your feet, tailbone, and lower back in contact with the mat throughout. 
 
If you are experiencing persistent or worsening low back pain, consult a musculoskeletal healthcare professional before performing any exercise! #keepsoaring . 

Dr. John About Author

Dr. John

Dr John Ghali’s motivation for studying chiropractic epitomises the Soaring Health mission of enriching lives. “I wanted to be able to help people to thrive and to achieve better quality of life for every client,” he says. The comprehensive anatomical knowledge acquired through a Bachelor of Health Science and Masters of Applied Science (Chiropractic), and Dr Ghali’s vast clinical experience, are evident in his attention to detail, multimodal approach and ability to assess complex needs and integrate chiropractic with complementary treatments such as physiotherapy to optimise client outcomes.

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