Anyone who pays close attention to their physical fitness knows about the importance of the core muscles. If you look in the mirror, you can see the core muscle group on your abdomen, lower back, sides of your body, and your butt. When these muscles become weak due to lack of exercise or a previous injury, you become susceptible to upper and middle back pain. You also increase your risk of developing lower back pain-causing problems such as sciatica.
But how exactly do core strengthening works? What exercises should you include in your usual routine to protect yourself from injury?
Core Strengthening and Back Pain Relief
“Keep your core engaged” and “Tighten your core” are among the most common things you hear from fitness instructors. But why is that so? Why do they give so much emphasis on the core muscles? Studies explain that the core muscles perform several functions, including:
- Helping the spine and pelvic bone in managing heavy load
- Distributing physical stress or strain in the upper, middle, and lower back
- Allowing you to participate in sports or other physical activities and lessening risks for injuries
- Helping you maintain an upright posture and preventing cervical subluxation
What are The Main Components of the Core?
Many people think that core exercises only include those that focus on toning the abs or abdominal muscles. In truth, core strengthening exercises engage various muscle groups, including:
- Transverse abdominis – Most people refer to it as the Spanx or corset of the core because it stabilizes the pelvis and spinal column.
- Oblique muscles – The oblique muscles come in two layers, and they help you bend your body sidewards and support the spine when you twist your upper body.
- Rectus abdominis – This muscle runs from your abdomen, and it allows you to flex your torso when you do crunches or other similar exercises.
- Back muscles – The back muscle group consists of different fibers that allow maximum movement of your back and spinal column. They also support your shoulders, arms, and neck.
- Gluteus maximus – Your gluteus maximus muscle enables you to extend and rotate your hip joints. Additionally, it controls your lateral thigh movements.
What are The Best Exercises to Strengthen the Core?
Core-focused exercises go beyond toning your abs and creating that impressive beach bod. In fact, many doctors, fitness trainers, and health professionals recommend it to cope and prevent upper and middle back pain. Like many workout exercises, core strengthening movements are easy to do. They also do not require special gym equipment, allowing you to do these exercises anywhere and anytime.
If you’re not familiar with or haven’t tried a core strengthening workout, below are some exercises you can take inspiration from.
Working on our gluteal and hamstring muscles plays a pivotal role in preventing pain and maintaining optimum spinal health. What better way to keep these two muscle groups in good condition than doing bridge exercises every day? Here’s how you can do this exercise:
- Lie on your back and relax your muscles
- Bend your knees at a 45-degree angle
- Keep your abs tight while you raise your hips ups
- Hold your position for half a minute before returning to the relaxing position
- Repeat the movements for up to 10 sets
Anyone who’s a fan of the DC-comics knows how Superman looks when he’s up in the air. As it turns out, this very same iconic pose is a popular core strengthening exercise because it targets several muscles of the back, abs, glutes, and legs. It also complements sit-ups, bridges, the Hollowman, and other core exercises. If you want to take advantage of this exercise too, here are the fundamental movements you need to do:
- Lie on your belly with your legs and arms extended
- Make sure your head stays in a neutral position as you lift your abdominal muscles, legs, and arms off the ground
- Hold your Superman pose for three seconds
- Rest and repeat up to 12 times
As an isometric exercise, the Hollow Hold works perfectly in stabilizing your spine and boosting your abdominal muscle strength and flexibility. It also engages several muscles, including the obliques, transverse abdominals, and quadriceps. You can also customize it according to your fitness level. To perform a basic hollow hold, you will need to do the following:
- Tuck your knees to your chest and then extend the arms above your head with your chin tucked inwards
- Squeeze in your abdominal muscles and slowly press your lower back on the floor
- Extend your legs and position and hold the position for no more than three minutes
Say Goodbye to Your Upper and Middle Back Pain!
Indeed, exercises play an essential role in managing pain. Notably, patients diagnosed with sciatica sometimes turn to exercise to ease their aching back and improve blood circulation. It would help if you considered integrating the physical activities we listed above into your daily routine.
Moreover, we recommend having your neck bone alignment checked as well. Some case studies note that sometimes, back pain develops because of cervical subluxation. It’s a common concern among people with a history of neck or head injuries. Others who have poor posture and spine-related problems like disc herniation are also at risk of neck bone shifting.
If your back pain lingers and you have ruled out other possible causes, you can talk to an upper cervical doctor. This way, you can get your neck assessed for misalignment through digital imaging techniques like X-ray scans.
Once you have a complete diagnosis and your upper cervical chiropractor knows the specific points that require adjustment, you can start your healing process. It could take a few weeks to several months to restore your C1 and C2 bones to their normal position. However, many upper cervical care patients note that they experience massive relief after just the first few adjustments.
If you’re keen on seeking an all-new way to relieve your upper and middle back pain, we suggest booking your first appointment. Talk to a nearby upper cervical care practitioner and determine if your agonizing back pain stems from misaligned neck bones.