Does Strengthening The Core Prevent Lower Back Pain?

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prevent lower back pain

Does Strengthening The Core Prevent Lower Back Pain?

If you have had it before, you probably already know that learning how to prevent lower back pain is better than suffering through it and trying to treat it. 

If you have heard in the past that a weak core leads to back pain, and you suffer from back pain, this could sound discouraging. No one likes the thought of having to work on their core because it likely also induces the feeling of more pain. If you are already hurting, you don’t want to work on the area that is hurting and make it hurt more. 

You are looking for relief. So you will be glad to know that some recent studies are showing that exercise — in general — is just as effective for lower back pain as certain core strength exercises.

What Is Considered The Core?

Most medical professionals will include these when describing what comprises the core:

  • Muscles in front (abs)
  • Side (obliques)
  • The trunk muscle (transverse abdominis)
  • Back muscles along the spine
  • The diaphragm
  • Pelvic floor muscles

Some medical professionals also include the glutes as part of the core.

In theory, when these muscles are weak, your body cannot rely on them for strength and support. So instead, your body resorts to using bones and ligaments (the soft-tissue that connects the bones) to support itself. This is when pain can set in.

Prevent Lower Back Pain

Still, you may see benefit from working on your core muscles. You will want to work with a professional, such as your physical therapist, to identify the correct way of performing the prescribed stretches and exercises. Otherwise you may end up injuring yourself further.

[Related article: Three Stretches For Lower Back Pain]

He or she can also help you create a general exercise program to prevent lower back pain and promote good overall health.

A physical therapist is an expert when it comes to musculoskeletal issues, and is one of the most qualified healthcare experts to help address lower back pain.

[Related article: Lower Back Pain Treatment Options]

If you are suffering from lower back pain, a physical therapist at Contact Physical Therapy can help identify the exact cause of your lower back pain and help to determine a treatment program that addresses that specific issue and helps you get to feeling better.

Contact us today.

lower back pain treatment options

Lower Back Pain Treatment Options

Lower Back Pain Treatment Options

What is the first thing you do when your lower back starts to hurt? Do you reach for an over the counter medication to ease the pain? While that may provide brief relief, it does not solve the problem and your lower back pain can frequently reoccur.

A safer treatment option for lower back pain is physical therapy, but how often have you thought of that as a first line of defense to feeling better — and feeling better permanently?

In addition to medications, maybe surgery has been recommended to you. While in some cases, this is needed, you may also want to consider other options such as physical therapy. 

Physical therapy can help not only identify the cause of your lower back pain, but help you heal in a safe way without drugs and side effects. There are lots of ways that physical therapy is a great option for lower back pain treatment.

Lower Back Pain Treatment Options

Physical therapy is a great treatment option when it comes to lower back pain as it is non-invasive. It should be tried as a non-surgical treatment option before surgery is considered in most cases.

[Related article: Common Causes of Lower Back Pain]

Its goals are to decrease your pain, improve your function, and prevention of further back pain issues.

When it comes to physical therapy, there is passive or active physical therapy.

Passive physical therapy includes treatments that the physical therapist can do to help your back pain. These include manual therapy, heat, ice, and/or a TENS unit. Passive physical therapy aims to work on the muscles and soft tissues.

Active physical therapy includes things that you participate in yourself. The ways that you move your body impact your pain and healing and can prevent future problems. For example, one cause of lower back pain could be core instability. Strengthening the core provides additional support for the lower back and can prevent pain. Exercising and stretching will be a large part of the active physical therapy portion of your treatment.

When To See a Physical Therapist For Lower Back Pain

If your lower back pain has lasted anywhere from a couple weeks to over a month, visit your physical therapist. If it occurs frequently or if it is severe, visit your physical therapist.

Your back pain could be connected to other parts of the body, including other muscles. Your physical therapist can show you specifically what will help your lower back pain, based on the cause that he or she is able to help identify for you.

If you have had back surgery, physical therapy can also help. Our physical therapists can help tailor lower back pain treatment options that are right for you.

To take a step toward living a life with no more back pain, contact us today.

common causes of lower back pain

Common Causes of Lower Back Pain

If you are experiencing one of the common causes of lower back pain, you are not alone. Lower back pain will affect most of us in our lifetime. 

While some common causes of lower back pain will heal with treatment and time, others may not. The good news is that physical therapy can help treat or alleviate the pain from many common causes of lower back pain.

[Related Article: Three Stretches For Lower Back Pain]

Common Causes of Lower Back Pain

If you are experiencing lower back pain, it may be due to one of these common causes:

  • Sciatica
  • Arthritis
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Strained muscle
  • Ligament sprain
  • Herniated disc

[Related article: Sciatica Pain and What To Do About It]

Lower back pain can happen suddenly or gradually over time. Most of the time when you are experiencing a lower back issue it is due to the mechanics of your body and/or a soft tissue injury.

Those types of injuries can damage the discs, compress nerves and not allow the joints in the spine to move properly. All of these things cause you pain.

An example of this type of injury would be stretching muscles and ligaments too far, which can lead to sprains and strains. These types of injuries may be caused by lifting, twisting, falling, bad posture, and/or injuries. These you can heal from.

Others, are chronic causes of lower back pain, such as:

  • Herniated disc
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Facet joint dysfunction
  • Sacroiliac joint dysfunction
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Scoliosis
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Compression fracture

There could be other causes of lower back pain related to other things happening in the body, although these are less common.

For many of these conditions, physical therapy can help to alleviate many common causes of lower back pain. Our physical therapists can help tailor a program that is right for you and help to alleviate many common causes of lower back pain. To get started, contact us today.

degenerative disc disease

What Is Degenerative Disc Disease?

Degenerative disc disease (DDD) can happen in the neck or back. It is often considered a normal part of aging. Some people have degenerative disc disease and do not have any pain or symptoms at all. For other people, pain may be the first sign that you are suffering from this condition.

Degenerative Disc Disease: How Does It Happen?

Discs sit in between the vertebrae in your spine. In this position, they act as a cushion for the vertebrae, and also act to help hold together your spine and allow it to bend and move slightly.

They contain mostly water when we are born. Over time, the discs lose their hydration. Because there is no direct blood supply to the discs, they do not have the ability to heal. That — combined with the nerves that run closely through your spine — is why degenerative disc disease may become painful.

People more at risk for degenerative disc disease include those who are overweight, smoke, demonstrate a lack of exercise, or complete intense physical work regularly.

Signs & Symptoms Of Degenerative Disc Disease

Here are several common signs and symptoms that may indicate you have degenerative disc disease:

  • Numbness, tingling, weakness in the arms and legs
  • Pain that seems worse first thing in the morning
  • Pain that seems worse after staying in a position for a long time
  • Pain that seems worse after sitting, bending, or reaching
  • Pain in the lower back, buttocks, or legs

Degenerative disc disease does not just happen in the spine. It can also happen in the neck. If it does, you may be noticing pain in the neck, arm, and/or shoulder.

DDD can be diagnosed through imaging.

Can Physical Therapy Help Degenerative Disc Disease?

Yes! Physical therapy can help degenerative disc disease in the following ways:

  • PT can teach you how to strengthen your core to take some pressure off of your spine and help reduce pain.

[Related article: 3 Stretches For Lower Back Pain]

  • A physical therapist can show you safe ways to exercise to reduce weight if being overweight has been a contributing factor.
  • A physical therapist can perform manual therapy to help alleviate points of pain from joints and muscles.
  • Your physical therapist can teach you about body mechanics and how you can move differently to help alleviate your pain.

If left untreated, this condition may worsen or your pain may be recurring. Our physical therapists can help tailor a program that is right for you and help to lessen the effects of DDD on your body and help to alleviate pain. 

To get started, contact us today.