The key to lower back injury and pain prevention is physical conditioning. This means you need to exercise get into shape by adding aerobic exercises and strength training that can target your core, hip and thigh muscles as these are responsible for stabilizing your spine. Strengthening these muscles are critical in developing a pain-free and healthy back.
The hip flexors, hamstrings and core muscles are among the most important groups of muscles to look after in stabilizing your back. These are necessary for long term mobility as well, especially on the lower half of your body. Keeping these muscles well-conditioned and in shape are vital in the prevention of knee, hip and back issues. Neglect them and your health will surely suffer the consequences..
The Importance of Hip Flexors For Your Lower Back
Compared to other major muscles in the body, the hip flexors are not as well understood by the general public. Part of the problem why these muscles are usually neglected is that unlike the core and hamstrings, these muscles are not visible to the eyes. Their importance of hip flexors are usually taken into action when pain in the back and hips start to become a problem.
The health of your lumbar spine (lower back, specifically the L1-L5 vertebrae and discs) is affected by the actions of the hamstrings and hip flexors. When one of the muscles are imbalanced, tight or weak, the lower back is immediately subject to muscle strains and even lead to spinal injuries.
Staying inactive for a long period of time partly causes your hip flexors and hamstrings to tighten. At this state, the muscles are shortened while the nerve activity and the blood circulation in the muscles are compromised. As a result, the muscles become weak and grow less responsive. When not addressed, tight and weak muscles will cause fatigue on the pelvis and lumbar spine.
Relation of Your Core Muscles To Your Back Stability
The most popular muscle people know today that can help stabilize the back is the core muscles. You can consider the core as the group of muscles connecting your lower and upper back. Certain movements like mopping the floor or hitting a tennis ball originate from these muscles. But necessary body motions will be difficult to perform if you do not have a stable back.
Just like the hip flexors, your core enhances stability and balance. It prevents falls and injuries especially when carrying out sports or other physical activities. No matter what kind motion you perform with your torso and thighs, it will always ripple upward and downward. This means that maintaining your hip flexors and hamstrings alone is not sufficient to attain a healthy and stable back.
An expert in spine function and injury prevention and rehabilitation at the University of Waterloo, Ontario named Stuart McGill stated that to attain back stability, you must exercise the core particularly the abdominal muscles called lateral obliques and the so-called “six pack”.
While it is important to build a strong core, it is also unwise to put all your efforts at developing your obliques and abs alone. Overtraining these while neglecting the muscles in your hips and back can put you at an even greater risk of lower back pain and injury.
Remember this rule – it is through a combined action of maintaining your core muscles, hamstring and hip flexors to stabilize your back and prevent back pain. Attain this and you will surely maintain a good posture, improve balance and stability, enjoy activities like sports, carry out housework like gardening with ease and experience a life free of back pain.
Through a regimen of exercises that will target the hip flexors, hamstrings and core, you can surely stabilize your back muscles and spine.
In the event that you are already suffering from back-related problems, an experienced physical therapist may assist you in back stabilization exercises. You will most likely be introduced to a multi-component program that involves education or training, strength, flexibility, and endurance in the muscles.