Healthy back, strong core make for happier life

Jay McCoog


Healthy back, strong core make for happier life

Back pain is one of the most common reasons people see a doctor, miss work, miss participating in favorite activities, delay starting or continuing an exercise program, and is a leading cause of disability worldwide, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Thankfully there is good news! You can take preventative and restorative measures to keep your back healthy and strong.

Your doctor, physical therapist, or personal trainer can help you achieve a healthier back by incorporating the following measures into your life:

• Reducing body weight to put less strain on the back muscles.

• Adding exercise to your lifestyle to increase overall strength and endurance, and to achieve your weight loss goals. A sedentary lifestyle and lack of exercise is making so many of us unhealthy and at risk for back pain. When your middle and lower back muscles are weak, you are more likely to experience low back pain.

• Building strength in core muscles so that they provide natural back support. Back pain is a common side effect of a weak core. Sitting at a desk or on the couch all day does not engage the core and leads to muscle imbalances and weakness.

Building core strength will help bring balance to the front and back of your body. Core strength is vital for nearly every movement of our daily lives as most movement starts at the center and moves outward.

A solid core will help ensure that your movements are strong and pain-free. This makes all daily living activities safer and more stable, from something as simple as picking up something on the floor to moving furniture or running a race.

• Increasing lower back flexibility also helps to prevent back pain and injury. A few simple stretches done daily will help increase the flexibility of your lower back. Increasing flexibility in your lower back will make your body less susceptible to back pain.

Most back pain should gradually improve within a few weeks. If yours doesn't improve in that time, see your doctor. If surgery is necessary, then, when medically cleared for back rehabilitation exercises, increasing core strength is vital to reducing future back pain.

Follow the guidelines prescribed from your medical doctor, surgeon or physical therapist. When you have been medically cleared, the measures described here can be of great benefit to your back post-injury.

Jay McCoog is owner-operator of the eFitClub in Bluffton. jay@efitclubsc.com, efitclubsc.com