When you injure your back people will often tell you that you have to strengthen your abdominals. If this is not explained correctly one would take this statement that you need to strengthen your stomach muscles by performing sit-ups.
The statement is correct but doing sit-ups while you have back pain will actually increase your pain considerably. What we mean is that you need to increase your Transverse Abdominus strength. This is a very deep muscle that directly supports your lumbar spine. People with lower back pain often have a very weak TVA and therefore they have nothing stabilising their spine when playing sports or when lifting, for example.
This set of muscles is initially difficult to exercise, and you will need some instruction from your physiotherapist.
The benefit of exercising these muscles are:
- Increase the strength of your spinal stabiliser muscles, therefore reducing the occurrence of pain
- Improve the strength and tone of your abdomen
- May improve incontinence – or post pregnancy issues
- Prevention of back pain
A lot of these physio exercises require supervision to see if you are activating the correct muscle groups. I am trained in teaching these exercises and can write you a comprehensive exercise program to assist with your back pain recovery or even just to prevent you from suffering back pain in the future.