By Ashley Theobald, DPT
Back pain, also termed lumbago, affects approximately 139 per 100,000 people each year in the United States, and results in lost work time (second leading cause) and hospitalization. A recent study by Katz found that back pain results in $100-$200 billion dollars in direct and indirect healthcare costs. Risk factors for back pain include: heavy lifting (items greater than 25 kg with greater than 25 lifts/day), cigarette smoking, extreme height, and morbid obesity.
With such a high incidence in the general population, what can be done to prevent back pain and its associated costs? Fortunately, evidences has supported the use of motor control exercises for the deep stabilizing muscles of the spine, a.k.a. learning to control the trunk muscles during daily functional activities. These muscles include the lumbar multifidus, transversus abdominus, and obliquus internus abdominus. A systematic review has shown that exercises prove to be a better option in reducing back pain for both short, intermediate, and long-term follow up compared to minimal intervention.
To help you to improve your spine health, be sure to include this 10-minute lumbar stabilization workout into your schedule 3-7 days per week!
10-Minute Lumbar Stabilization Workout
Drawing in maneuver (Transversus Abdominus)
Draw the belly button upward and in as if pulling it toward your spine (basically just suck it all in!). Hold 10 seconds each time.
Progression: Perform this movement in a seated position.
Advanced: perform this movement while performing functional activities.
Perform with slight tension on the resistance band.
Begin with feet hip width apart and hands near you at chest level.
Perform drawing in maneuver and reach forward with both hands until arms are straight.
Return to start position while maintaining drawing in maneuver
Lie on your side on either a roller or rolled up towels.
Make sure that your arms are down.
Bring the body up into a crunch leaning on the bottom arm for support.
If back pain is a recurrent issue for you, please contact your physician before beginning this program.
More about back pain can be found in this excellent e-book.