Low back pain is a common ailment that can be very disruptive to simply performing the everyday activities of your life. According to the American Chiropractic Association:
- Low back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide, according to the Global Burden of Disease 2010.
- Back pain is one of the most common reasons for missed work. In fact, back pain is the second most common reason for visits to the doctor’s office, outnumbered only by upper-respiratory infections.
- One-half of all working Americans admit to having back pain symptoms each year.
- Experts estimate that as much as 80% of the population will experience a back problem at some time in their lives.
- Most cases of back pain are mechanical or non-organic—meaning they are not caused by serious conditions, such as inflammatory arthritis, infection, fracture or cancer.
- Americans spend at least $50 billion each year on back pain—and that’s just for the more easily identified costs.
However, the good news is that most back pain can be prevented through exercise. Exercises that develop and strengthen your lower back and abdominal muscles are the best weapons for the treatment and prevention of low back pain and below are two of my favorites.
Seated Ball Twist
The seated ball twist is a very good exercise for abdominal development and strength. Sit on the floor with a slight bend in your legs. Hold a therapeutic ball with your arms fully extended in front of you. Lean back slightly, pick your chest up high and pull in your naval. Now, turn your shoulders to one side, and touch the ball to the floor. Then turn to the other side, and do the same. A complete revolution counts as one repetition. Be sure you arms stay extended throughout this exercise. Breathing pattern is to exhale as you touch the ball to the floor and inhale as you bring the ball across your body. See if you can work you way up to 3 sets of 20 repetitions.
Planks are good for strengthening and developing your abdominal and lower back muscles. Position your elbows on the floor directly beneath your shoulders, and fully extend your body flat on the floor. Now, in one motion raise your entire body off the floor with your back completely flat. Tighten your stomach, and hold this position for at least 30 seconds. A good goal is work your way up to 3 sets of holding your plank for one minute or more.