Why Strengthening Your Abdominals Will Not Solve Your Back Pain Problem
The problem lies in the fact that people are still stuck in the mindset of looking at the body as a series of separate components, muscles and parts that can be trained, replaced or improved on their own! A bit like changing a spark plug in your car.
Unfortunatetly the human body does not work like a car! It is a complex system of many systems, each one reliant on the other. You have a hormonal system, nervous system, limbic emotional system, musculoskeletal system, digestive system and cardio vascular system. Tell me which one you would like to sacrifice or do without? Understand that if one is out of place or balance it will disrupt all of the others. This is why you just cannot replace a spine into someone with back pain like putting a new spark plug in a car. We are so much more complicated than that, besides what the so called specialists tell you.
Now when it comes to the so called “Core Workouts” that people are given and told to do for their back pain, these are not doing much at all to protect them or address the REAL REASON as to their pain. The core is a combination of stabilizer muscles and large prime mover muscles working together to produce movement. It is not lying on your back doing sit ups or holding planks to feel the burn! Let me explain this more for you.
Think of what position people are in when they hurt their back. Is it sitting, lying, kneeling or standing? In 99% of cases it is standing. It is usually from bending over awkwardly extending too fast or rotating incorrectly.
Now what muscles are involved in these movements?
Just the abs? I hope no was your answer!
There are hundreds of muscles involved all firing in correct sequences and order to create the most efficient movement. To just focus on what is actually the smallest and most inefficient muscles in the process, is crazy.
So Why Do People Apply This Thinking?
Well the answer has a lot to do with how we approach health and injury and also where exercise has evolved from. Firstly we have been brought up to address injury by going to the area where the pain is. However hardly ever where the pain is, is where the actual problem lies. The laws of cause and effect are never so true here. Your back may be in pain, but it may have nothing to do with your back at all and everything to do with how you move! Secondly with regards to exercise prescription and this includes health professionals, most of the exercises and methods prescribed have evolved from body building. Very little emphasis on HOW YOU MOVE. Now I have nothing against body building if you are a body builder and that is what you want to do. Go for it, go and have fun.
But I have a big problem if you are someone who just needs to improve your health and you are currently suffering from an injury. Trying to correct a person’s problem via a muscle approach is highly ineffective and more likely to create more problems.
I like to refer to muscles and bones as idiots! They just do what they are told. They do not question if it is right or wrong, they just complete actions dictated to them by……… The Nervous system or the Brain! So why go to the idiot to change something? It makes more sense to go the guy who is controlling the whole lot, wouldn’t you agree?
How Do You Train The Nervous System?
Simple. By teaching movements in a standing position! Learning how to bend, squat, lunge, push, pull, twist and walk all require multiple skills and abilities that forces the brain to coordinate the most efficient form of movement.
Remember I said earlier that muscles and bones are idiots? Well they will continue to use the only movements they know until someone teaches them a new one.
Exercises that challenge the brain the most and are mastered will make the most significant changes in terms of flexibility, strength, stability and most importantly how you move! Only by learning these skills can you say that you are now “rid of back pain forever”.
Doing stacks of abdominal exercises but not changing the faulty patterns of movement will do nothing. And in some cases the extra abdominal work will create a much worse posture for you as the abdominals become more short and tight! So now the exercises you were using to rehabilitate are becoming your main problem!