Did you know that lower back pain and tummy bulge go together? In this blog you will learn about the relationship between the lower back and abdominal muscles and see how the 3 simple exercises shown will get rid of most lower back pain while giving you a flat tummy.
What Causes Lower Back Pain?
If you want to get rid of lower back pain, you need to know what’s causing it. The number one cause of lower back pain in both active and sedentary individuals is the lifestyle that requires sitting too much (working behind the computer)!
When sitting for an extended length of time, the part of the brain (PMRF) that sends the command to sit up straight does not get to practice. With the lack of use comes the shrinkage of THAT part of the brain because just like any part of your body, if you don’t use it, you ‘lose’ it. The resulting posture is usually one of two things.
We either see a combination of the head shifting forward in front of the body (tech neck) and the lower back excessively arched (lordosis and anterior pelvic tilt), which will compress the lumbar spine and shorten the muscles in the back overtime.
Or we see the opposite: a compensation for slouching, which we refer to as military posture. This is the shoulders pushed back and chest out posture, which post people mistake for good posture. Both of these postural presentations compress the spine and alter the lower back muscles, contributing to the development of lower back pain.
In my blog about lower back pain and the best treatment for it, you will find more exercises you can do for lower back pain and posture correction.
How Do Flat Tummy Exercises Fix Lower Back Pain?
The failure in posture explained above translates into a shift in the center of gravity to accommodate the tired and weak lower back musculature. The reason for this shift is to allow different groups of muscles to pick up the ‘load’ of the tired muscles (compensation). This shift forward directly impacts the pelvic region.
Think of your pelvis like a bowl. If the bowl is tilted forward the contents will be “spilling” over the front. This is where the bulge in the lower tummy comes in!
To not have this spilling over, the bowl needs to be maintained in an upright position. In order for the bowl (your pelvis) to be leveled, the lower abdominals have to work in balance with the lower back muscles.
You see, lower back pain is not just tight lower back muscles; it’s also weak abs, tight hip flexors, and an unstable pelvis.This is why exercises that isolate your lower back will never get rid of your back pain. Make sure to check out the exercises below that fix lower back pain by having the lower back and lower ab muscles work together in movement.
3 Exercises For Lower Back Pain and A Flatter Tummy
There are many parts of what it takes to not have lower back pain. This includes:
- Lifestyle Modification: Ergonomics, micro-breaks, sitting on an exercise ball, etc. Be sure to check out my blog on Ergonomics so you can make corrections to your workspace.
- Manual Soft Tissue Therapy: Such as ART (active release technique) to address soft tissue imbalances that have developed.
- Postural Neurology: The brain controls every function in the body, but just like your muscles, if you don’t use it, you lose it. Some areas of the brain need to be activated when it comes to movement and posture. With a Postural Neurology exam, we can find out what portion of your brain in regards to movement and sensation are weaker. It is through positive reinforcement, also known as positive neuroplasticity, we can strengthen those weak areas and influence the map of movement so the blue print of movement (the map) is accurate.
- Functional Movement: The best exercises to correct/restore functional movement are DNS (dynamic neuromuscular stabilization) exercises, which are things we all did as babies. If all of us, as babies went through the same movement patterns regardless of our many differences, then we must all be wired to do our movements that way. The rehabilitation of an injured body part, therefore, must be the same exercises that gave us the strength to begin with.
The exercises below are examples of these developmental movements and a great way to get you started on the path towards being pain-free. These are the exercises that we do at our clinic with thousands of patients with lower back pain.
This is an exercise to strengthen the lower abdominals working with the lower back muscles to achieve stabilization of the lower back/pelvic areas in movement.
2. DNS Bear
This is something we all did at around 12 months old to build strength and connecting have the muscles of the torso and legs work together.
3. Hip Hinge (sit to stand)
At our clinic, we find this exercise to be challenging for many which goes to show you how something as simple as getting up and sitting down, which you do so many times a day has been negatively contributing to your lower back pain. Watch out for the proper use of your legs, and glutes to avoid injuring or re-injurying your lower back!
How To Stay Pain-Free
Lower back pain, bulging tummy, pain down the leg, continuous injuries of knees, hip and ankles, propensity to fall and lack of motivation are a few things that happen when the posture is not at its best. Just to clarify the reason I focus on the posture has nothing to do with esthetics and everything to do with the fact that your posture is a reflection of your health.
If you suffer from lower back pain and need help with it contact me, and let’s discuss your next best steps.