Back pain prevention

To avoid chronic pain and recurrences of lumbar (lower back) injuries, it is important to have good tone in the deep abdominal muscles. This allows for good stabilization of the spine.

Here is an example of an exercise to strengthen the transverse muscle of the abdomen, to start strengthening this area of ​​the body that is too often forgotten.

This exercise should never cause pain. When there is pain and inflammation, it could even relieve you thanks to its pumping effect.

  • Lying on your back with your knees bent, place one hand on your belly and the other hand in the hollow of your lumbar spine (between the pelvis and the ribs). Make sure to keep your back firmly on the ground while doing a posterior pelvic tilt (you are in fact crushing your hand under your back and you must maintain this same level of pressure throughout the exercise.)
  • As you inhale, you inflate your stomach.
  • Then while exhaling, without moving either your pelvis or your back, you bring your belly in as if you wanted to stick your navel against your spine. You hold this isometric contraction (without movement) for approximately 10 seconds then slowly relax.
  • You may want to pause for a few seconds between repetitions to avoid becoming dizzy.

Repeat this exercise 10 to 15 times then take a one-minute break. You can continue for 2 more sets.

When the basic exercise has become too easy, you can progress by adding the movement of an arm. Try to go Touch the ground behind your head with one hand, then hold this position 10 seconds before returning to the starting position. However, be careful not to cheat; it is essential that the pelvis and back do not move. You can then progress by bringing both hands behind your head.

To increase the level of difficulty, return to the basic position and then raise one foot a few centimeters during the contraction. For the more advanced, you can extend one leg and bring it back during the contraction, always making sure that your back remains flat on the ground.)

Another way to vary the exercise is to do it sitting, standing or on all fours. In the kneeling position, you have to keep your spine straight, so try not to dig or arch your back. Gravity will take extra effort from you and here too you can add arm or leg movement to work even harder.

Be consistent and your back will be stronger… and less painful!

Eliane Bousquet

Osteopathy practitioner
Sports Massage Therapist
Graduate in physical rehabilitation