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no more back pain and beer bellies

Posted by in Lower Back pain and your core |

No more Back pain and beer bellies

I was unsure exactly what I should use as the title for this. I could have easily called it ‘lose pounds and your back pain whilst doing the shopping’ or ‘get a free workout and be pain free whilst waiting in line at the bank’ or even, ‘no more lower back pain, a six pack stomach and bulging biceps whilst carrying your box of beer!’ but I thought that may have been overdoing it a touch.

I am used to carrying my baby around a lot these days, he is not quite walking properly and quite frankly, when you are in a busy supermarket with lots of people around and you want to get in and out as soon as possible its much easier to carry him. However, if not done correctly this will very quickly lead to back pain just like pregnant women can suffer from for the same reasons and it’s completely avoidable!

Many women suffer from back pain when they are pregnant, so do men with large beer guts and so do I when I carry my baby or other things in front of me if I am not careful. This type of lower back pain is very easy to fix once we remove the causes. I am sure many of you reading this do exactly the same because it requires less muscular effort, in short-it’s easier! Just like slouching in a chair may be easier for some but both will result in back pain. Slouching as you know is from putting the spine in an overly flexed (or rounded) position which takes your muscles completely out of the picture and leaves you resting on your ligaments and straining the discs. If you have read my other articles about lower back pain and sciatica you will also know that this as well as picking up things and bending forwards with a rounded lower back instead of bending at the hips (retaining your lower back inward curve at all times) will put you right on track to herniating your lower back disc or discs. However, if you retain your inward arch on forward bending when you have to pick something up( using the lunge, squat or golfers pick-up technique) and a certain amount of abdominal bracing to secure your spine(more of this in a later article) it is virtually impossible to hurt your discs or ligaments!

But, when you carry something in front of you like a baby you do the opposite-you lean backwards to take the strain off your arm muscles. This then puts strain on your lower back by compressing the facet joints and soft tissues. So you there are two very easy ways to remedy this. Firstly, stand up straight which will immediately take the strain off your lower back. In doing this, you will then have to use your abdominal muscles to keep you upright and standing tall which is exactly what you should be doing. Now you are finally using those core muscles for what they are intended to do functionally. And herein lies one of the big secrets to why people go to Pilates, yoga and do abdominal strengthening exercises but still have lower back pain. It’s no good to spend an hour each day strengthening your core muscles if you don’t then use them functionally during your day to day activities. When you carry things in front of you, use your stomach muscles instead of leaning back and resting on your joints to keep you from falling forward. Likewise, if you carry something on your side like a baby on your hip for example, don’t tilt your body to the opposite side to counteract the weight-use your core muscles to keep you upright. For all of those mothers(and fathers) out there who are carrying babies around and want to go to the gym but can’t, just remember that every time you use your core muscles like this you are burning extra calories and getting a free workout! And men, the next time you carry that box of beer, or tools, or groceries remember to stand upright, engage your abdominals and you will not only be saving your back but you will also be working on that six pack and toning those biceps!

Ah yes, I can hear the excuses now …

‘Honey, I am going down to the liquor store to buy a case of beer because I need to burn off some calories and work on my abs and my biceps’.

…no need to thank me guys, happy to help.

fat teenager