Balance training – the key to prevention and management of lower back pain?
In a recent internal professional development session, our personal training team had the opportunity to hear from Dr Sam Millard from Chiropractic at Magill. Sam shared his learnings with us in relation to clients who are managing some level of lower back pain – a large amount of the population from our experience.
Recent approaches taken by the fitness industry have been to work on strengthening ‘core’ muscles but today we learnt that training a client’s balance is an important addition to an exercise program designed to manage or reduce lower back pain. The theory goes like this;
- The main muscle group which controls/stabilises the spine is multifidus, the small muscles that run along our spine from vertebrae to vertebrae
- These muscles can’t be consciously activated or ‘trained’ in a traditional sense
- Multifidus activate as a reflex when we are trying to balance or stabilise which is why balance training becomes critical in lower back management
This theory is further supported by some studies which have shown that general exercise programs are just as effective as ‘core’ focused or Pilates programs in managing lower back pain. For example – http://fitness.org.au/articles/exercise-research-reviews/pilates-vs-general-exercise-which-is-best-for-lower-back-pain/8/643/19
Simple exercise like standing on a single leg and progressing this to closing your eyes at the same time are some simple ways that you can improve your balance and improve your spinal stability at the same time.