Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"What are some good ways to improve my core muscles and lower back strength?"
I am a 24 year old female with a history of back pain and muscle tension/soreness. I struggle with having a consistent exercise regimen, and I feel limited by my sometimes debilitating back pain and tightness. Most of the pain is in my lower back or also in my neck and shoulders. I have heard that specific exercises targeting painful muscles and the core muscles can help strengthen the back, improve posture, and reduce pain. However, I'm not sure how to exercise without increasing my pain! Where can I start? Are there any other things I should try?
Good for you for turning to exercise as the starting point for pain reduction. Numerous studies have found that exercise improves overall well being, including a reduction in pain. Obviously, it is good for the rest of your body as well! One of the most important things with back pain is weight loss. While you don't mention your weight, maintaining a healthy weight is an important part of feeling good and being healthy in the future. That being said, before starting any exercise regime, it is always a safe bet to speak with a physician in person, especially one that knows you well and knows your past medical history. If you haven't had a physical exam recently or seen your obstetrician/gynecologist, this could be a good excuse. As for specific activities, many of the stretching and body weight using exercises such as yoga and pilates can be a good place to start for relieving pain and strengthening abdominal and back/core muscles. From there, and as per your doctor's advice, aerobic exercise such as running, jogging, etc, are important for heart and bone health. Some resistance training can also be valuable for establishing good bone health, especially in women. Please speak to your physician for more personalized advice.
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