Did you know that lower back pain is the number 1 cause of global disability in the world. More than 40% of people in the world will suffer one time or more from lower back pain.
Did you know that one of the important causes for lower back pain is the weakening of your muscles. Every year you loose about 1% to 2% of your muscle strength. In order to reduce the risk of lower back pain it is important that you train your muscles. Especially the muscles of the lower back, the pelvic floor and your thigh muscles.
This website explains you more about how to do these “Core exercises”.
If doing these exercises is too difficult for you, please note that there is now a method to automatically train your muscles, the QRS-PelviCenter. Please read more below.
Lower Back Pain is the number 1 chronic disability in the world
Are you suffering from lower back pain?
You are not alone !
Lower Back Pain is according to the World Health Organisation the number 1 cause of global disability.
More than 40% of people will suffer during their life from lower back pain.
For most people the back pain is only temporary, however a large number of people suffer from “chronic back pain” whereby the pain continues to exist.
Weak muscles of the lower back is an important cause for Lower Back Pain
There are many different causes for lower back pain.
This website does not intend to provide a full overview of causes.
The majority of Lower Back Pain does not have a clear cause, but is believed to be the result of non-serious muscle or skeletal issues such as sprains or strains.
Other important causes include obesity, smoking, weight gain during pregnancy, stress, poor physical condition, poor posture and poor sleeping position can also be the cause of lower back pain.
The strong link between Lower Back Pain and Pelvic Floor Disorders
Pelvic Floor Disfunction refers to a wide range of issues that occur when the muscles of the pelvic floor are either too weak or too tight. An important function of the pelvic floor muscles is to support the weight of upper body (“trunk”) and to ensure that the spinal cord and all internal organs (such as the bladder and ovary) remain in the correct posture.
International research shows that there is a strong association between pelvic floor disorders and lower back pain. One study showed that 78% of women with Lower Back Pain also reported Urinary Incontinence (1).
Another study from 2010 showed that individuals with low back pain have a significant decrease in pelvic floor function as compared to individuals without low back pain (2).
A large study from 2006 followed 38.050 women over a 5 year period and concluded that people who suffer from Pelvic Floor Dysfunction have a higher risk of lower back pain than people who are overweight (high BMI) or than people who do only limited physical exercises (walking) (3).
Another study from 2013 in Australia showed that 57% of women with lower back pain also suffered from Pelvic Girdle Pain and from Pelvic Floor Dysfunction (4).
The conclusion of these studies is that in order to avoid lower back pain it is important to train all your muscles, not only the muscles of the lower back but also the muscles of the thigh (upper leg) and the other muscles of the “Core”.
(1) Urinary incontinence in women with low back pain. Eliasson K1, Elfving B, Nordgren B, Mattsson E. Man Ther. 2008 Jun;13(3):206-12. Epub 2007 Mar 23.
(2) Arab A, Behbahani R, Lorestani L, Azari A. Assessment of pelvic floor muscle function in women with and without low back pain using transabdominal ultrasound. Manual Therapy. June 2010;15(3):235-239
(3) Smith M., Russell A., Hodges P. Disorders of breathing and continence have a stronger association with back pain than obesity and physical activity. Australian Journal of Physiotherapy. March 2006; 52(1)11-16
(4) Van Wingerden et al (2013)
Training of the muscles of the lower back helps in reducing lower back pain
There are a wide variety of different treatments for lower back pain.
This website does not intend to provide a full list of all the treatments.
Importantly, in case you are suffering from lower back pain, we advise you to visit your doctor for a good consultation of cause and proposed treatment.
Important to know is that some of the treatments only result in the reduction of the symptom (pain) but not treat the original cause.
One of the preventative treatments against lower back pain is to ensure that your muscles are properly trained and with sufficient strength.
The muscles that support the spine (extensors, flexors, obliques) are used in everyday life, but most of them do not get adequate exercise from daily activities and tend to weaken with age unless they are specifically exercised.
Also it is important to train the muscles of the pelvic floor and of the thighs, in particular the hamstring muscles (back of each thigh) and the quadriceps femoris.
Limited stretch tolerance of these muscles limits the motion in the pelvis which can strain the lower back.
Regular hamstring stretching can gradually lengthen these muscles and reduce the stress felt in the lower back.
Risk of weakening of muscles:
In order to avoid lower back pain it is very important that your muscles remain strong.
When we get older, we loose on average between 1% and 2% of our muscle mass every year.
This is the most important reason why the risk of lower back pain gets higher when we get older.
Further decrease of muscle strength happens during an episode of low back pain which lasts for more than 2 weeks.
This is because during a period of back pain, the natural tendency of most patients is to avoid using these muscles. However, lack of activity leads to “disuse atrophy” (decrease in the size of the muscles because they are not being used) and subsequent weakening, which in turn causes more low back pain because the muscles are less able to help hold up the spine.
As a general rule, people who are active and well-conditioned have a lower risk to get low back pain due to muscle strain. This is because regular exercise stretches the muscles so they are less likely to strain, tear or spasm.
How to train the muscles of the lower back and of the pelvic floor?
As a general advise we recommend that if you suffer from lower back pain that you contact your doctor or that you visit one of our QRS centers.
On this website we have included some basic information about the exercises for training the muscles of the lower back, the pelvic floor muscles and the other Core muscles.
Please contact us if you have any questions.