Your spine is supported by many groups of muscles. You have large muscles such as your abdominal, iliopsoas, and quadratus lumborum muscles that are primarily designed for performing movement. It is important for they to be strong for you to perform your normal activities without hurting your spine. If these muscles are not strong enough to perform the activity that you are doing, extra stress is put on your spine and can cause serious injury to your spinal ligaments or discs. An example of this is someone who tries to move a piece of furniture that is heavier than what they are used to lifting and hurts their back. At the same time, we have patients in our office who work as professional movers lifting furniture every day without back injury. The difference is the professional movers’ muscles are used to the work and can handle it. So, it is important to keep your abdominal muscles and back muscles strong in order to prevent back injury as you perform your everyday activities such as lifting your kids out of car seats, yardwork, household chores, or sporting activities. Exercise regimes that strengthen these muscles are easily found everywhere from your local gym to home workout programs to downloadable exercises that you can find on the internet.
The other group of muscles that you need to be concerned about are the small muscles that connect the individual vertebrae in your spine together. These tiny muscles are what stabilize your spine. When they get weak your body recruits the larger muscles to do their job. That is why your back muscles can get tight or stiff, the larger muscles are doing the job of the smaller ones. Therefore, in order to loosen up your back, it is important to strengthen your tiny stabilizing muscles. They are often weak when people have back pain. The best way to strengthen these muscles is through the use of the large exercise or physioballs. This gives you an unstable surface to exercise on and makes those stabilizing muscles work. Other things such as foam discs and rocker or wobble boards also gives you unstable surfaces that will cause you to work those stabilizing muscles. You can talk to your chiropractor or other healthcare professional to get some exercises to help with your particular condition.