Preventive medicine is a burgeoning branch of medical science. Blackrock Clinic.






Blackrock Clinic

@brc_clinic

·


Pulsing at the heart @brc_clinic
lies the Cardiology Department with expert Consultants, teams and Hi-Tech facilities. Your #HeartHealth deserves our specialist attention. Read our latest CEO Blog on medicine focussed on disease prevention: http://ow.ly/nG8J50G8Z1x @Paddy_Barrett

Preventive medicine is a burgeoning branch of medical science. Blackrock Clinic.






Blackrock Clinic

@brc_clinic

·


Pulsing at the heart @brc_clinic
lies the Cardiology Department with expert Consultants, teams and Hi-Tech facilities. Your #HeartHealth deserves our specialist attention. Read our latest CEO Blog on medicine focussed on disease prevention: http://ow.ly/nG8J50G8Z1x @Paddy_Barrett

Why a Strong Core Can Help Reduce Low Back Pain.

cleveland back pain a physical therapist

Cleveland Clinic
@ClevelandClinic

Back pain is a complex problem, but can strengthening core muscles with targeted exercise provide some relief?

If you suffer from back pain, you’ve probably heard that strengthening your core can bring you some relief. But is this always true? And if so, how do you do it? Physical therapist Patti Mariano Kopasakis, PT, DPT, SCS, answers common questions about what we should know about strengthening your core muscle group.

Q: What is your core?

When most people think about the core of the body they think of the abdominal or six-pack area just below the ribs. While the abdominal muscles are an important part of the core, we consider other areas important, too.

Your core includes:

  • Front abdominal muscles — the rectus abdominis.
  • Muscles along the side of your body — the internal and external obliques.
  • A deep muscle that wraps around the front — the transverse abdominal.
  • Muscles in your back that are located between your spine bones and run along your spine — the erector spinae and multifidi.

Your core also includes your diaphragm, muscles of the pelvic floor, hip flexors, and gluteal muscles.

Q: What is the relationship between core strength and back pain?

Theoretically, if your muscles around the low back are weak, your body will rely more on passive structures for stability, including ligaments — the tissue that connects bone to bone — as well as the spinal bones or discs which lie between the spinal bones. This can cause pain.

But some studies have shown that specific core exercises are not any more beneficial than general exercise for low back pain. What we know is that exercise in general can help, and focusing on core muscles may provide some additional benefit.

Q: What are some exercises for the core that can help with back pain?

Here are my top five:

  •  Side plank — Sit on the floor with your right hand below your right shoulder and feet stacked. Lift your body, keeping your legs long, abdominals engaged and feet stacked. Hold. Repeat on the other side. You can modify this pose by dropping your bottom knee to the floor for extra support.
  • Plank — Kneel on all fours. Pull in your abdomen and step your feet behind you until your legs are straight. Keep your hands directly under your shoulders and your neck straight. Hold your abdomen and legs tight and avoid letting your lower back sag. Hold and breathe for 30 seconds. You can modify this pose by lowering your knees.
  • Bird dog — Kneel  on all fours. Reach one arm out in front of you, draw in your abdomen, and extend the opposite leg long behind you. Repeat on the other side.
  • Marches — Lie on your back with knees bent. Take a deep breath in and as you breathe out draw your belly muscles in as if tightening a belt. As you do this lift one leg a few inches from the floor. Return to starting position and switch sides. Repeat for 8-10 repetitions on each side. 3 sets.
  • Upward dog — Lie face down with head slightly lifted and hands palm-down under your shoulders. Point your toes. Exhale, then press through your hands and the tops of your feet and raise your body and legs up until your arms are straight and your body and legs are off the ground. Keep your neck relaxed and long and thigh muscles tight as you hold and breathe.

For the plank exercises, start by holding them for 15 seconds to 30 seconds. For bird dog and scissors, try three sets of eight or 10 repetitions. For upward dog, do one set of 10 repetitions.

Q: Can you injure your back by trying to strengthen your core?

Any exercise performed incorrectly, whether it is core-strengthening or otherwise, has the potential to cause discomfort.

Twisting exercises or even incorrectly completing the exercises cited above can cause pain in the low back. But it’s highly unlikely that one repetition of an exercise will seriously harm your body, unless it’s an exercise using a very heavy weight.

The best way to keep your body safe is to listen to body cues such as pain during and immediately after an exercise, and the next day after exercising.

Q: When should you talk to a doctor about your back pain?

If any of the following is going on you should consult with your doctor:

  • Your pain has been going on for longer than a month, despite resting from activities that make it worse.
  • Your pain is getting worse.
  • Your pain wakes you from sleep.
  • Your pain is in your low back but also is going down one or both of your legs.
  • You notice that one leg is becoming weaker than the other.

Q: Where should you turn if you want help in creating a plan to address back pain?

Physical therapists train as musculoskeletal experts — they are the experts on muscles, bones and human movement. These professionals are the most qualified, aside from an orthopedic doctor, to assess back problems.

Since there are many factors that impact low back pain and many types of low back pain, it is a good idea to visit at least one time with a physical therapist for an evaluation and subsequent plan of care. This will give you an individually tailored plan with exercises that progress safely. The idea of core strengthening, while beneficial, is just one piece of the low back pain puzzle.

Why a Strong Core Can Help Reduce Low Back Pain.

cleveland back pain a physical therapist

Cleveland Clinic
@ClevelandClinic

Back pain is a complex problem, but can strengthening core muscles with targeted exercise provide some relief?

If you suffer from back pain, you’ve probably heard that strengthening your core can bring you some relief. But is this always true? And if so, how do you do it? Physical therapist Patti Mariano Kopasakis, PT, DPT, SCS, answers common questions about what we should know about strengthening your core muscle group.

Q: What is your core?

When most people think about the core of the body they think of the abdominal or six-pack area just below the ribs. While the abdominal muscles are an important part of the core, we consider other areas important, too.

Your core includes:

  • Front abdominal muscles — the rectus abdominis.
  • Muscles along the side of your body — the internal and external obliques.
  • A deep muscle that wraps around the front — the transverse abdominal.
  • Muscles in your back that are located between your spine bones and run along your spine — the erector spinae and multifidi.

Your core also includes your diaphragm, muscles of the pelvic floor, hip flexors, and gluteal muscles.

Q: What is the relationship between core strength and back pain?

Theoretically, if your muscles around the low back are weak, your body will rely more on passive structures for stability, including ligaments — the tissue that connects bone to bone — as well as the spinal bones or discs which lie between the spinal bones. This can cause pain.

But some studies have shown that specific core exercises are not any more beneficial than general exercise for low back pain. What we know is that exercise in general can help, and focusing on core muscles may provide some additional benefit.

Q: What are some exercises for the core that can help with back pain?

Here are my top five:

  •  Side plank — Sit on the floor with your right hand below your right shoulder and feet stacked. Lift your body, keeping your legs long, abdominals engaged and feet stacked. Hold. Repeat on the other side. You can modify this pose by dropping your bottom knee to the floor for extra support.
  • Plank — Kneel on all fours. Pull in your abdomen and step your feet behind you until your legs are straight. Keep your hands directly under your shoulders and your neck straight. Hold your abdomen and legs tight and avoid letting your lower back sag. Hold and breathe for 30 seconds. You can modify this pose by lowering your knees.
  • Bird dog — Kneel  on all fours. Reach one arm out in front of you, draw in your abdomen, and extend the opposite leg long behind you. Repeat on the other side.
  • Marches — Lie on your back with knees bent. Take a deep breath in and as you breathe out draw your belly muscles in as if tightening a belt. As you do this lift one leg a few inches from the floor. Return to starting position and switch sides. Repeat for 8-10 repetitions on each side. 3 sets.
  • Upward dog — Lie face down with head slightly lifted and hands palm-down under your shoulders. Point your toes. Exhale, then press through your hands and the tops of your feet and raise your body and legs up until your arms are straight and your body and legs are off the ground. Keep your neck relaxed and long and thigh muscles tight as you hold and breathe.

For the plank exercises, start by holding them for 15 seconds to 30 seconds. For bird dog and scissors, try three sets of eight or 10 repetitions. For upward dog, do one set of 10 repetitions.

Q: Can you injure your back by trying to strengthen your core?

Any exercise performed incorrectly, whether it is core-strengthening or otherwise, has the potential to cause discomfort.

Twisting exercises or even incorrectly completing the exercises cited above can cause pain in the low back. But it’s highly unlikely that one repetition of an exercise will seriously harm your body, unless it’s an exercise using a very heavy weight.

The best way to keep your body safe is to listen to body cues such as pain during and immediately after an exercise, and the next day after exercising.

Q: When should you talk to a doctor about your back pain?

If any of the following is going on you should consult with your doctor:

  • Your pain has been going on for longer than a month, despite resting from activities that make it worse.
  • Your pain is getting worse.
  • Your pain wakes you from sleep.
  • Your pain is in your low back but also is going down one or both of your legs.
  • You notice that one leg is becoming weaker than the other.

Q: Where should you turn if you want help in creating a plan to address back pain?

Physical therapists train as musculoskeletal experts — they are the experts on muscles, bones and human movement. These professionals are the most qualified, aside from an orthopedic doctor, to assess back problems.

Since there are many factors that impact low back pain and many types of low back pain, it is a good idea to visit at least one time with a physical therapist for an evaluation and subsequent plan of care. This will give you an individually tailored plan with exercises that progress safely. The idea of core strengthening, while beneficial, is just one piece of the low back pain puzzle.

Why a Strong Core Can Help Reduce Low Back Pain.

cleveland back pain a physical therapist

Cleveland Clinic
@ClevelandClinic

Back pain is a complex problem, but can strengthening core muscles with targeted exercise provide some relief?

If you suffer from back pain, you’ve probably heard that strengthening your core can bring you some relief. But is this always true? And if so, how do you do it? Physical therapist Patti Mariano Kopasakis, PT, DPT, SCS, answers common questions about what we should know about strengthening your core muscle group.

Q: What is your core?

When most people think about the core of the body they think of the abdominal or six-pack area just below the ribs. While the abdominal muscles are an important part of the core, we consider other areas important, too.

Your core includes:

  • Front abdominal muscles — the rectus abdominis.
  • Muscles along the side of your body — the internal and external obliques.
  • A deep muscle that wraps around the front — the transverse abdominal.
  • Muscles in your back that are located between your spine bones and run along your spine — the erector spinae and multifidi.

Your core also includes your diaphragm, muscles of the pelvic floor, hip flexors, and gluteal muscles.

Q: What is the relationship between core strength and back pain?

Theoretically, if your muscles around the low back are weak, your body will rely more on passive structures for stability, including ligaments — the tissue that connects bone to bone — as well as the spinal bones or discs which lie between the spinal bones. This can cause pain.

But some studies have shown that specific core exercises are not any more beneficial than general exercise for low back pain. What we know is that exercise in general can help, and focusing on core muscles may provide some additional benefit.

Q: What are some exercises for the core that can help with back pain?

Here are my top five:

  •  Side plank — Sit on the floor with your right hand below your right shoulder and feet stacked. Lift your body, keeping your legs long, abdominals engaged and feet stacked. Hold. Repeat on the other side. You can modify this pose by dropping your bottom knee to the floor for extra support.
  • Plank — Kneel on all fours. Pull in your abdomen and step your feet behind you until your legs are straight. Keep your hands directly under your shoulders and your neck straight. Hold your abdomen and legs tight and avoid letting your lower back sag. Hold and breathe for 30 seconds. You can modify this pose by lowering your knees.
  • Bird dog — Kneel  on all fours. Reach one arm out in front of you, draw in your abdomen, and extend the opposite leg long behind you. Repeat on the other side.
  • Marches — Lie on your back with knees bent. Take a deep breath in and as you breathe out draw your belly muscles in as if tightening a belt. As you do this lift one leg a few inches from the floor. Return to starting position and switch sides. Repeat for 8-10 repetitions on each side. 3 sets.
  • Upward dog — Lie face down with head slightly lifted and hands palm-down under your shoulders. Point your toes. Exhale, then press through your hands and the tops of your feet and raise your body and legs up until your arms are straight and your body and legs are off the ground. Keep your neck relaxed and long and thigh muscles tight as you hold and breathe.

For the plank exercises, start by holding them for 15 seconds to 30 seconds. For bird dog and scissors, try three sets of eight or 10 repetitions. For upward dog, do one set of 10 repetitions.

Q: Can you injure your back by trying to strengthen your core?

Any exercise performed incorrectly, whether it is core-strengthening or otherwise, has the potential to cause discomfort.

Twisting exercises or even incorrectly completing the exercises cited above can cause pain in the low back. But it’s highly unlikely that one repetition of an exercise will seriously harm your body, unless it’s an exercise using a very heavy weight.

The best way to keep your body safe is to listen to body cues such as pain during and immediately after an exercise, and the next day after exercising.

Q: When should you talk to a doctor about your back pain?

If any of the following is going on you should consult with your doctor:

  • Your pain has been going on for longer than a month, despite resting from activities that make it worse.
  • Your pain is getting worse.
  • Your pain wakes you from sleep.
  • Your pain is in your low back but also is going down one or both of your legs.
  • You notice that one leg is becoming weaker than the other.

Q: Where should you turn if you want help in creating a plan to address back pain?

Physical therapists train as musculoskeletal experts — they are the experts on muscles, bones and human movement. These professionals are the most qualified, aside from an orthopedic doctor, to assess back problems.

Since there are many factors that impact low back pain and many types of low back pain, it is a good idea to visit at least one time with a physical therapist for an evaluation and subsequent plan of care. This will give you an individually tailored plan with exercises that progress safely. The idea of core strengthening, while beneficial, is just one piece of the low back pain puzzle.

Recipe: Spaghetti With Fresh Tomato Sauce and Roasted Vegetables

Why not try your hand at making homemade tomato sauce? The freshness of the tomatoes and the smokiness of the roasted vegetables make this a great topping for spaghetti. If you don’t have your own garden, use canned Roma tomatoes for a tasty dish that includes roasted mushrooms, broccoli and peppers.

Ingredients

Tomato sauce

Olive oil cooking spray
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small carrot, minced
1 shallot, minced
4 cups peeled, seeded, and diced ripe tomatoes or one 28-ounce can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup dry red wine
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Pasta

1/2 pound whole wheat spaghetti
3/4 pound broccoli florets and stalks, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
2 portobello mushrooms, halved and thinly sliced
1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Freshly grated pepper
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. To make the sauce, coat a large pot with cooking spray and saute the garlic, carrot and shallot over low heat until they begin to wilt, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, wine, vinegar and red pepper flakes (if using). Cover and simmer slowly for 30 minutes.
  3. Stir in the basil and simmer for 10 minutes more. (To make a smoother sauce, cool and process in batches in either a blender or food processor.) Set aside.
  4. Place the broccoli, mushrooms and bell pepper on the prepared pan. Toss with oil and vinegar. Roast about 10 minutes until crisp or done to your taste. Sprinkle with pepper.
  5. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain.
  6. In a large serving bowl, toss the pasta with 2 cups tomato sauce. Top with the roasted vegetables and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Nutrition information (per serving)

Makes 4 servings

Calories: 363
Total fat: 4 g
Protein: 15 g
Carbohydrate: 71 g
Dietary fiber: 4 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 100 mg
Potassium: 93 mg

Cleveland Clinic Healthy Heart Lifestyle Guide and Cookbook (© 2007 Broadway Books).