The results of a recent study by one of the Bill Gates foundations reported that over 95% of people surveyed around the world are living with a health problem. Depending on which of the 188 countries the participants lived in, their health complaints varied. For example, the most common health complaint in Ireland was Major Depressive Disorder. Saudi Arabians complained most about diabetes. Iron deficiency anemia plagued most people in Iran, hearing loss in Burma, and opioid dependence in Qatar. Can you guess what most citizens of the U.S. struggled with? You’d be correct if you guessed that it was back pain.
Americans don’t exercise as much as they should, which means we are doing more sitting around. Many people who work at a desk fail to get up and move once in a while. We spend more time at home in front of a TV or computer screen. All of this inactivity weakens the abdominal muscles, and contributes to back pain. Having a strong core gives support to the spine, helping enormously with the problem of back pain.
Many forms of exercise now focus on the core muscles, which not only help the back, but also help to decrease abdominal fat. Incorporating Pilates or yoga into your routine is an excellent way to build core strength. Or see a personal trainer to learn which fitness machines can help with this goal. You may not only decrease your back pain in the process, but also rediscover your six-pack that’s been hiding under that pesky muffin top.
--Dr. Kate Kennedy