Tightening your abdominal muscles to strengthen your core does not relieve chronic back pain. It is possible that this approach will even make things worse!
When you take the approach of strengthening or tightening the abdominal muscles in order to counterbalance tight back muscles, you are working against your body. It results in a co-contraction of both the front and back body muscles. This then creates a braced-liked situation that creates more layers of problems than solutions.
Why strengthening abdominal muscles won’t relieve your tight back
When you strengthen your abdominals in an effort to make them “JUST AS TIGHT” as the muscles in your back, the result is a rigid co-contraction of the front and back body. This creates a braced or locked-down scenario. This solution does not address the root cause of your tight back muscles. Your back muscles remain tight, and you have now added tight abdominal muscles, which inhibit proper functional movement from the center of the body. This can show itself in various ways:
- Foot or knee pain
- Difficulty lifting your arms raised alongside your ears with your elbows straight
- Restricted breath
- Weak gluteal muscles
- Poor bowel function
- Tight hip flexors
- Weak core muscles
This creates a stunning combination of symptoms that lead to chronic pain and instability. Abdominal strengthening becomes a band-aid solution and catalyst for more complications rather than a long-term solution.
How to relieve and re-educate your tight back muscles
“If you want to untie a knot, you must look at the cord carefully then gently undo the tangle. Yanking on the cord will only make the knot tighter.” — Thomas Hanna.
The founder of Hanna Somatics, Thomas Hanna, recognized that pain resides in the brain. Your muscles are controlled by your brain. Therefore, utilizing the brain to aid muscles in releasing makes sense. Hanna developed the technique he called PANDICULATION.
The technique of Pandiculation addresses the mind’s role in chronic knots in the body. This methodology teaches you how to retrain your brain to relieve your tight back muscles and retake control over them.
Re-establishing cortical control over your tight back muscles means that you start by contracting them slightly more, incorporating the brain in this action. Yes, that is correct! Rather than lengthening your tight back muscles, you contract them a little more. Then invite them to lengthen slowly as you release the contraction. This process (Pandiculation) creates a release response to relieve the tight back muscles in your back.
Are you ready to relieve the tight back muscles in your back? Join Resolve Pain Guru’s Video on Demand Channel, where you can learn this method, take classes, and start feeling fantastic again.
About the Author: Carrie and Nicole are certified IAYT SomaYoga Therapists and Somatics Educators who have specialized in working with clients in pain for well over 10 years. Their mission is to teach you revolutionary techniques to tap into your body’s innate intelligence and its ability to heal.
You could also call them “pain geeks” because they are extremely passionate and inquisitive about all things related to what causes people pain. To understand the true mind-body connection and to reset the nervous system in powerful and simple ways.
They specialize in skillfully combining the tools of Somatics, SomaYoga, Anatomy, Functional Movement Training, Mind Study and Yogic Philosophy to bring about more joy and freedom in the lives of those they work with. They teach to professionals and individuals sharing their Method.