Can sit-ups be making your low back pain worse?

Causes of low back pain can be complex. There are often multiple factor which feed into the experience of low back pain. Two different individuals experiencing low back pain will likely have different contributing factors (causes) and in different proportions.

We help many people stabilise, manage and improve their low back pain through the success strategy of Corrective Chiropractic.

Research shows that an approach where the practitioner best understands you as the individual, performs a thorough assessment, provide education and works with you to address as many of those unique factors as possible, will help to give you the best results.
I’m sure we both can see this as pretty logical reasoning!

Our approach at Level Spine Chiropractic takes this into account. We design personalised programs based on our objective testing, your individual goals and the best available evidence.

Poor movement patterns can lead to low back pain.

Faulty movement patterns are often a big contributor to why you have low back pain.
Sit-ups may be one of those poor movement patterns where the benefit of it being a core exercise doesn’t outweigh the negative impact on your spinal health.
This is because repeated bending of the spinal discs may be a common injury mechanism.
Although disc herniations don’t always correlate with low back pain, faulty movement patterns can create abnormal stress and strain on other pain sensitive spinal structures. This is another mechanism by which less efficient movement patterns can lead to the experience of pain.

But aren’t sit-ups good for your core?

It’s clear that a well trained core is essential for spinal stability, optimal performance and injury prevention.

The function of your core muscles are to act more as stabilisers than trunk flexors.
Core muscles are often used to stiffen the torso and brace while stopping motion.
A strong core allows strength to be dispersed outwards to the body.

Repeated bending of the spinal discs is a potent injury mechanism. It’s been said that spinal discs only have a limited amount of bends before they are damaged! It’s important to place this in context though. As mentioned before, just because there is disc damage doesn’t mean you will experience symptoms.
With this said though, when there is disc degeneration, there appears to be increase in disc bulging. This is due to a weakening of the disc’s structure.
To infer from this, If you have pre-exisiting disc degeneration, you may be more likely to develop a symptomatic disc injury.

Sit-ups are a repetitive flexing/bending movement of the low back.
This means they don’t utilise the primary function of the core and over time can be a contributing factor for low back disc injury.

What should I do then?

With a limited number of bends, it makes sense to keep the bending for essential tasks like doing your shoe laces up.
It wouldn’t be recommended to repetitively train disc-flexion movements into your regular program, because it can lead to back disorders.
There are so many other core exercises which better target you core and have a lower risk profile for low back injury.

Below is a link that will take you to 3 of the best core exercise for anyone, at any level!

If you are experiencing lower back problems or would see how you can level up your health with Chiropractic you can easily book an apportionment online.