Kegels are often thought of as an exercise purely for pregnant or post partum women, when in fact they can be very beneficial for everyone and particularly those people with low back pain. Kegel exercises are one of the most commonly known methods of pelvic floor muscle strengthening. Kegels are most commonly described as tightening your pelvic floor muscles as if you are going to the bathroom and have to stop mid-stream.
Although Kegels have earned their merit for their contribution in helping with bladder control issues, Kegels also play another important role in spinal stabilization and management of low back pain. Spinal stabilization refers to the ability of the core muscles to effectively control movement and protect the spine during applied forces.
The three components that make up the core are the deep abdominal muscles (transverse abdominis), deep back muscles (multifidus), and the pelvic floor musculature. The pelvic floor musculature is often overlooked in its contribution to core stabilization. It is the interaction between these three muscle groups that provides a strong and stable spine and can significantly affect symptoms of low back pain.
Among individuals with a history of back injury or low back pain, core muscles are often weak and may not be doing their job of stabilizing the low back. In order for the core to work correctly, it is necessary to have the coordination and cooperation of all three muscle groups together. By re-training these muscles to work in concert during regular daily activities many people will report less back pain and higher functional abilities.
Although strictly performing Kegel exercises may not cure low back pain, adding Kegel exercises (specifically, contraction of the pelvic floor muscles) to additional exercises aimed at core strengthening may significantly improve the quality of the contraction and improve the overall stability of the low back.
To improve the health and stability of your back, visit the educational library on our clinic’s website by clicking here. And for additional information on physical therapy approaches to women’s health, clicking here.
Brent Dodge is the founding owner of Alpine Physical Therapy and is a board certified orthopedic specialist. He holds additional certifications in Functional Dry Needling, Manual Physical Therapy, and Strength and Conditioning.
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