Abdominal exercises are used to strengthen the abdominal area so that the burden of body support is not left to the spine. Doctors sometimes recommend that the sufferer exercise the rectus abdominis, external oblique, internal oblique, and transversus muscled in order to prevent back and future muscle strain.
There are three types of abdominal exercises that support the spine:
» Extension of the back and gluteal muscles. This group of muscles is used to straighten the back (crouching to standing position) as well as lift, extend and abduct the hip (move the thigh away from the body.)
» Flexing of the abdominal and iliopsoas muscles. This group of muscles bends and supports the spine from the front. They also control the arch of the lumbar (lower) spine and adduct the hip (move the thigh in toward the body).
» Flexing of the Obliques or Rotators (side) muscles. These muscles stabilize the upright spine. These muscles are rotated during exercise to help maintain proper posture and spinal curvature.
Exercises for abdominal pain do not have to be complex. These muscles are exercised in everyday life. For example, the gluteal abdominal muscles are used each time we climb a step. Inadequately exercised stomach muscles cause a tendency towards back pain. An exercise regimen that strengthens the abdominal muscles might be necessary as a preventative measure as research has shown that the back and stomach muscles show a natural tendency to weaken with age.