By WIN Contributor: Karen Evers, Reg. Kin, OTA, PTA
The transverse abdominis muscle is the deepest stomach muscle before you reach the organs. It runs horizontally from front to back between the pelvis and ribs. The primary function of this muscle is to compress the ribs and viscera, stabilizing the pelvis and spine. When this muscle contracts it increases intra abdominal pressure, resulting in significantly lower loads on the joints and discs of the lumbar spine. This contraction creates a natural “corset for the spine”. When the TA is weak it is often indicated in low back pain.
Low back pain can arise after a person lifts an object with poor body mechanics causing excessive stress on lumbar spine. Over time this can cause discs to bulge, prolapse or completely herniate. Many workers wear weight belts around their waists. These belts serve the same function as the TA. Someone with a strong core including the TA will not need to use the belt.
When patients come to WIN Physiotherapy Niagara to seek physiotherapy for their low back pain we always start with teaching them how to properly activate the transverse abdominis muscle. This is the building block for any further core strengthening program.
To activate your TA muscle:
- Begin by lying on back with knees bent.
- Draw your belly button upwards and inwards towards your spine.
- Make sure to breathe normally.
- Your rib cage should remain relaxed and should not elevate during this process.
- If you place fingers inside hip bone, you should feel a muscle contraction.
- To start, hold the contraction for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times.
Our WIN Physiotherapy Niagara team can give you individualized advice for core strengthening.
Book your appointment at WIN Health Solutions to help you build a stronger core!