STRONG ABS CAN HELP WITH BACK PAIN Y ou D on ’ t E ven N eed a S ix -P ack Your back is likely the most overworked part of your entire body. Between picking up your grandkid after they fall on the playground, swinging your club to make par on the back nine, and pushing the mower back and forth across your lawn, you put a lot of strain on your back, which can lead to injuries. While it is practically impossible to go a day without overusing this area, strengthening your core and gluteal muscles can significantly reduce your risk of back injury. The vast majority of patients who come into Vital Care Physical Therapy are dealing with some kind of back pain, and they are always surprised when our therapists recommend abdominal workouts to combat it. You might be wondering, “What do my abs have to do with my back?” Kacey Kline, one of our former physical therapist assistants, describes it best with an analogy: She has patients think of their abdominal muscles as either a girdle or football pads and the strings they pull to tighten them as their back muscles. If the girdle or the pads aren’t the right fit for your body, then you will overwork the strings trying to get them tight enough. In the same way, if your core isn’t strong enough to support your body’s movements, you will overwork your back to compensate when lifting. This overcompensation leads to injuries and a lot of pain. If you come in with back pain, our therapists will start by giving you an anterior pelvic tilt test to determine if your core muscles are weaker than they should be. If we find that your back is making up for your abs, then we create a regimen of exercises to help you retrain your body to find a balance. For example, you should be able to naturally lift a heavy object with your legs and glutes or easily activate your abdominal muscles when carrying a heavy object or lifting it overhead without relying solely on your back. Retraining your body to find this balance takes a lot of hard work initially, but trust us, your back will thank you for it!
S picy , C reamy S weet P otatoes
• 5 pounds sweet potatoes • 1 cup canned coconut milk • 1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste
• 1/2 cup dark brown sugar • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
1. Heat oven to 375 F. On a large sheet pan, bake potatoes until very soft, approximately 75 minutes. 2. Let potatoes cool until they are safe to handle, then peel and mash. 3. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine coconut milk and curry paste. Once mixed, add the mixture, salt, half the sugar, and half the butter to potatoes. 4. 30 minutes before serving, heat oven to 425 F. Spread potatoes in a baking dish, cover with foil, and bake for 20 minutes. 5. Uncover potatoes and dot with remaining butter and sugar. Broil until brown, crusty, and delicious. Serve hot.
Inspired by The New York Times
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