Next Steps And Precautions
Most muscle strains that cause lower abdominal pain from situps are mild and heal on their own. Applying a cold compress to the area for the first 24 to 48 hours can help reduce your discomfort, according to the Mayo Clinic.
An over-the-counter pain medicine, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen , might also be helpful, if approved by your doctor. Resting your injured abdominal muscle is the key to recovery. This entails avoiding any activity or exercise that relies of contraction of the injured muscle. Once your pain subsides, you can gradually begin to return to your usual activities.
In some cases, what seems to be an abdominal muscle strain might actually be a more serious problem, such as a hernia. See your doctor right away if you experience any warning signs or symptoms, including:
- abdominal or groin swelling or a bulge
- severe or worsening abdominal or groin pain
- nausea or vomiting
Core Exercises That Are Better For Your Back Than Crunches
The abdominals are a pain point for many gym goers. We habitually grab a mat, get down on our backs and start crunching away with the goal of finally carving out those elusive six-pack abs. But is this really the most effective way to work towards a toned midsection? The answer is no.
“When most people are doing crunches, they aren’t just wanting a stronger midsection, they’re looking for fat loss,” says Brian Bott, certified functional strength coach, founder of Aspire Fitness and co-author of “Get With the Program.” “When we think about core training, we focus on preventing movement rather than creating it. A lot of back injuries can be attributed to repeated flexing and extending of the spine. This is the exact movement you are doing performing a crunch. Yes, you feel them in your abs, but it’s not quite the way your core was designed to work and it comes at the expense of your back.”
According to Harvard Medical School, crunches are hard on your back, since they “push your curved spine against the floor and work your hip flexors, the muscles that run from the thighs to the lumbar vertebrae in the lower back.” When your hip flexors are too tight, they pull on your lower spine, which can cause lower back pain; plus, poorly performed crunches can also put strain on the neck. In addition to the potential for pain, sit-ups and crunches target just a few isolated muscles, and your core goes far beyond just abdominal muscles, so they aren’t the most effective use of your time.
Reasons Why You Should Not Do Crunches
May 16, 2016 | Posted by Heather Jackson
Sure, you train well, but the real question is, do you train hard? When it comes to working out, there is a right way and a wrong way to work outand goes double for your abs! Crunches are the classic abdominal exercise, but if you arent seeing the results you want, there may be a much better way to get your six pack! Here are four reasons why you should not do crunches
They Can Cause Neck and Back Pain
Think of crunches as the classic but outdated abdomen exercise. By flattening your spine , youre running the risk of staying in that flattened position too often .
Do you already have back pain even before you step foot in the weight room? Unless youre working with a professional who can ensure you have the correct posture when doing crunches, theres a good chance youre not crunching correctlywhich isnt only dangerous for your spine, back and neckbut youll be stuck with little to no results .
They Dont Target Deep Abdominal Muscles
Do you want strong abs on the surface, but a weak core? Of course you dont. If youve ever had a friendly competition going between you and your workout buddy, and wondered why after beating her at hundreds of crunches, youre still not developing a lean and toned mid-section, there could be a reason for that. The reason is, crunches simply dont target the deep abdominal musclesand if you arent targeting those, you arent going to ever see the results you want.
They Can Cause Poor Posture
You May Like: Broken Or Sprained Wrist Symptoms
Gastrointestinal Symptoms And Exercise
Gastrointestinal problems during exercise relate to the stomach and intestines. These may include heartburn, belching, abdominal cramps, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and an urge to defecate.
Whilst physical activity is known to provide several health benefits to the gastrointestinal system, the physiological changes which occur when exercising can lead to disturbances.
During exercise, the amount of blood flow to the GI organs decreases as it is diverted to the working muscles. There are also changes in the rate of gastric emptying and hormone levels. Abdominal muscle contractions and increased diaphragm movements may also contribute to GI symptoms during exercise.
Are There Alternative Exercises That Are More Back
Fortunately, there are exercises that can effectively work the same muscles in a way thats less stressful on the spine. Planks, which are the new go-to exercise for working the core muscle groups that support the spine in some way, result in a better balance of muscles in the back and front and on the sides. Unlike sit-ups and crunches, planks target more than just abdominal muscles. Similar in form to upward push-ups, planks work many of the soft tissues that connect the upper and lower body, the same ones that play a significant role in daily movements. Other exercise variations to consider instead of sit-ups and crunches include:
- Side planks to strengthen side back muscles that take some of the weight off the lower spine
- Yoga poses that work similar muscles in a gentler, more natural way
- Water-based exercises that work the core without stressing joints
If youre experiencing chronic spine-related pain, get in touch with The Spine Institute. We specialize in a wide array of minimally invasive procedures, from artificial disc replacement to extreme lateral interbody fusion. Los Angeles patients can call 310-828-7757 today to learn more.
Recommended Reading: How To Tell If Wrist Is Sprained
Delayed And Ongoing Pain
In some cases, pain does not occur immediately but develops after pulling an abdominal muscle. This is particularly true with a mild abdominal muscle strain. Delayed or ongoing pain due to an abdominal strain can range from mild soreness to intense discomfort.
The area directly over the site of the tear is often tender when touched. A severe abdominal muscle strain can cause swelling and bruising at the site of the tear although this is very rare with a tear caused by situps.
Lower abdominal pain after exercise is typically triggered or intensified when contracting your abs. This can occur with everyday activities, such as lifting grocery bags or sitting up from a reclining position.
Coughing, sneezing and deep breathing also typically worsen the pain. Trying to perform situps or other exercises that work your abdominal muscles will also provoke pain and might worsen the original injury.
What It Means When Sit
Pushing too hard for a flat stomach can be harmful in more ways than one. If your plan for increasing core strength involves sit-ups, there are a few things you should keep an eye out for while exercising. Stomach pain that results from these ab exercises can be a sign of something serious.
Sit-ups used to be an essential part of strength routines, meant to help stabilize your core. However, the cost of overdoing them can be high. According to medical experts at Harvard University, sit-ups can pull on your hip flexors and lead to lower back pain . But the pain from sit-ups isn’t just limited to your back. What if you feel pain specifically within your abdomen?;
When doing a sit-up, one of the biggest muscles involved in the movement is the rectus abdominis . This muscle runs the length of your abdomen, from your ribcage to your pelvis. When you do a sit-up, your rectus abdominis engages to help pull your spine off the floor. Another muscle in use during sit-ups are the obliques, which can be found along the sides of your abdomen .
Also Check: How To Avoid Carpal Tunnel Guitar
Abdominal Pain Treatment And Home Remedies
The treatment for abdominal pain depends on its cause, and may include:
- Medications to lower inflammation, prevent acid reflux, or treat ulcers or infection
- Surgery to treat a problem with an organ
Over-the-counter pain relievers like aspirin and ibuprofen can irritate your stomach and worsen your pain. Donât take them unless a doctor has diagnosed the cause of your belly pain and recommends their use.
Some diet and lifestyle changes may help belly pain caused by gas and indigestion. Here are some things you can try:
- Eat smaller portions at more frequent meals
- Eat slowly
If Despite All This Your Heart Is Set On Doing Old
A lot of people aren’t kind to their low back or neck when they do crunches.
To do the crunch right, pull your ribs down toward your pelvis. Keep your neck and shoulders relaxed, and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Your chin can move slightly toward your chest, but you don’t want to jerk your neck around. Maintain good contact between your low back and the floor while you’re crunching, and don’t rush it.
Reverse crunches are also a great way to hit all your ab muscles at once. To do these, lie on the floor with your hands out to the side. Lift your legs into the air, bending them so that your calves are parallel with the floor and your knees are over your hips. Then exhale, contract your abs, and raise your hips off the ground, as if you were trying to bring your knees toward your head. Keep the 90-degree angle of your knees steady. Hold the move briefly at the top, then, with control, slowly lower your knees back to their starting point above your hips.
Don’t Miss: How To Reduce Neck Pain While Sleeping
How To Perform A Crunch Correctly
Performing a crunch effectively takes some practice. If youre feeling confident, follow these step-by-step instructions to complete the crunch with perfect form:
Reasons Why Ask Doctorbase Is The Most Efficient Way To Seo And Establish Your Brand Online
Ask Dr. Molly if you have questions or want a personal session on how to best use Ask DoctorBase for maximum marketing impact.
Molly Maloof, MD
Don’t Miss: Can A Chiropractor Help With Nerve Pain
Home Remedies For Immediate Relief
If your stomach spasms are bothering you, there are ways you can get immediate relief or treat them at home. Some at-home treatments will treat the underlying cause of muscle spasms, while others relax the stomach muscles so that they stop spasming.
If youre having stomach spasms in pregnancy, talk to your doctor before trying any home remedies. Some home treatments may not be safe during pregnancy.
Stomach Problems For Runners
- Side stitches
All that pavement-pounding jostles the gastrointestinal tract and its contents, triggering lower GI problems. Numerous studieshave found that about 50 percent of long-distance runners report problems such as cramping and diarrhea during the event. Side stitches are caused partly by “gravity and the natural movement of running, which strains connective tissues in the abdomen,” says Murray.
Fix it fast:;To redirect blood to your gut, slow your pace until your heart rate decreases to a comfortable level. For side stitches, change your stride, slow down, or twist your torso gently in the direction opposite your side ache. A true emergency? Find the nearest Porta-Potty or big tree. You won’t be the first or the last to do so, trust.
You May Like: Why Does My Broken Wrist Still Hurt After A Year
What Is Abdominal Pain
Abdominal pain is discomfort or other uncomfortable sensations that you feel in your belly area. Just about everybody at one time or another will get a bellyache.
Most causes of abdominal pain aren’t reasons to worry, and your doctor can easily diagnose and treat the problem. Sometimes, though, it can be a sign of a serious illness that needs medical attention.
Why Does Vinegar Stop Leg Cramps
Vinegar is seemingly able to outwit this reflex. Scientists suspect that the sour taste of the pickled cucumber water causes the receptors in the mouth to send a neural signal to the brain. The muscles are then controlled differently and as a result, cramps quickly disappear again or do not even occur.
Also Check: Can Anxiety Cause Shoulder Blade Pain
Back Pain And Crunches
Steve McGill, professor of spine biomechanics at the University of Waterloo, has been studying the negative effects of crunches on spine mechanics for more than 30 years. His lab details the compressive effect a crunch as on the spine.
According to McGill in an issue of The Toronto Star, these exercises can cause hundreds of pounds of compression on the discs of your spine, and the repeated bending of the spine typical of a series of crunches can cause long-term damage.
As the discs compress, they bulge outward, pressing on the nerves of your spine and causing back pain. In serious cases, a herniated disc can occur, a painful and debilitating spinal injury.
Back pain that persists over several days or weeks can indicate a serious injury, such as a hernia. Always seek advice from your doctor to ensure you’re not exacerbating a previous injury with any exercise, and give plenty of time to recover from back pain before attempting the exercises in this article.
Causes And Pathophysiology Of Abdominal Angina
The pathophysiology of abdominal angina resembles angina pectoris and intermittent claudication. Abdominal angina is commonly caused by atherosclerotic vascular disease, where there is obstruction in the ostia and few centimeters from the origin of the mesenteric vessels. This condition can occur with carcinoid, aortic coarctation and antiphospholipid syndrome. Smokers are at a higher risk for developing this condition so smoking is a big risk factor. Women are more prone to develop this condition than men. Abdominal angina is commonly seen in individuals aged above 60 years.
You May Like: How To Reduce Wrist Pain When Lifting
Sore Stomach From Doing Situps
If youve ever experienced a sore stomach a day or two after performing situps or crunches, you might have thought you overdid it. However, you might have exercised exactly as you should to strengthen and develop the primary muscle of your stomach area, the rectus abdominis, along with the supporting core muscles. Some muscle soreness after working out is not necessarily bad. However, it is important to know what causes the pain, how to remedy it and how to minimize soreness in the future.
What Happens When You Work Out With Gerd
During reflux, the lower esophageal sphincter muscle, which serves as a barrier between the stomach and the esophagus, opens, allowing stomach acid to travel up into the esophagus and cause heartburn. Any exercise that increases abdominal pressure, such as heavy lifting, stomach crunches, or high impact workouts, can trigger reflux.
In reflux, whatever material is in the stomach will only come back through that barrier if the pressure in the stomach exceeds the pressure of the barrier, says Dr. Levinthal.
If you have GERD and a hiatal hernia, thats a double-whammy. Half of those with reflux have a hiatal hernia, even if they dont know it, says Levinthal. In that circumstance, the stomach may actually push up a little bit into the chest through a larger opening. It doesnt make as close a seal.
Pregnant women may also need to adjust their workout. At least 50 percent of women report some GERD in their pregnancy, usually in their third trimester when the fetus is almost fully formed, says Dr. Saha. Theres mechanical pressure thats applied to the stomach and theres an upward motion of gastric content. In early pregnancy, too, hormonal changes will cause weakening of the LES. That doesnt mean we dont want women to exercise during pregnancy, they just need to find the exercises that suit them, Saha adds.
While there are few rigorous studies on how exercise affects GERD, commonsense precautions can make a difference in keeping reflux down while you’re working out.
You May Like: How To Take Care Of Wrist Pain