Actually, what Dr. Yanamadala was experiencing was totally normal. Just like a automobile’s break pads wear down over time, the act of existing and growing older means our spine will experience wear and tear, which may result in back pain, Dr. Yanamadala says. Sitting (especially sitting with poor posture) for uninterrupted periods of time only intensifies pressure on the joints, which may comprise the spine. So pain resulting from a protracted commute was no surprise.
The spinal surgeon’s solution was not going to be surgery; it was going to be exercise to alleviate back pain. He knew that to support his back, he needed to strengthen his core—and never just the abs, but all of the core muscles that wrap around the back and front of the torso.
“The core is essentially our internal back brace,” Dr. Yanamadala says. “[The core muscles] support our spine and forestall us from having pain, and permit us to maneuver flexibly.”
While strong core muscles lend the spine support in its job of holding your head and body upright, the alternative can be true. The less core strength you will have, the more the spine has to soak up the pressure and shock of movement, which makes it more likely that those joints provides you with issues.
“If you do not have strong back musculature and you have not built that internal back brace, then those joints are gonna be doing that work and so they’re gonna wear down similar to the rest,” Dr. Yanamdala says.
Which is why strengthening your core needs to be your first line of defense against back pain, and is just what Dr. Yanamadala did himself—and continues to do today.
“Spine health to me is how will we maintain movement flexibility and a pain-free existence despite what’s the natural history of general wear and tear on our joints,” Dr. Yanamdala says.
Dr. Yanamadala doesn’t hit the mat and do an intense every day 30-minute core burner. Instead, he tries to do exactly a pair minutes of core each day; he says aiming for each day means he gets it done around 4 times every week, which is just positive for him.
The centerpiece of the routine is the plank. Dr. Yanamadala says he’s a “big believer in planks” because they engage the complete circle that’s your core, without requiring any motion within the back. When he first began his every day plank habit, he says he could hold the pose for about 25 or 30 seconds. Now, his record is 2 minutes, which is what he goals for each time today.
Finding your personal maximum is essential, he says. “It doesn’t matter how much you do it for, so long as you’re stressing your muscles until fatigue,” Dr. Yanamadala says. “If you do it for 30 seconds, and your muscles are fatigued by the tip of 30 seconds, that is as powerful as me doing it for 2 minutes. It’s all about how you possibly can fatigue your muscles completely in order that they’ll then begin to rebuild.”
Dr. Yanamadala intersperses the planks with dead bugs and sit-ups or crunches to work his core in just a few other ways. But you don’t must do the very same routine—what’s vital is that you simply find the exercises you’ll do consistently, and push yourself to your max.
“After I began my core strengthening regularly, it really helped tremendously,” Dr. Yanamadala says. “Movement is medicine.”