Strong, well developed muscles alone will not prevent back pain. What a healthy back needs are muscles that are capable of positioning and securing the spinal column, according to Professor Ingo Froboese from the Centre for Health at the German Sport High School in Cologne.

The human body has about 640 muscles, of which 150 are directly linked to the spinal column.

“The most important muscles for a healthy spinal column and back are not just the large muscles visible on the outside, but also the tiny muscles deep inside the body located directly beside the vertebrae,” says Mr. Froboese.

These so-called deep back muscles run parallel or diagonally to the individual vertebra. Their task is to move, guide and secure the spinal column.

“They don’t need to be especially strong. Their strength lies in their ability to finely coordinate their work.” They are trained through small rotating movements that cause involuntary tension in the muscles.

“One form of exercise is to spread your shoulders back, stand with slightly bent knees and lay your arms at your sides. Next, raise your lower arms until they are 90 degrees to your body,” Mr. Froboese said.

Keep your elbows beside your body while making quick chopping movements with your lower arms for about 20 seconds. “That exercise will strengthen the deep back muscles.” Without these muscles the strongest back in the world would still suffer pain.

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