Question: I heard you could hurt your back just by sneezing. Is that true?
Answer: Back movements are controlled by a number of muscles, which can be split into two groups: an outer group consisting of large muscles (such as the larger abdominals, the Rectus and Obliques) and a deeper group consisting of smaller muscles, including the Transversus Abdominus or TA.
The larger muscles act mainly to move your back in a particular direction, whereas the deeper group provide the stability to the back, guarding against injury.
If you have over developed superficial muscles, you can usually do many heavy tasks with ease. For example, you can do many sit-ups and lift heavy weights.
However, if your deep stabilizing muscles are weak, you will lack the control you need for light and small tasks, such as lifting up a piece of paper or sneezing.
Many people injure their backs doing a seemingly trivial task, but with the correct advice and treatment, this can be helped and prevented in future.
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