Low Back Pain & Core Stability Training

If you experience low back pain and struggle to understand why, then this may help shed some light on your situation. Many of us have heard on television commercials about core strength or core training, but what exactly do these terms mean and why is there a push to strengthen our core muscles?
Let’s start off with defining core strength. This is not about getting a six-pack of abs or having a rock hard belly; core strength is about keeping your core muscles in shape as a preventative to injury.

Core muscles are the muscles that form around the trunk of the body. The more common core muscles include:

  • Transverse abdominis: This is located under the obliques. It is the deepest of the waist muscles and this helps to keep the spine stable and protected.
  • Internal obliques: These are located under the external obliques.
  • Pelvic floor muscles: The pelvic floor is a hammock of pelvic floor muscles that connect the pubis bone at the front to the tailbone (coccyx) and sitz bones at the back.
  • Multifidis muscles: This area is under the erector spinae (a group of 3 muscles that extend from the lower back to the neck) and runs along the vertebral column. These muscles rotate and extend the spine.

There are other core muscles that include: hip adductors, hip flexors, as well as the gluteus medius, minimus and maximus.

Weak Core Muscles And Reoccurring Back Pain

The abdominals are only a small portion of what makes up the core. Weak or unbalanced core muscles are often linked to severe back pain. Weak core muscles can also result in a loss of good posture and this means eventually there will be pain.

When core muscles are kept toned through core exercises, they stabilize the spine area, as well as the neck and shoulder. All movements originate from the center of the body so keeping these toned is crucial. Before you’re able to do any quick or powerful movement, your spine has to be stable and balanced from the core; if not, and it is weak, and a quick movement occurs, injury can occur. Core exercises develop functional fitness and this is highly beneficial to help with regular activities.

Weak Core Muscles And Back Muscle Spasms

When an individual has a weak core this can lead to the global muscles working harder than they should. Global muscles are large torque-producing muscles that produce a flexing motion. They act on the spine and the trunk without direct attachment. The global muscles are the rectus abdominis and the external oblique. So a weak core exerts pressure on the global muscles which results in regular muscle spasms.

If you have a lack of core development then this means you have a predisposition to injury. When core muscles are weak, putting them to work feels like hard work.  For example, it is easier to slouch than to sit straight – slouching weakens the core muscles. It also creates a shift in the natural alignment of the spine putting continuous pressure on the spinal column and all the core muscles surrounding it.  Before long, muscles become imbalanced (some over stretched and others shortened) and create deviations in the spine that produce chronic back pain

Developed core muscles help you react faster and stronger, and they allow your body distribute stress evenly and absorb shock effectively. In turn, your chances of back pain or injury are greatly minimized.

Developing Core Strength

In order to develop any muscle you have to use it. There are many exercises you can do, the best way to start is through bracing exercises.

Getting that perfect posture is very important. The more centered your spine is in relation to the rest of your body, the more erect you'll sit and stand. Strong lower-back and abdominal muscles help you to even sit at a desk all day. (If you sit several hours at a desk every day, try ditching your chair for a stability ball; sitting on this does wonders for developing and maintaining core strength.)

There is much more you can do to strengthen your core muscles. Chiro-Med Rehab Centre in Richmond Hill has qualified staff to help you regardless of whether you already have a back injury and need treatment or if you need advice on getting your core strength increased.

Chiro-Med Rehab Centre has a walk-in clinic conveniently located at 10144 Yonge Street, just north of Major MacKenzie Drive in the heart of Richmond Hill. Call 905-918-0419 for more information or to book a consultation.

March 10, 2014

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