Core Stability Deficiency
Improving Your Core Stability
Preventing Pain and Enhancing Performance with Customised Exercise Programs
To improve poor core stability, it is essential to focus on exercises that target and strengthen the deep abdominal muscles, which support the spine like a corset and are linked to the deep back muscles and pelvic floor.
Retraining these muscles through a customised exercise programme can prevent repeat bouts of back pain, reduce excessive joint movement, and maintain good posture. It can also increase sports performance by improving weak stomach muscles, balance, collapsing technique, slower times, less power, and reducing injuries, aches, and pains, especially in the back and hip areas.
PhysioWorks can assess the quality of your core muscle control, show you how to isolate the vital core stability muscles, and devise an individualised exercise programme to improve your core stability, prevent injuries, and enhance your sports performance.
Indicators of Inadequate Core Stability
Inadequate core stability can manifest in various ways, including reduced sports performance, weak abdominal muscles, poor balance, and a “collapsing” technique during activities like running or landing. Additionally, individuals with poor core stability may experience slower times and reduced power, along with an increased risk of injuries, aches, and pains.
Symptoms of Lower Back Pain Caused by Core Instability
Lower back pain can be a symptom of core instability. If you are experiencing this, you may notice sudden jolts of back pain for no apparent reason, or sudden severe back pain with a feeling that your leg is giving way. You may also find it difficult to stand up straight after bending forward, or need to push or walk up the front of your thighs to stand upright. Other indicators of core instability include a sudden catch of pain when almost returning to vertical from a bent-over position, impaired single-leg balance, and a higher incidence of clumsiness, falls, or stumbles. In severe cases, incontinence may also occur.
Facts about Your Core Stability Muscles
Did you know that your core stability muscles:
- Are the deep abdominal (stomach) muscles that support your spine like a protective corset
- Are linked to your deep back muscles and pelvic floor
- Automatically turn off when you experience back pain
- Can relieve back pain when working correctly
- Can increase your power output
- Can reduce fatigue of limb muscles
Retraining your core stability muscles can:
- Prevent repeat back pain bouts
- Reduce excessive joint movement, which could lead to injury
- Maintain good posture
- Improve your arm and leg power, sports performance, and ability to lift
At PhysioWorks, we can help you:
- Assess the quality of your core muscle control
- Show you exactly how to isolate the vital core stability muscles
- Devise an individualised core stability exercise program
Please discuss your needs with one of our spinal physiotherapists.
Core Stability Info
- Which are the Deep Core Stability Muscles?
- What are the Indicators of Inadequate Core Stability?
- What is Your Core Stability Score?
- What are the Best Core Stability Exercises?
- What’s the Link Between Pilates and Core Stability?
- How Does Real-Time Ultrasound Retraining Help Your Core Stability?
Do Core Exercises Help Lower Back Pain?
While all back exercises that strengthen the muscles that traverse your back are essential, back pain researchers have emphasised retraining your deep core muscles as a priority.
Your spine is an inherently unstable area of your body. Your lower back has five vertebrae that allow twisting, bending and arching with no other bones to assist. They sit on top of a triangular bone called the sacrum, which wedges itself into the pelvis. Unfortunately, all of these bones would fall in a heap on the ground without solid support.
Your deep core muscles are the main structures that support, control and move your lower spine and pelvis. They are also the most energy-efficient and best-positioned muscles to do the job for 24 hours a day.
However, your spine is not fully supported by its usual muscular corset when they turn off. This lack of support makes it quite vulnerable to injury and chronic pain.
Research has shown that our back pain causes your "deep core stability" muscles to STOP working in EVERY case.
When you experience low back pain, your brain automatically inhibits the Transversus Abdominis (TA) muscle's regular activity. This inhibition occurs in 100% of sufferers. Unfortunately, even once the back pain has eased, the TA muscle does not automatically switch on again.
Inhibition of the TA muscle exposes your spine to further trauma and hence "recurrent back pain". Each incident becomes a little more severe, and consequently, further wasting of the TA occurs.
Other causes of muscle inhibition include previous abdominal surgery, pelvic pain and post-pregnancy.
What are the Benefits of Core Stability Training?
Researchers have shown that the correct use of your core stability muscles not only prevents pain but also alleviates pain if you're already suffering. You'll be able to run faster, jump higher and even throw further when these muscles work correctly. Also, your body's strength, power, endurance and performance will improve.
Don't hesitate to get in touch with your PhysioWorks physiotherapist for more information.
Back Pain Info
What Causes Lower Back Pain?
Lower back pain is a widespread issue in Australia, stemming from diverse conditions. As physiotherapists, we often encounter various causes of this pain. This guide aims to shed light on these causes and provide valuable insights for effective management.
Muscle injuries are a predominant cause of lower back pain, including:
- Back Cramps and Muscle Pain: Typically resulting from overuse or strain.
- Core Stability Deficiency: Weak core muscles can lead to increased back strain.
- DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness): Soreness affecting back muscles post-exercise.
Recent research underscores the importance of regular exercise and core strengthening in preventing these injuries.
Bone health is crucial in lower back pain, encompassing conditions like:
- Spondylosis: Degenerative spine conditions.
- Spondylolysis or Stress Fracture: Common in athletes, such as cricket bowlers.
- Spondylolisthesis: Occurs when a vertebra slips over another.
- Osteoporosis: Causes bones to weaken, increasing fracture risk. Advancements in bone density scanning have improved early detection and management.
- Scheuermann’s Disease: Affects spinal bone growth in teenagers.
- Scoliosis: An abnormal curvature of the spine causing pain.
- Spinal Stenosis: A narrowing of the spinal canal leading to nerve compression.
Spinal discs are vital for spinal health:
- Bulging and Disc Protrusions: These discs protrude or "slip" and can press on nerves.
- Herniated Disc: A more severe form of disc protrusion.
- Degenerative Disc Disease: Age-related disc wear and tear.
Minimally invasive surgical techniques have transformed the treatment of severe disc-related injuries where physiotherapy and other non-operative options fail to improve.
Back Joint Injuries
- Facet Joint Pain: Arises from arthritis or stress on these spinal joints.
Nerve issues can lead to:
- Nerve Pain and Pinched Nerves: Caused by spinal nerve compression from disc bulging or arthritic changes.
- Sciatica: Irritation of the sciatic nerve.
Physiotherapy and newer medications have been effective in managing these conditions. Some will require injection therapies or surgery.
Pelvic issues also contribute to lower back pain:
- Sacroiliac Joint Pain: Involving joints connecting the spine to the pelvis.
- Piriformis Syndrome: Where the piriformis muscle irritates the sciatic nerve.
- Pregnancy Back Pain: Often due to increased back strain during pregnancy. Prenatal physiotherapy programs are beneficial.
Recent Research and Advancements
Current research emphasises a holistic approach to treating lower back pain. Techniques like yoga and Pilates, alongside traditional physiotherapy, and conservatively progressed gym programs show significant relief. The role of diet in managing weight and inflammation is increasingly recognised.
Best Treatments for Lower Back Pain
Treatment varies but often includes:
- Pain management
- Strength and flexibility exercise programs
- Ergonomic adjustments
- Surgical interventions for severe cases
Lower back pain is a significant health concern in Australia. Understanding its causes and seeking professional physiotherapy advice can greatly improve life quality. Remember, early intervention is key for an effective recovery.
What to Do?
If you're experiencing lower back pain, it's vital to consult a physiotherapist or doctor. They can provide an assessment and customised treatment plan based on your specific condition.