Article by John Miller
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, without strong support, all of these bones would fall in a heap on the ground.
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, when they turn off, your spine is not fully supported by its usual muscular corset. 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.
The first time 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. Also, your body's strength, power, endurance and performance will improve. You'll be able to run faster, jump higher and even throw further when these muscles work correctly.
For more information, please contact your PhysioWorks physiotherapist.