Spinal

What Are The Best Core Exercises?

Your deep core stability muscles retraining uses specific low-level activation exercises. While a very skilled physiotherapist training in deep core activation can observe and palpate for the correct muscle contraction, the best way is to see them working on a real-time ultrasound scan.

Real-Time Ultrasound Physiotherapy guidance allows you to see how your muscles are contracting in real-time. This visual feedback will enable you to correct your specific deep core muscles inside your stomach, lower back, and pelvic floor as you attempt to contract those muscles.

Beware of  Advanced “Core Stability” Exercises!

The fitness industry is full of fitness instructors who profess to know how to activate your core stability muscles. Unfortunately, the wrong core exercises will do you harm. Most progress your core exercises far too quickly and bypass these critical muscles to strengthen your outer abdominal muscles further and leave your deep core muscles weak. Research evidence has found that this renders you vulnerable to lower back pain and injury.

Article by John Miller

Deep Inner Core Stability Muscles

The deep core stability muscles of the lower spine include:

  • Transversus Abdominis (TA)
  • Multifidus (MF)
  • Pelvic Floor (PF)

core-stability-muscles

Transversus Abdominis

The Transversus Abdominis (TA) is the deepest abdominal muscle. It is the "corset muscle" of the spine and pelvis. In the typical situation, TA contracts in anticipation of body motion to guard the spinal joints, ligaments, discs and nerves.

Multifidus

Multifidus (MF) muscles are very short muscles running from the transverse processes (on the sides) of one vertebra up to the spinous process (the middle of the back) of the next vertebra upwards. Their primary function is back stability. They do not produce an extensive range of movement but work to provide small, "fine-tuning" postural changes all day long.

Pelvic Floor & Diaphragm

The TA and the MF work with your pelvic floor and diaphragm to make a flexible but stable region around your lumbar spine. This ability to stabilise your lumbar spine in its many positions enables you to overcome back problems and reduce your reoccurrence chances.

More info: Real-time Ultrasound Retraining

How Good is Your Core Stability?

Research clearly shows that core stability retraining has short and long-term benefits for low back pain sufferers. The good news is that we also know that core stability training markedly reduces your chances of re-injury.

Research on lower back pain sufferers has shown us that if you can re-activate your core stability muscles, your chance of recurring back pain reduces.

Your chances of not experiencing another bout of low back pain (LBP) within twelve months are almost three times better if you have undertaken an ultrasound-guided exercise program84% vs 30%.

After three years, you still have a two in three chance of not experiencing low back pain if you did the exercises. Adding even more research support, if you didn't do the exercises, you only have a one in four chance of being pain-free. You're still over twice as likely to not experience another episode of back pain. Hides et al. (2001).

PhysioWorks physiotherapists have professional knowledge in the training of core stability muscles. The difficulty has always been how to quantify a patient's level of stability control. That is, until now.

The solution has been to develop a useful and clinically practical method of assessing your core stability level. We can then determine, and at what level it fails to cope with your body's demands. That is, what is the individual client's functional Back Stability Score (BSS)?

How Do We Assess Your Core Stability?

Your PhysioWorks physiotherapist will assess you to determine your current symptoms, pathology and functional requirement. Then, they'll physically test you to decide on your back stability based on your ability to activate your core control muscles (transversus abdominis, multifidus and gluteals).

If you can isolate these muscles, we can test further when your core stability muscles lose control of your spine and become inhibited or fatigue. This testing assists us in determining what tasks make you vulnerable to back pain or injury.

What Happens After Your Core Stability Score is Determined?

Based on your functional needs, your treatment directs towards your specific areas of weakness. The result is a much stronger, stable and pain-free back. If you would like to know your Back Stability Score, please contact PhysioWorks.

What are the Benefits of the Functional Back Stability Score?

For Patients

  • You have a quantitative guide to your functional goals.
  • You have a current status score. Progress is measurable.
  • You can progress quickly through the BSS levels to maintain motivation and self-esteem.
  • Individualised treatment. Different retraining options depending upon desired outcomes.
  • You can self manage in the long-term.
  • Your goals are functional (task-related) rather than merely a strength score.
  • Quantitative Feedback for You, Your Health Practitioners and Insurers.
  • Achieve stepped goals and sensible, steady exercise and treatment progressions.
  • We'll educate you on how to prevent future injuries.
  • You'll be introduced to ergonomics and understand the best postures for you.
  • You will prevent future bouts or at least minimise their severity.
  • It's a research-backed solution.
  • It's perfect for all ages and physical abilities.
  • There is a clear path for progression.
  • You perform your exercises in the comfort of your own home without expensive gym equipment or membership.
  • You'll have personalised professional guidance for assessment, reassessments and progressions.
  • You'll be pain-free ASAP.

For Clinicians & Insurers

  • It's a precise measure of your functional capacity.
  • It allows better judgments on patient directions, e.g. returns to work.
  • It offers better-individualised advice and treatment.
  • It reduces jargon through measurable standardisation.
  • It's a practical measure that can be related to other outcome measures such as Oswestry Disability Score.
  • There is a clinically relevant correlation between subjective and objective findings.
  • It reduces malingering.

What Conditions Does the Back Stability Program Improve?