25 Jul Core Stability and Back Pain
In the UK alone, 85% of the population will experience some form of back pain during their lives. Modern technology has us slumped in our chairs for many hours on end, causing our core muscles to become weak and our posture to deteriorate. This increases a person’s risk of developing back pain.
What are your core muscles?
Our core muscles are those that support our spine and provide stability. There are three very important core muscles – transverse abdominis, the multifidus and gluteus medius. These are all deep muscles within our torso and essential for maintaining a good level of core stability.
Every time you bend to pick up something heavy or twist to reach the phone, your body needs a secure fixed point to carry out the movement. In most cases, this comes from the ‘corset’ of muscles around your spine. If your core muscles are conditioned, your spine is much more stable during movement, which can decrease your risk of back pain. For those of you who are very active and participate in sport, you are much less likely to injure yourself if you have a strong core and good posture.
What can I do to improve my core stability?
Workouts using an array of equipment, including gym balls, medicine balls and wobble boards, can help you on your way to achieving better core stability. It is very important to perform core exercises with good technique in order to activate the correct core muscles and reduce the risk of injury. Below is an exercise to help you to brace your core muscles. Abdominal bracing (see exercise below) should then be incorporated into everyday activities, sport or a training programme at the gym. If you are unsure about core exercises, a rehab consultant will be able to help you. Alternatively, our Pilates classes will help with improving your core stability.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
- Make sure your lower back is not arched or totally flat against the floor i.e. you should have a small gap between the floor and your back to ensure a neutral position.
- Now brace your stomach muscles. If you aren’t sure how to do this, try coughing – this will activate the correct muscles. As you improve at activating the correct muscles, you won’t need to keep coughing!
- Hold your abdominal brace for ten seconds whilst keeping a steady breathing pattern. Repeat this ten times.