How’s Your Core?
After the common cold, lower back pain is the second most common reason for visits to the doctor. Although lower back pain is easy to recognize, its causes are varied and often unclear. Thus, one of the most significant challenges facing physical therapists is to match the suspected cause of the pain with the best combination of activities and therapies to provide relief.
Some people whose pain does not respond to general back exercises may benefit from a progressive program of lumbar stabilization exercises, also known as core stability training. Core training works the muscles that lie deep within the body. These muscles—the transverse abdominis, a flat muscle that wraps around the trunk; the pelvic floor muscles; and the lumbar multifidi, small muscles that run along the vertebrae—do not move much. Their job is to distribute forces applied to the spine and keep it stable and, in the case of pelvic floor muscles, to support the bladder, the intestines, the uterus (in females), and the urinary and anal sphincters.
Lumbar stabilization exercises activate these core muscles so they contract isometrically. In an isometric contraction, tension is developed in the muscle without movement, just as it would be if you pressed your arm forcefully against a doorframe or wall. Because correctly performing these exercises requires some coaching, they should be initiated under professional direction. We can teach you the correct way to do these exercises, many of which can be performed with little or no equipment.
Although core stabilization training is not a magic bullet to cure all back pain, many people find that working these deep muscles, along with other types of back pain therapy, can provide relief.
If you are experiencing chronic lower back pain, consider discussing core stability training with us. Call PhysioFit Physical Therapy & Wellness at (650) 947-8500.
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Below is our free guide “9 Quick And Easy Tips To Relieve Back Pain” containing valuable information for those suffering from back pain.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kim Gladfelter, MPT, OCS, FAAOMPT
Women's Health Physical Therapy Specialist at PhysioFit Physical Therapy & Wellness
Kim Gladfelter is a physical therapist, Pilates instructor, educator, author, and co-founder of PhysioFit Physical Therapy & Wellness. She is known as a keen, well-rounded expert of healing through movement and women’s health specialist in the Silicon Valley area.
Kim has helped men and women of all ages to stay active and feel their best. She also writes about managing pain in her health columns, blogs and the local Los Altos Town Crier newspaper as well as reaches out to the local community, support groups, schools, libraries, and sports centers to advise and educate on body awareness and therapeutic exercise.