Sep 22

Back Pain and Core Stabilization

core2Many people suffer from low back pain. For some people it is due to injury while others it may be due to poor posture. Despite the cause, it can be debilitating and result in missed time from work and difficulty with chores around the house. Physiotherapy can be an effective means of treating back pain.

A physiotherapist will assess your back and determine if you have any joint restrictions that are contributing to your condition and perform mobilizations or manipulations to loosen the area. They will also assess for areas of the spine that move too much as these areas can cause pain as well. In this case, exercise for excessive movement is helpful to stabilize the spine. Your “core” is a group of abdominal and back muscles that help to support the spine. They act like an “internal weight belt” to offload the spine. To support the spine, strengthening of the deep abdominals and back muscles are necessary. These muscles include your transversus abdominus and multifidus.  The below exercises are a means of activating these muscles to develop control of your spine:

1) Lie on your back with your legs bent. Pull belly button inwards and slightly upwards (imagine pulling your belly button away from your belt). We call this “contracting your abdominal muscles.” Don’t tilt your pelvis by keeping back flat on the floor. Hold this position for 20-30 secs while breathing slowly. Repeat 10 times.

core1When you can perform this you are able to add leg movements:

2) While contracting your abdominals, slide one leg away from your body while keeping the rest of your body still. Bring leg back to resting position and repeat with opposite leg. Do each leg 10 times. When this exercise is easy, you can then progress to having one leg straight and lifting it off the floor (a foot). Return to resting position and repeat with opposite side. Do each side 10 times.

Everyone has abdominal muscles but due to pain you may not be using them. These exercises will teach you isolate the muscles and use your abdominals more. A physiotherapist can help to assess the way you are performing the exercises and teach you specific exercises to suit your condition.

– Jennifer Smith, PT

Do you want to encourage a loved one to become healthier? Consider a gift certificate. We offer gift certificates for both massage therapy and physiotherapy. They also make great birthday presents!

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