Core Muscle Strength

Core Strength and Spinal HealthNow that the kids are back in school, it’s time to focus on you!

Core strength is critical for everyday activities such as placing heavy grocery bags in the trunk of your car, carrying a gallon of milk from the refrigerator to the dining room table, and walking to the mailbox. When your core strength is diminished,  bending over to pick up a pencil may result in a serious spinal injury.  When standing up from a seated position or getting into a car causes twinges in your back, your core muscles are not working at their optimum level.

Your core consists of the four abdominal muscles – the transversus abdominis, internal obliques, external obliques, and rectus abdominis – and your back muscles - the erector spinae, longissimus thoracis, and multifidi.  In today’s world, a majority of patients spend the largest portion of their day sitting at a desk. This causes the core musculature to weaken drastically, unless specific attention is paid to training these muscles.(1,2)

The good news is that a wide variety of exercises are available for training the core, such as yoga, pilates, and use of a physioball. Dynamic exercises, including planks, squats, glute bridges, and lunges, are extremely beneficial for strengthening your core and only require an exercise mat.

Core Muscles and Chiropractic Care
When you begin a core muscle strengthening program, it’s important to ensure that your spinal biomechanical structures are functioning at their best. The presence of spinal misalignments causes tightness of small muscle groups that connect adjacent vertebras and of large muscle groups that connect spinal regions such as the mid back and low back. Muscle tightness leads to pain that may last for days, weeks, or months.  Strengthening your core becomes very difficult in the presence of such tightness and pain. In fact, when spinal misalignments are left uncorrected, attempting to perform core exercises can cause injury.

Chiropractic treatments correct spinal misalignments, which help restore normal biomechanical function to your spine and, correspondingly, to the rest of your musculoskeletal system. As a result, chiropractic care helps you get the most benefit from your core strengthening activities and helps you become healthier overall.

When you spend the time to make sure your core muscles are strong, daily physical activities begin to be done with ease and grace. Back pain and other aches and injuries fade into memory.(3) The overall result is a body that works efficiently and optimally. Thus, a strong core helps provide for a lifetime of health and well-being.

1. Kumar T, et al: Efficacy of core muscle strengthening exercise in chronic low back pain patients. J Back Musculoskel Rehabil  2014 Dec 2. [Epub ahead of print]
2. Granacher U, et al: Effects of core instability strength training on trunk muscle strength, spinal mobility, dynamic balance and functional mobility in older adults. Gerontology 59(2):105-113, 2013
3. Huxel Bliven KC, Anderson BE: Core stability training for injury prevention. Sports Health 5(6):514-522, 2013

Modified from “The Common Core”