Lower back pain (LBP) is a chronic illness that affects nearly 80% of the U.S. adult population. With the rate of chronic diseases on the rise, it’s important to take preventative action to be the healthiest version of yourself.
Historically, core exercises have been prescribed for low back problems. Why is that? Well, research shows that individuals with chronic LBP have decreased muscle activation of certain muscles or muscle groups that make up the core. Simply stated, there is an obvious correlation between LBP and an inefficient core.
Numerous studies support the role of core training in not only the prevention, but also the rehabilitation of LBP. Core stabilization exercises restore the size, activation, and endurance of the deep spine muscles in individuals with LBP.
Trunk muscle weakness by itself is an independent risk factor for developing LBP. Your core is largely responsible for your posture. So, if your core is weak and you have distorted posture, what do you get? You guessed it—lower back pain. Everyday things like walking, sitting, and standing require your core muscles to be activated at all times to provide movement control and stability.
It’s important to consider the consequence of performing exercises with poor form, too. Consider back extensions; they’re an effective movement that strengthens your erector spinae muscles and is commonly practiced to reduce LBP. However, doing back extensions without proper core stabilization has been proven to increase pressure on the intervertebral discs in the spinal column leading to severe LBP.
Unsupported exercise can cause serious damage that may be permanent so always be sure to train in a progressive manner, meaning do exercises that are realistic for you and your fitness level. Start with the most basic exercises and only graduate to more advanced movements once you’ve mastered the basic ones. Keep it challenging, yet controlled. Always have a sense of posture and form when performing any movement.
Preventing the LBP plague starts with strong stabilizing core muscles. Like the title of my last blog suggests, the core is the origin of all movement. The core musculature helps protect the spine from harmful forces that occur during functional activities. A core training program is designed to increase stabilization, strength, power, muscle endurance, and neuromuscular control in the lumbo-pelvic-hip complex (LPHC), which translate to a decreased chance of experiencing LBP.