Core for Lower Back Pain

written by RMT, Yuliana Kim

How is core related to lower back pain?

You have a desk job and sit anywhere between 8 to 20 hours a day, then your back starts to hurt and you decide to visit your Chiropractor, Physiotherapist, RMT, or Osteopath. What do they tell you? You need to strengthen your core!

But how does strengthening of your core help with lower back pain?

Abdominal muscles, the majority of what we generally classify as core, are the front anchor of your spine. If the abdominal muscles are weak, the back muscles supporting your spine will have to work harder. This can lead to lower back pain in one of the 2 ways: the back muscles strain and eventually spasm, and/or your body relies more on passive structures such as spinal bones, discs, or ligaments for stability. So, the idea is to strengthen they key muscle groups that support posture and stability.

What is your core?

Your core is not just the “six-pack” muscles. They are in the abdomen but also in pelvis, hip, buttock, and lower back. Some of the core muscles include:

  • – Front abdominal muscles- rectus abdominus, external/internal obliques, transversus abdominis
  • – Back muscles- erector spinae and multifidi
  • – Gluteal muscles- gluteal maximus, gluteal medius, gluteal minimus
  • – Diaphragm

Core Exercises for beginners

1) Plank- Your forearms are placed underneath your shoulders and your arms are parallel. Extend your legs out and support your body with your toes on the floor. Make sure your spine is straight. Engage your core, glutes, and your quads. Ensure to tuck your gluts under a little to maintain the straight back. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds.

2) Side plank- Place right hand directly underneath your right shoulder and extend your legs. Ensure your body is straight and engage your core and your glutes. Lift your left arm up and look up toward your left hand.

3) Swimmers- Lie on your stomach on a mat with your arms stretched out. Maintain a neutral spine while raising your right arm and left leg a few inches off the mat simultaneously. Slowly lower them back down to the mat and repeat for the other arm and leg. Ensure your body is not rotating at the hips and repeat about 10 on each side.

4) Bird Dog- Start in tabletop position with your hands placed right under your shoulders and your knees placed right under your hips. Engage your core, then extend your right arm forward and left leg back while maintaining a flat back and your hips in line with the floor. Return to the starting position. Repeat about 30 to 40 seconds and switch to the other arm and leg.

*Please consult your medical provider for more information on how to strengthen your muscles safely.

For more on back pain – read our last blog post by Chiropractor, Dr. Nekessa Remy.

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