If you’ve been suffering from back pain for more than a few months then you’ll more than likely have heard the expression ‘core stability’.
It’s been a buzz phrase used by physios, personal trainers, pilates instructors, osteopaths and chiropractors for some time.
There’s a Problem With This Thinking
The majority of medical and health professionals have little knowledge around its actual place in back pain rehabilitation, and actually how to test and condition the core.
It has nothing to do with sit-ups and many pilates type exercises. When these types of exercise are not performed correctly they can actually switch off your core.
How do I know this?
I’ve been delivering advanced training programmes across Europe for physiotherapists, chiropractors, osteopaths, personal trainers and pilates instructors for over six years with CHEK Europe.
What have I discovered?
The vast majority of these dedicated health professionals are unable to assess or condition the core effectively.
So, what is the core and why is it so important with ALL back pain cases?
Think of the core as your in-built natural support system for the entire body. It’s like a huge corset that wraps around your abdominal area, front to back, and is responsible for pelvis and spinal stability, as well as visceral support (your internal organs).
It also plays a key role in breathing function and the health and maintenance of the Cerebral Spinal Fluid: the fluid that cleans, restores and lubricates the spinal column.
When we accept new patients into our 5-phase back pain rehabilitation programme at the Back Pain Clinic, we carry out over 100 different assessments of the musculoskeletal system.
Within the assessments we test to a degree of accuracy of the core using some specific (non-invasive) tools and testing equipment, alongside a series of movement tests.
These are all designed to evaluate the core musculature’s strength.
Rarely do I, or a member of our spinal rehab team, ever assess a core that is performing more than 50% of its capability (and that includes professional athletes!).
Quite often we find the core will be sub-standard if the patient is experiencing any of the following:
- Back pain
- IBS or soft stools
- Constipation (not having a daily bowel movement of more than 10 inches)
- Bloated abdominals
- High stress
- Food/drink intolerances/ poor diet
- Poor posture
- Poor sleep quality
- Abdominal surgery/ scarring
- Faulty breathing function
Video: The Core and How To Condition It
In the video below I show the very basics of the core and one of the many ways we test and condition our patients’ core.
But, even with the best core exercises in the world at our finger-tips and the most cutting-edge assessment capabilities, the core will NEVER reach a position of functional strength if any of the above 10 points are still present.
Have you been to see a back pain practitioner?
When they assessed you did they ask you about any of the points from 2 to 10 from the above list? My guess would be no.
With all our back pain patients we formulate an entire structured health programme, using our unique 5-phase process, to reach 100% core recruitment and a return to a pain-free life.
But core-conditioning exercises are only one part our back pain rehab system.
In up-coming blogs I’ll show you some of the crucial components we use when rehabilitating chronic back pain and share some of the success stories we have had with ‘medical failure’ cases over the years.
Interested in our five phase holistic approach?
Call to book a free 45-minute spinal consultation.
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