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How Can a Weak Core Lead to Back Pain?

Brian Yee PT, MPhty, OCS, FAAOMPT
According to Panjabi’s model, we can view spinal stabiilty based on 3 key elements:1. Passive Structures: The spinal column itself and the ligaments, fascia and other static tissues that hold it together.

2. Active Structures: The muscles that surround the trunk and pelvis ‘actively’ contract to provide muscle support.

3. Cognitive / Motor Control: The brain has a way to coordinate how muscles will be used to anticipate how the spine is used with functional activities.

The passive structures and the spine itself is limited in its ability to stabilize the spine, especially in dynamic function or prolonged positions such as standing or sitting. The brain thus needs to coordinate the proper timing of muscle contractions and muscle forces to hold the spine together. Without proper muscle control and force the vertebrae of the spine will have increased shearing, torque or compression eventually leading to such things as vertebral degeneration, herniated discs, or other structural issues that may lead to back pain.

The notion of the ‘stronger you are – the better you’ll be’ needs to be carefully considered as it is more important to develop stability in the core that is efficient and properly coordinates with proper movements in your upper and lower body. There are many disciplines out there that teach movement patterning and stabilization, this can include pilates, yoga, functional movement training, feldenkrais, janda approach, and more. Each discipline has their specific methods, while there are also similarities. Please consult a qualified physical therapist or other health practitioner to learn more about proper movement training to stabilize your core.

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Medical Disclaimer: Motion Stability has created and compiled the content on its websites for your information and use. This information is not intended to replace or modify the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. Please remember that the information and content, in the absence of a visit with a health care professional, must be considered as an informational/educational service only and is not designed to replace a physician’s independent judgment about the appropriateness of risks of a procedure or condition for a given patient. 

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