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Core Stability

‘Core Stability’ is possibly one of the most common and misunderstood terms floating around gyms and health clubs as well as amongst health professionals and personal trainers. Physiotherapists appear to be treating an increasing number of patients who have been misinformed about how to strengthen their core. Patients may even begin or continue an incorrect exercise regime which then leads to back pain and/or related hip and leg problems.

Why over-training your core can be harmful

‘Core stability training’ can often become mistaken with ‘strengthening your abs’ (abdominal muscles). Many of the ‘core muscle training’ programmes offered within the gym and fitness industry are poorly conceived and delivered. They frequently prescribe exercises such as sit ups that involve curling the spine forward. Overworking the abdominal muscles can create too much tightness around the centre of the body which can adversely affect many aspects of your body. Altered spinal posture and difficulty effectively controlling movements of the trunk can lead to:

  • Increased incidence of lower back pain and other disorders
  • Unhelpful and unsupportive breathing patterns
  • Neck and back tension and pain

The core muscles do not only consist of the abdominal musculature, but also the trunk muscles, pelvic muscles and muscles of the hips. It is important for the physiotherapist to teach patients exercises that strengthen the deeper core muscles, which include the transversus abdomius and the multifidus muscles. Improved control of the ‘core’ enables the pelvis and base of the spine to better support posture and movements of the whole spinal column. Core control is also fundamental in being able to develop functional strength as well as the ability to stretch more effectively and safely without placing unnecessary stress on the spine.

A strong core can lead to the improvement of everyday life, injury prevention, chronic back pain reduction, and enhanced sports performance.

If you are suffering from chronic back, neck or hip pain that does not seem to be responding to treatment, your functional core stability needs to be assessed by a physiotherapist. An appropriate exercise and rehabilitation program will then be set by your physiotherapist. This will be very individual to you and assist you to improve your quality of life, whether you have problems completing day to day chores such as the house work, or if you are an elite athlete.

If you would like further information, please just give us a call on (03) 9873 3333.