Why do core exercises for back pain work?

You often hear about strengthening your core muscles. This month at AZ Chiropractic, we will answer some questions about your core muscles: What are your core muscles? Why is it so important that they are strong? How can you strengthen your core muscles? What are the best core exercises for back pain?

Core muscles include the muscles that are around your trunk and pelvis.

They can be grouped into three categories:

Extensors (back and gluteal muscles). These muscles are used to straighten the back (stand), lift and extend, and abduct the hip (move the thigh away from the body).

Flexors (abdominal and iliopsoas muscles). These muscles are used to bend and support the spine from the front. The flexors also control the arch of the lumbar (lower) spine, and flex and adduct the hip (move the thigh in toward the body).

Obliques or Rotators (paraspinal (side) muscles). These muscles are used to stabilize the spine when upright. The obliques also rotate the spine and help maintain proper posture and spinal curvature.

Many of these muscles are exercised just by doing regular, everyday tasks. For example, the gluteal muscles are used when walking or climbing stairs. But most of your core muscles require a more targeted workout in order to keep them from weakening over time.

According to the Mayo ClinicCore exercises train the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen to work in harmony. This leads to better balance and stability, whether on the playing field or in daily activities.” But there are other reasons why having a strong core can play an important role in your overall health and why core exercises for back pain are recommended. It can:

  • Reduce the likelihood of back pain episodes
  • Reduce the severity of back pain
  • Protect against injury by responding efficiently to stresses
  • Help avoid back surgery in some cases
  • Facilitate healing from a back problem or after spine surgery
  • Improve posture

Now that you know what core muscles are and why you should make sure they are strong, here are some great websites for how to strengthen them. (Please consult with Dr. Hirst before beginning these exercises. Some patients may require alternative exercises depending on their condition). Here are our favorite core exercises for back pain:

Remember, the stronger your core, the easier it is for your muscles to keep your spine in line!