The vital component to injury prevention
Most people think of the core as a nice six-pack, or strong, toned abs, but the truth is that the abdominal muscles are a very small part of the core.
The abdominals have a very limited and specific action, and what experts refer to as the “core” actually consists of many different muscles that stabilise the spine and pelvis. When these muscles contract, they stabilise the spine and pelvis and create a solid base of support. The well-known core muscles are Rectus Abdominus, Erector Spinae, Obliques, Hip Flexors and the Gluteals, in fact it’s imbalances within these muscles that are linked to low back pain.
Imbalances within these muscles is commonly called Pelvic Crossed Syndrome (PCS) and is one of the most common underlying causes of lower back pain. Changes in muscle length and strength from PCS creates destructive forces in the lower back, affecting joints, discs, connective tissues and muscles causing rigidity, instability and ultimately pain.
Unfortunately it often takes years to develop and initially causes no symptoms. Symptoms become apparent only after PCS has made significant changes to the mechanics of the lower back. Commonly the underlying changes include weak abdominals and gluteal muscles and over-active, tight hip flexors and lower back muscles. PCS is most commonly seen in those who have desk jobs or those who sit for a majority of the day.
So when you are aiming to strengthen your core, don’t just focus on the “six pack”. Focus on strengthening your Abdominals, Obliques and Gluteals. And focus on stretching your Erector Spinae, Hamstrings and Hip flexors, if you don’t you are only doing half the job.
Chiropractors can be part of your core strengthening team by adjusting (manipulating) the joints in the spine that become very stiff due to these imbalances and by performing muscles releases and trigger point therapy to improve spinal movement. This along with advising our patients about appropriate rehabilitation makes Chiropractic the first choice for the treatment of musculoskeletal pain.
So if you’re looking for stronger and most importantly balanced core muscles to help maintain appropriate posture and reduce strain on the spine, see your local CAA chiropractor today.