What and Where are my core muscles?
Your core muscles are one of the most active muscle groups in the body, using your knees bending, twisting lifting and stretching all make use of your abdominal muscles. The “core” is comprised of several groups of muscles including the pelvic floor muscles, abdomen and obliques. These muscles work together to produce maximum stability in the abdominal and lumbar low-back region whilst allowing normal movement in the upper and lower limbs and good posture. They control movement rather than produce it and as rather like the action of hinges in a door frame. The core is the centre of our body and it functions to stabilise the trunk while the arms and legs move during functional movements. Having a strong, stable core helps us to prevent injuries and allows us to perform at our best,. The core is so important because this muscle group protects the spine and spinal-column from excessive load, preventing issues with discs and allows the transfer of force from the lower body to the upper body which is fundamental to most sporting activities and used in day to day activities. When your core muscles are weak we naturally use other muscles to provide the body with the stability it requires leading to overuse. Commonly over-used muscles are
- Shoulders and neck muscles
- Long Back Muscles
- Muscles at the side of legs.
Overuse of these muscles can cause discomfort and problems with the lumbar spine causing low back pain, so to prevent back problems we encourage the physical-therapy through the practice of musculoskeletal strengthening exercises and torso workouts which work the muscle groups we refer to as the core to prevent weakness in this area of your anatomy.
Core stability exercises benefit many people and our specialist Physiotherapists will be able to assess and highlight any deficiencies you have in your core muscles and devise a programme of exercises to rehabilitate them. Core muscles are rather like marathon runners and need to work on building endurance rather than just short term strength. Consequently, we often prescribe low effort exercises that are designed to be undertaken several times per day. Any exercise that involves the use of your abdominal and back muscles in coordinated fashion counts as a core exercise which makes it easier for our physios to teach you how to perform the exercises at home to maintain the benefits of core stability. Swimming is generally regarded as being helpful or exercise classes such as Pilates, just make sure that any exercise is controlled and within your pain tolerance, our recommendation would be to discuss any additional forms of exercise with your physiotherapist.
An aligned and upright body will make you less prone to have back injuries and pain. Core muscles are at the center of your body, supporting the neck, back muscles and spine. A strong core will reduce the pressure off your back muscles to work extra hard to support your body, reducing muscle strains, risk of injury and back pain.
- Greater control of movements
- Increased stability of the spine and pelvis
- Increased muscle strength and flexibility
- Improved posture
- Improved the efficiency of the muscles
- Improved balance and coordination
- Promotes normal movement
- Reduced muscle spasm
- Reduced strain on the lower back
- Reduced muscle imbalance
- Reduced pain
Core 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. A strong core engages the pelvis, lower back and hips to collaborate better and provide balance and stability to the body. Daily activities such as walking, running, and sitting are made more efficient with a strong core as your body’s alignment improves with a strong core and strain on your muscles and joints is also reduced
- Back or pelvic pain
- Chronic pain
- Post lower limb and abdominal surgery
- Post and pre-natal
- Poor posture and muscle imbalances
- Spinal problems
- Preparation for an event or as part of your training
- As part of an injury rehabilitation programme
- Injury prevention
- Neurological conditions for example stroke
- If you don’t possess a six-pack it doesn’t mean that you do not have a strong core, and if you do, it doesn't guarantee a fantastic core!
- For best results vary your exercise routine frequently to constantly challenge your muscles.
- Perform your exercise routine with control, concentrating on your technique and ensuring that you perform the complete exercise slowly.
Core Tips: For some people, the first clue that their body isn't working very well can be the onset of lower back pain. For other people the pain can be remote to the core such as knee pain, plantar fasciitis or perhaps shoulder pain; remember that everything ultimately connects to your core.