Core Strength and Stability Exercises

  • March 29, 2018

Lumbar/Core Strength and Stability Exercises

Introduction

Low back pain can be the result of many different things. Pain can be triggered by some combination of overuse, muscle strain, and/or injuries to the muscles, ligaments, and discs that support the spine. Over time, a muscle injury that has not been managed correctly may lead to an overall imbalance in the spine. This can lead to constant tension on the muscles, ligaments, bones, making the back more prone to injury or re-injury. Since low back pain can be caused by injury to various structures in the spine and its supporting structures, it is important to consult your physician or athletic trainer if you have had back pain lasting longer than 1-2 weeks. Your physician can provide a diagnosis and explain what structure is injured so that your physical therapist or athletic trainer can guide you as to which exercises are appropriate for your specific injury. Each diagnosis is treated with different protocols, therefore it is important that you consult a medical professional before beginning any strenuous rehabilitation program. Low back exercises and flexibility can be the best treatment option for almost all types of back problems as it is likely to help restore balance in the spine. Low back exercises concentrate on strengthening with the abdominal muscles, to be able to give stabilization of the spine. Rehabilitation programs or preventative rehabilitation programs that focus on strengthening lumbar muscles combined with core stability and proprioception will reduce the risk of low back pain if exercises are done correctly, and on a regular basis.

The Lumbar/Core Strength and Stability

The program below can be utilized as a preventative

rehabilitation program or if you are recovering

from an injury. The program includes a flexibility

and strengthening section. Flexibility should be

done at least 5 times a week, and the strengthening

section should be done 3-4 times a week. The

program is divided into levels “Easy”, “Medium”,

and “Difficult”. It is recommended to start with the

“Easy” exercises, and perfect them before moving

onto “Medium” or “Difficult”.

Please take the time to overview the information

below before beginning the Lumbar/Core

Strength and Stability Program. It is important to

understand the way certain muscles work, and how

the exercises should feel in order to know if you are

doing the exercises correctly.

What is my “core”?

The “core” is comprised of several groups of muscles including the

transversus abdominus, multifidus, diaphragm and pelvic floor muscles.

These muscles work together to produce maximum stability in the

abdominal and lumbar (lower) back region, as well as coordinate the

movement of the arms, legs, and spine. Engaging these muscles is not

something that most people do consciously, therefore it is important to

learn how to effectively co-contract these muscles while performing these

rehabilitation exercises.

How do I engage my core?

Place two fingers on the bones on the front of your hips (ASIS). Move

your hands in an inch towards your belly button

and down an inch towards your toes. You should

now be directly over the transversus abdominus

muscle. When you contract your core correctly,

you should feel a gentle tightening under your

fingers, as if you took in your belt one extra

notch. If the muscles under your fingers start to

“dome”, then you are contracting too much and

compensating with larger muscle groups. It is

important to learn how to engage your core in

various positions and well as during activity to

provide maximum stability for your spine.

FLEXIBILITY

A lack of flexibility through the hips (hamstring, hip flexors, gluteus muscles) can contribute to low back pain, therefore it

is important to work on this if you are experiencing back pain. Please make sure all stretches are “pain free”. If you feel

discomfort, you may not be ready to do that specific stretch.

                              1- Quadriceps Stretch

Using a towel, or band, lie on your stomach, attach the band to affected foot and pull your heel to your butt. Hold this                                            stretch for 1 min. Repeat 3 times.

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