Why are good core exercises for low back pain important?

After having desensitised someone’s lower back pain, there is then a need to build a foundation from which to carry out pain-free activity. Essentially, it is time to create a certain extent of mobility and stability to suit the needs of the individual. In a video interview above, Dr Stuart McGill offers his expert analysis on how to go about carrying out a good quality core regime.

Features of core stability

When understanding the purpose of core exercises, it is useful to look at the features of a good standard of core stability, the first being the principle of proximal stability for distal mobility. Simply put, it is the ability of your core to lock down your muscles to perform exercises away from the body.

Secondly, the torso should form a guy-wire system, which has the ability to support the spine and bear large loads when coming under force. Without this, the spine is prone to buckling under pressure. Thirdly, you need to properly identify which movements and tasks are causing a recurrence of pain and why. Then you can work out which movements can be performed to mitigate this pain.

How do you build this stability?

Through years of experience and working with numerous clients suffering from lower back pain, Dr McGill has identified three crucial exercise to build residual stiffness that lasts at least an hour or more. These exercises then provide proximal stability and an immediate loss of pain. These include:

  1. Modified curl-ups
  2. Side plank
  3. Bird dog exercise

After this, building stability can be achieved by focusing on identifying the root issue of the stiffness and identifying some stretching exercises that properly mitigate the root issue.

Dr McGill points out that, as an example, many people will attribute their lack of flexibility and recurrent back pain as a result of tight hamstrings. However, as he points out, after years of consistent hamstring stretches, many don’t really solve the issue. Instead, by identifying the faulty mechanism in the back and stretching that instead, you will then start to find your hamstrings are more naturally loosened up.

As you should be able to see, dealing with lower back pain requires a good understanding of the root cause of the pain and how good stretching and quality core exercises can be brought together to build a long-term viable solution to the pain. If this is something you suffer from and you are interested in creating an actionable plan, get in touch today.

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