There are many myths and misconceptions about core stability which has become a popular concept in both the rehabilitation and fitness industries in recent years. Everywhere you look, social media, TV, online, emails and even women’s magazines now implore you to ‘train your core’.

Physiotherapists are seeing an increasing number of people who have fallen victim to an often misguided approach and undertaken exercise regimes that have led to back pain and/or related hip and leg problems which can be linked to improperly ‘training their core’.

Also, very few people have good true core control and dynamic stability of the spine, which may lead to many of the spinal injuries.

Overworking the abdominal muscles can create too much tightness around the centre of the body which can adversely affect important aspects of our body, for example, altered spinal posture and difficulty effectively controlling movements of the trunk, can lead to:

• Increasing incidence of low back pain and allied disorders

• Unhelpful and unsupportive breathing patterns

• Neck and shoulder tension and pain

• Stress urinary incontinence

• Sacroiliac joint pain and dysfunction

• Hip pain

• Gluteal pain

• Chronic hamstring strains

• Pregnancy pain

• Post-partum pelvic and low back pain

• Lower abdominal bulging

• Sports injuries

• Lower limb injuries

• Piriformis pain syndrome

The core muscles do not only consist of the abdominal musculature, but also consists of the trunk muscles, pelvic muscles and quite importantly the muscles of the hips and shoulders.

There is no single muscle or single exercise for low back problems and motor control/core stability as a treatment. Physiotherapists are aware of key concepts in motor control and exercise and follow an evidence-based approach to exercise prescription.

Improved control of the ‘core’ enables the pelvis and base of the spine to better support posture and movements of the whole spinal column.

Core control is also fundamental in being able to develop functional strength as well as the ability to stretch more effectively and safely without reinforcing unhealthy stresses on the spine.

A strong core can lead to the improvement of everyday life, injury prevention, chronic back pain reduction, and enhanced sports performance.

If you are suffering from any upper and lower limb injury as well as pain in the spine, your functional core stability needs to be assessed and an appropriate rehabilitation program will be set.

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