The Often Missing Piece of Core Training in Lewisville?
The ability to activate the core muscles during movement is perhaps the most vital factor in keeping a healthy spine. Countless of clinical studies have been done to determine what really causes low back pain and how it can be prevented, well it turns out that the main reason why people injure their backs has not so much to do with what they are doing but more importantly how they are doing it.
Sometimes due to the level of injuries on the low back, many practitioners advise against certain movements, specific exercises that are believed to be “high risk” like squats or deadlifts. However, this really goes against what the studies show because it is not a particular movement that is to blame for injury to the low back. The injury is caused by the quality of the movement. In other words, it is how poorly we move that causes pain. Our body was designed to move, but if we do not know how to use it properly it will signal pain as a response.
That being said, it is our core activation that dictates the quality of movement, and therefore the health of our spine. Now, most people think that a strong core is a solid visible set of 6-pack achieved by crunches, ab roll outs, and planks; however, this is a very common misconception. The visibility and definition of a muscle have nothing to do with how strong it is. A patient can have a very strong core and not show one single abdominal muscle.
Another common misconception about the core is that it can be trained effectively during isolation movements. However, it is important to keep in mind that we are not training our core to gain “strength” in those muscles per say. We are training to learn how to active the core throughout a movement.
These are two completely different concepts. The use of core exercises like planks become valuable to the extent that we can develop an understanding of what it feels like to active the core, how to do it, what it should feel like. However, they have little to no purpose if we don’t have proper core activation.
The case of having great core contraction on isolation exercises like sit-ups and planks but poorly being translated into a healthy spine is far too common. The reason is that the main function of the core is misunderstood and therefore ignored during training. The main function of the core is not to help us sit up from a laying down position (like in a crunch), but it is actually breathing.
How we breathe is dependent on our ability to use our core, specifically the diaphragm. If we breathe the correct way by engaging our belly muscle (the diaphragm) then we are using our core on a consistent basis, if on the other hand, we use our chest to breathe then our body hardly ever uses the core and therefore it forgets to use it. Especially, as we try to move whether that is through loaded exercises like squats or when we try to bend forward to pick up an object.
Activating a strong core has more to do with our breathing because that is its main function. As we have pressure built up in our belly from breathing, the spine is protected as a side effect.
Here is a common test we use in practice to test core activation:
We ask the patient to lay down face up, and we bring the legs up to 90 degrees, placing our hand beneath the low back we ask the patient to lower the legs in a controlled manner, poor core activation will be noted as the patient tries to arch their back to control the movement losing contact/pressure over the testing hand.
To know more contact Community Chiropractic in Lewisville for more information.
8:00am - 6:30pm
2:00pm - 6:30pm
8:00am - 6:30pm
8:00am - 6:30pm
8:00am - 12:00pm
9:00am - 11:00am