Back pain can have many different causes, but usually results from some combination of over-use, muscle strain, and/or injury to the muscles, ligaments and discs that support and control the spine. When an injury to the core muscles is not treated correctly, it can lead to a weakness or imbalance of the spine resulting in ongoing pain or frequent recurrences.
Conversely, a strong core essentially creates a muscular corset that stabilizes the body and spine, thereby reducing pain, minimizing recurrences and stopping injury. A strong, flexible core is important in almost everything that you do. You use your core in everyday activities, such as bending to put your socks and shoes on, sitting, standing, cleaning, working around the house, carrying and lifting packages, and the list goes on and on.
At work you use your core to sit at your desk, often for hours without giving them a break. If you preform lifting tasks at work, you are also obviously using your core muscles.
So it is easy to see how a weak or imbalanced core can affect the quality of almost every part of your life. The development of a strong core leads to "functional fitness", the type of fitness that is most important in preforming daily living activities without pain. The good news is that the core can be strengthened and made more flexible with the proper exercises and training.
To build a strong core you need to exercise several muscle groups from your pelvis to your shoulders, not just your abdominal muscles. While six-pack abs may look impressive, it is only a small part of developing a strengthened core. The following muscle groups are commonly included in the core muscles: rectus abdominis, erector spinae, multifidus, external obliques, internal obliques, transverse abdominus, hip flexors, illio-psoas, gluteus medius and minimus, gluteus maximus, hamstrings, piriformis and hip adductors.
Dr. Marcello Sammarone, MD ●