The muscles in the core of the body are like a chain connecting the upper and lower body. They support the muscles and functionality of the muscles in the arms and legs. All motions originate or move through the core. Everyday movements like bending over to put on shoes or to pick up a package, turning or twisting, even sitting and standing, require the core to be active. If the core is weak, it can have a negative effect on how well the arms and legs function. A healthy and strong core provides balance and stability, helping to prevent falls and injuries. Many people suffer from back pain at one point during their lives, and core exercises are often used to relieve the pain as well as build up the strength to avoid reinjury.
Core conditioning is a key part of many physical therapy treatment plans. Good core strength can reduce back pain, improve athletic performance, the range of motion, and overall strength, and correct postural imbalances. The physical therapist will help patients to build core strength and stability with a variety of exercises like planks, bridges, superman extensions and basic push-ups. Other exercises may include stability balls, medicine balls, kettlebells, yoga, and Pilates. The therapist will help you to practice these exercises during treatment sessions and ask you to do some exercises at home every day.
Most back injuries will benefit from improved core strength. The core is not just the visible abdominal muscles, but all of the muscles in the interior of the body that support the spine and organs. Many back injuries are made worse because of inadequate core strength to either help avoid the injury or because weakened core muscles depend on other muscles to overcompensate. Physical therapists can help to rebuild core strength, which better supports the spine and extremities.