The core connection to back pain.
Got back pain? Me too. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably already heard me talk about my chronic back pain, and all of the ways I deal with it.
There are a few different things that can be going on when we experience back pain. One of the most common being strain. Pain caused by strain happens when we “hang out” on our bodies’ passive structures, such as our skeletal system and ligaments.
Think about when you’ve been standing for a long time, and your legs are beginning to feel tired. You might pop your hip, so your weight is being redistributed away from your muscular system and into your hip joint. In terms of back pain, ‘hanging out’ on your back can look like slouching forward, overcorrecting by tilting your hips back, or, the aforementioned hip-pop.
All of these actions are ways that we avoid fully activating our core muscles. In using these posture short-cuts, we create tightness and strain in our backs. However, core-strength is a major way we can prevent this. When our core is activated, these muscles are able to keep our spines aligned and happy.
Remember, your core muscles include a long list of muscle groups, your abdominal muscles being just one of them! Your core is every muscle in your trunk, including your glutes, diaphragm, pelvic floor, shoulders, and of course, your upper and lower back muscles.
This long list of muscles all function together to keep your spine straightened and supported. When we strengthen these muscles, it eventually becomes easier to activate them, keeping your spine supported throughout our day. Think about your spine like a sapling and these muscles as a supporting stake system. The stronger and studier the support is, the safer the sapling will be.
So how do we strengthen these muscles? Well, you want to make sure that you are targeting all of these groups. It doesn’t have to just be crunches! (unless they’re your thing!) An awesome way to target your core is through movement that requires balance, because when we work to stabilize ourselves, our core activates.
Ready to improve your core strength and spine health? My class series To the Core covers all of the trunk-specific moves! Plus, my On-Demand Library features a section with pain-specific classes. I’ll be working on a back-pain video soon, so be sure to watch that space!