So, you’re constantly needing to do core exercises to prevent your back pain right? It’s taking up hours of your week in travel. You’re now struggling without your Pilates classes now in lockdown, just because you missed a couple of sessions!
A study conducted on athletes to see if core exercise had an effect on low back pain found “no significant advantage of core strengthening in reducing Low back pain occurrence”.
It’s strange that with all our modern science, it is still estimated that up to 80% of the population will experience back pain problems at some point in their life!
I’ve heard so many stories about people who do Pilates, core work at the gym or religiously stick to their prescribed exercises and only get relief if they continuously keep doing them. In fact, I so often hear that after just a week break from exercising their pain returns! But why is it your mum doesn’t do any of those exercises and never has a problem!
After years of studying spinal biomechanics, neurology and working with thousands of patients, I honestly believe that exercises to improve spinal function are OVER-PRESCRIBED! Muscles stop working for far more reasons than not enough strength.
If you take an athlete of any sport. With all the training they do, the amazing muscle tone they have, surely that should mean they have less occurrence of daily back pain… In fact, technically they shouldn’t really get any of those common niggles or pain, I mean their core is stronger than yours, mine and your mum’s, right? But we all know that that isn’t actually the case.
What about your grandmother, has she been doing her daily core routine?
The problem is that we need to clear up the difference between tone and function. The tone of a muscle is more related to it’s strength and frequency of use. It’s about how powerful that muscle actually is. Where function is exactly what the name implies. It’s how the muscle actually works when asked to contract.
There are many neurological firing feedback loops that allow muscles to contract correctly. In fact it’s a very complicated affair. A single dysfunctional sequence in the mechanism can result in the muscle failing to behave the way they it is required to.
Posture is a perfect example. Ever notice how some days you feel upright, bright and ready to take on the world where other days you feel flat, tired and seem to struggle to even stand up unassisted?
Strength hasn’t changed in these circumstances, it’s just the brain’s ability to activate them that has because of fatigue, stress or other factors.
In fact, even if you were to go and strengthen these muscles, even though they could grow in size, they still wouldn’t turn on like they should unless that fatigue had gone. It’s just common sense…
So, what if there was a function problem that was creating a very local issue in just one or two of these muscles…? Could that explain why you had back pain and not your mum?
Luckily this is something that is generally easily discovered and often easily solved. In fact, it usually isn’t that difficult to work with. It’s all about working out why muscles aren’t firing and what is affecting that feedback loop.
Truth be told, there are many things that can actually affect how these muscles are firing. It can range from strain patterns with the muscle to nutritional issues associated with the muscle.
I hear arguments all the time about core exercises and how they are the only way to help get back pain sorted. I honestly believe this isn’t the case. A lack of function is what drives these problems and without it exercises are just a short-term band aid approach!
If you’d like my team to identify if dysfunction is the cause of your problems, then send me a message or call the office on 9318 7758 and we’ll organise a time for our complete functional assessment to identify what is really driving your problem.
Always happy to help.