What is core stability? It is a question I get asked often in the clinic, and not an easy one to answer quickly.
Core stability describes the ability to control the position and movement of the central portion of the body. Core stability training targets the muscles deep within the abdomen which connect to the spine, pelvis and shoulders, which assist in the maintainance of good posture and provide the foundation for all arm and leg movements.
There are several muscles involved in core stability. These are the deep abdominal muscles (transverse abdominus), the pelvic floor and the deep back muscles (multifidis).
However, it is not just about learning to contract these muscles that is important in core stability. The concept of core stability should be addressed as "Dynamic Stability" - these muscles work in conjunction with other muscle groups to provide stability to the spine, pelvis and hip during normal activity. The way that these muscles interact can be different in walking, running or manual handling activities and it is terefore important to train specific to the task required.
Diverse research over the last 20 years or so into the role of "core" muscle control of low back pain has indicated that both deep and superficial muscles work to become the major supporting framework when dynamic movement or sustained postures are required.
When someone injures their lower back, pain, swelling and inflammation can result in inhibition of muscle function, leading to a limitation of movement. This can cause an increase in spinal stiffness and compressive forces on the spine. Often despite resolution of the original pain, this compensatory spinal stiffness and inhibition of muscle function can become a chronic problem.
A well designed core stability program will seek to address this compensatory stiffness and restore normal mechanisms for spinal support, and therefore normal function. The BOUNCE back® spinal stability program has been developed by a former Olympic Team Physiotherapist, Trish Wisbey-Roth using the latest research into dynamic core strengthening. At Winston Hills Physiotherapy Centre our Physiotherapists are trained BOUNCE back® instructors and we run classes for both injured lower backs and necks.