Strengthen Your Core to Reduce Back Pain

Approximately 85% of Canadians can expect to experience low back pain at some point in their life. A large part of this is due to weak core muscles.

What is the Core?

The “core” consists of a group of muscles including abdominal, hip and back muscles that stabilize the spine, pelvis and shoulder. The core provides a solid foundation for movement in the extremities. The muscles of the core make it possible to stand upright and move on two feet. These muscles help control movements, transfer energy, shift body weight and move in any direction. A strong core distributes the stresses of weight-bearing and protects the back. Core conditioning exercise programs need to target all these muscle groups to be effective.

Core Strength and Back Pain

Abdominals get all the credit for protecting the back and being the foundation of strength, but they are only a small part of what makes up the core. In fact, it is weak and unbalanced core muscles that are linked to low back pain. Weak core muscles result in a loss of the appropriate lumbar curve and a swayback posture. Stronger, balanced core muscles help maintain appropriate posture and reduce strain on the spine. Training the muscles of the core also corrects postural imbalances that can lead to injuries.

The biggest benefit of core training is to develop functional fitness – fitness that is essential to both daily living and regular activities.

Here are three ways improving the strength of your core can help support your back.

  1. It helps reduce pain: Studies have shown that core stability exercises are more effective in reducing pain and disability compared to no treatment, regular medical treatment, education, or general exercise in individuals with low back pain.
  2. It helps increase stability: Spinal stability depends on three systems: the passive (bone and ligaments), the active (tendons and muscles), and the neural (brain and spinal cord). Individuals with low back pain have are less likely to activate their core muscles, which leads to decreased strength in their core. Strengthening core exercises can improve spinal stability, which can ultimately reduce low back pain.
  3. It helps improve posture: Weak core muscles are a major contributor to that slouching. Good posture is important to decrease the strain on your spine. Recent research has shown that training your core muscles has a positive effect on posture.

The Ontario Chiropractic Association has assembled a list of exercises to increase core stability. You can view the exercises here.

The wellness team at Pickering Village Chiropractic & Massage encourages you to improve your overall health by making exercise a part of your daily routine. If you want to learn more about managing your health with exercise, contact our clinic today at 905-427-3202.


With content from the Canadian Chiropractic Association and the Ontario Chiropractic Associaton.