Core stability and low back pain

Within physiotherapy, rehabilitation and fitness industries core exercises constitutes a one of the biggest topics to help treat or manage low back pain (LBP).

Whilst manual and manipulative therapy has been proven to provide excellent relief in the short-term for an acute injury to the lumbar spine, the problem arises in the people who report ongoing or persistent LBP.

Specific stabilisation exercises (like in pilates) were investigated and for certain conditions were shown to be very effective. This is based on the theory that if the muscles of the lumbar spine could control a joint’s movement maybe this would help improve stability and also reduce LBP.

What are the core muscles?

The core muscles are the deepest layer of abdominal muscles beneath your rectus abdominus and your oblique muscles. Their names are trasnversus abdominus and multi fidus and it has been shown that these muscles are delayed in switching on during movement when we have low back pain.

Does core stability work for everyone?

No not necessarily, for general low back pain especially in people who are not physically active or fit, they are better to do a general stretching and strengthening program ( from a physiotherapist or other health professional) to get fitter and stronger. However for people with certain conditions like hyper mobility, spondylolisthesis and some disc bulges it is definitely beneficial to do a specific stabilisation program.

Can I just do pilates at my gym?

Again it depends on the condition causing your pain. If you have no real injuries, then pilates at the gym will be great. If, however you need a tailored program that is monitored in the class, then doing clinical pilates with a physio will give you better results.

At Leap Back Physio we offer 1:1 sessions and group classes. Our classes are run by physios and have a maximum of 4 people and include a mixture of reformer and mat exercises. So if you’re thinking of doing pilates in Melbourne give us a call on (03) 9077 2206.

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