Reduce Back Pain by Strengthening the Core

When it comes to building a home or any other physical structure, it’s fairly easy to understand why it is so important to have a strong, solid foundation. The same principle also applies to the human body. When core muscles and other structural tissues are strong, the human body is fully supported and much more able to perform all the various activities required of it on any given day. This includes even the passive “exercise” of sitting! If you suffer from back pain, there are several possible solutions.

When an individual suffers from weak core muscles, their spine is not properly supported. Over time, weak core muscles can lead to chronic lower back pain or a more serious condition. These can include a bulging disc or a herniated disc, sometimes referred to as a protruding disc. Whether a person is having trouble with pain radiating from spinal issues, or even if they are in fairly good physical shape, strengthening one’s core muscles is a very beneficial activity and definitely worth incorporating into one’s exercise program.

The Anatomy of Core Musculature

It’s important to understand which of the over 600 muscles within the human body are considered core musculature. Upon learning that the core muscles of the human body are the abdominal muscles, all of which are located in front of the spine, it should come as no surprise that they play a significant role in providing a counterbalance for all the muscles directly attached to the spinal column.

Specifically, the abdominal muscles consist of the transverse abdominis, the rectus abdominus, and the left and right obliques. The transverse abdominus muscle comprises the innermost layer of all the abdominal muscles. This muscle stretches all the way from the bottom of the breastbone. It then goes down to the lower part of the pelvic region and wraps around both sides of the waist.

The oblique muscles consist of internal and external oblique muscles extending from the bottom ribs down to the pelvic region. Each internal oblique muscle resides on top of the transverse abdominus muscle. Also, the external obliques reside on top of the internal obliques. Lastly, the rectus abdominus muscles are an exterior layer of muscles beginning near the sternum. They are sometimes referred to as the breastbone and extend all the way to the pubic bone.

Why Activating the Core Helps Relieve Back Pain

Since the core muscles are located in front of or on either side of the spine, they are responsible for providing spinal structural support. Activating or engaging the core muscles enhances the stability needed for almost every physical movement a human being makes. This includes when they are standing, sitting, or engaging in physical activity.

When an individual strengthen their core muscles, they are also strengthening the muscles that assist in bracing the spine. Engaging strong core muscles help protect the lower back muscles.

How Physical Therapy Can Help Back Pain

Strengthening front and side core muscles is just as important to help combat their back weakness as performing traditional back exercises. A professional physical therapist can create a comprehensive program that will address all issues associated with back pain. A physical therapist can introduce exercises designed to address classic core/back issues. This includes exercises such as a posterior pelvic tilt (backward tilted pelvis). Furthermore, they can address other exercises designed to tighten and strengthen core/ stomach muscles.

If you are suffering from back pain or if you need extra help in strengthening your core muscles, we can help. Please contact Cawley Rehab at 570-208-2787 or contact us at: for more information.