Sedentary work and busy schedules keep many people from getting the amount of exercise that would be ideal for their physical health. Inactivity, combined with injuries, overuse (repetitive motion), and poor posture, can all lead to weak, tight, inflamed muscles. A home program of stretches and simple exercises can help to balance muscle tone and improve function. This is why it’s an important part of healing from any neuromusculoskeletal complaint.
One very common example of a patient who needs rehabilitative exercise is the person who routinely works for hours every day at a computer. Sitting for extended periods can cause tight hip flexors, weak gluteal and core muscles, and low back pain. Chiropractic adjustments can relieve back symptoms, allowing these areas to be strengthened and rehabilitated to prevent recurrence of pain. Otherwise there can be repeated cycles of pain and inflammation due to the combination of postural stress and weakness.
Core strength is one of the most important considerations in preventing back pain and back injury. The core muscles of the abdomen and back are the trunk and pelvic muscles that stabilize the spine and protect it from injury as we move through life. If you’re not engaging in specific core strengthening exercises on a regular basis then these muscles are probably weaker than they should be. This is especially likely if you’re over 40, if you’re a woman who has borne children, or if you’ve had abdominal surgery.
Training the core is not just about strength. It’s also about coordination of the back and abdominal muscles. When called to action these muscles must fire together smoothly. This ensures that the trunk is a stable platform from which shoulder and hip muscles can efficiently generate motion in the upper and lower limbs. The core has an additional function in sports where it is necessary to coordinate complex movements involving energy transfer from the lower body to the upper. An example of this would be going up for a dunk in basketball. Energy is transferred through and by the core muscles and their fascia in order to execute these complex motions efficiently. So in addition to healing and preventing low back pain, increasing core strength can improve athletic performance.
Combining core strengthening with chiropractic adjustments does more than just relieve low back pain. It can help seemingly unrelated areas like neck or shoulder irritation by improving overall posture and spinal stability. Good posture relieves stress on many areas of the body and is much more likely to happen in the absence of pain!
Core strengthening is only one example of the use of therapeutic exercise to assist in the healing process. We are able to recommended helpful stretches and exercises for a wide range of conditions.