By Physiotherapist, Claire Van Poppel.

Are you referring to the six-pack of abs that I don’t have but can ‘supposedly’ achieve by persisting with numerous sit ups? Not quite…

What does it mean to ‘switch on my core’?You’ve probably heard this term before, whether it be in your local gym, exercise class, by your Doctor or allied health professional. This sentence can be thrown around quite a bit, but what does it actually mean? What you might not know, is that ‘the core’ system refers to 4 different sets of deep muscles, which when activated correctly provide structure, support and control of the lower spine and pelvis. The muscles include the multifidus, transverse abdominis, diaphragm and pelvic floor.

Engaging your core is not something people do consciously, and with a healthy back and pelvis they are often activated without even realising. However, if dysfunction persists or prolonged imbalances are occurring, this can cause your deep core muscles to “de-activate” – removing the structural support of your low back and pelvis. Luckily, we can reteach the activation of these muscles and help you return to your regular movement patterns. Training of the core system aims to optimise tissue loading to prevent any further injury.

What does it mean to ‘switch on my core’?Keep in mind, back pain is generally multi-factorial: meaning it is likely that there are a variety of factors having an influence, and this won’t be the answer for every case.

Prevention is the best cure, so here are 4 tips you can do to activley avoid the onset of pain:

  1. Maintain good posture: Try and sit and stand with a ‘neutral spine’. Be aware of slouching. Sit with your knees slightly higher than your hips.
  2. Stay active: Low impact exercise can help strengthen your back muscles and keep your core active.
  3. Practice correct lifting techniques: Bend with your knees, not your back. Avoid twisting and lifting anything too heavy.
  4. Engage in regular stretching: Help reduce muscle tension

If you think this is you or you want to know more about ‘your core’, email me at claire@bellarinesmc.com.au or to determine what the cause of your back pain is, and if you could benefit from a personalised core activation and strengthening program, book in with one of our allied health practitioners today!