Core fitness. It’s a buzzword that trainers and gyms like to use to garner attention and new clients. You can hardly go to your gym or talk to a trainer without inevitably being exposed to some form of “core” training. Invariably you will find that although the gym or the trainer is very adept at using the term “core” for marketing they rarely truly understand what the core is, how it functions, how it relates to low back and whole spine pain, how to assess the extent of dysfunction, and how to fix it. Additionally most of these trainers and gyms will ignore other contributing systems such as the posterior chain, the proprioceptive system, etc. Here we will take a simplified approach to understanding these issues and how their dysfunction manifests itself and what you can do to improve your condition.
Starting at the easiest way to begin to think of the core is to think of them as a group of muscles which provide support, stiffness and pressure to the spine and its structures. Without this protection from the core muscles the spine and its associated structures would be prone to injury. There is much evidence within modern research which points to a lack of core strength, stability and/or endurance as major factors in low back pain. Throughout the course of our lives, our work, play, and ergonomic decisions as well as acute and chronic injuries when the core is dysfunctional we are more prone to injury, or prone to greater injury.