Spinal Stability Training: What Is Core Stability?
The spine is one of the most complex structures in our body. There are many muscles, ligaments, bones and other soft tissues that work together to support the spine. These structures all have their own purpose and function, but they do so in concert with each other to keep us safe from injury. When these systems fail or become dysfunctional, it can lead to various health problems such as back pain or even death!
In order to maintain good spinal health, it is important to strengthen the supporting structures of the spine. One way of doing this is through strengthening the muscles and ligaments that stabilize them.
Another method involves using devices called “core stabilizers” which are designed specifically to improve spinal stability. Core stabilizers include things like foam rollers, crutches, braces and even special exercise machines that use your body weight as resistance (like those found at chiropractic offices).
Core stability exercises are very popular because they are relatively easy to perform and can provide immediate results. They also tend to be inexpensive, making them a great option for anyone looking to build up their strength and flexibility.
What Are Core Stabilizers?
A core stabilizer is any device used to assist in maintaining proper alignment of the spine while performing activities such as walking, standing or sitting down. This can also include activities such as lifting objects or even just sitting at a desk. They are designed to provide support, but also to maintain a certain set of movements in order to protect the spine from potential injury.
For example, if you were to reach for a heavy object off the floor, your body would naturally want to bend at the hips in order to pick it up. With a normal spine there is no problem doing this.
However, if you have back problems, you might have some difficulty lifting the object without bending your back. In this case, it would be helpful to have a “core stabilizer” to assist you in moving the object off the floor. A commonly used device for this is called a box lifter or Handy Andy.
Another example of a core stabilizer is something called a belt. Belts are commonly used by people who work with their hands a lot such as construction workers or even chefs.
A belt is designed to go around your waist and provide extra support to your back when you bend forward. It prevents the natural tendency of the back to bend and reduces strain on the muscles and ligaments.
A lumbar support (sometimes referred to as a lumbar roll) is another example of a type of core stabilizer. A lumbar support is designed to provide extra support to the small of your back.
It is similar to a small inflatable pillow that you can place in the small of your back while sitting down.
There are many different types of core stabilizers, and more continue to be developed all the time. It is important to discuss the use of core stabilizers with a health care professional before beginning any new exercise routine or rehabilitation program.
Why Use Them?
As was just mentioned, core stabilizers can be very beneficial for people who already have back problems. They assist in everyday activities and are designed to prevent the spine from bending or twisting in ways that might lead to injury or re-injury. Using core stabilizers can help promote healing of injured or weak back muscles.
However, they can also be beneficial for people who do not have any sort of back problems. They can provide extra support for the spine during everyday activities and can help strengthen muscles that are not used all that often.
This can help to reduce the risk of injury during physical activity and provide more stability and support during sports or other vigorous physical activity.
How Are They Used?
As was just mentioned, core stabilizers are used to provide extra support for the spine. They can be used during a variety of different activities including work, sports and even just everyday tasks such as lifting or bending.
The specific activity for which the core stabilizer is being used should be considered when using one. For example, a back brace (as mentioned earlier) would not be very helpful while playing golf since there is very little twisting or rotation of the spine involved in the golf swing.
However, such a brace would be very useful for activities that require a great deal of bending, such as working on a construction site.
Other examples of activities for which core stabilizers can be used include: lifting, bending, twisting, rowing, and even running.
You should discuss the use of core stabilizers with your health care professional or physical therapist before starting any sort of exercise program.
Do They Work?
There is a lot of debate about whether or not core stabilizers actually do what they are supposed to do. In many cases, you can achieve a similar result by just using the right exercises for your back. For example, you could perform barbell deadlifts in order to build up and strengthen the muscles in your lower back. Many professionals believe that core stabilizers are just a gimmick used by the medical supply industry to make more money.
However, it is probably better to be safe than sorry and using something like a back brace may very well prevent an injury from happening during certain types of physical activity.
Sources & references used in this article:
Core strengthening by V Akuthota, SF Nadler – Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation, 2004 – Elsevier
Randomized controlled trial of specific spinal stabilization exercises and conventional physiotherapy for recurrent low back pain by MC Cairns, NE Foster, C Wright – Spine, 2006 – journals.lww.com
Effectiveness of the core stabilisation exercise on floor and Swiss ball on individual with non-Specific low back pain by EY Rajan Balakrishnan, MFB Mahat – International Journal of …, 2016 – kheljournal.com
Core and lumbopelvic stabilization in runners by CE Rivera – Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics, 2016 – pmr.theclinics.com
The importance of sensory-motor control in providing core stability by J Borghuis, AL Hof, KAPM Lemmink – Sports medicine, 2008 – Springer
Rehabilitation of the spine: a practitioner’s manual by C Liebenson – 2007 – books.google.com
A core stabilization training program for tennis athletes by KM Samson, MA Sandrey… – … Journal of Athletic …, 2007 – journals.humankinetics.com
The myth of core stability by E Lederman – Journal of bodywork and movement therapies, 2010 – Elsevier