If you have back pain, you are not alone. Back pain is common in all age groups and fitness levels. Perhaps you’ve heard that strengthening your core can help relieve back pain, so taking a Pilates class or doing daily planks. Both are great, but most people only focus on the transversalis muscles – the deep muscle tissue at the front of your abdomen.
That’s an essential part of strengthening your core, but not the whole story. The back muscles – particularly the multifidus muscles – are an integral part of our essence that is often overlooked. The key to get rid of back pain, prevent injury from exercise or sport, and have a more powerful body, is to strengthen the muscles on all sides of the spine – or as I like to call it, its hidden core.
Although I am a neurosurgeon, I focus on non-invasive solutions for people dealing with back pain. In my book, End of pain, access your Hidden Core heal your body, I write about how we can build a better back, and that’s what I’ll share with you here.
Fortunately, our culture is making a slow change of treating disease to promoting health through prevention. Core strengthening structures can protect the back. This approach is a bit generalized, but can serve as a base for all kinds of sports and exercise.
How to Build Your Core
1. Emphasize the posterior core.
Most of us started with relatively more strength in the abdominal muscles in the back muscles. The core is a set of muscles that wrap around the body. The muscles that are behind us – what I call the hidden core – To become the most important and should be overworked on the principle of creating greater symmetry.
2. Emphasize endurance over power.
Core training should start with high reps to build endurance. This focuses on mainly slow twitch muscles that are responsible for posture and stability. The table and bird-dog exercises illustrated in my book do progressively periods of increasingly longer time.
3. Emphasize strength over stretching.
Many therapists focus on stretching to help with back pain, but excessive stretching compared with building can create vulnerabilities. Strengthen the first and once there is a baseline of strength, add stretching.
4. Understand the difference between bending the back and hip-hinging.
The understanding and application of this concept is essential. Awareness begins with the understanding that while back bends, you have a choice between doubling back and perform the same task with a straight back and closed by turning the pelvis forward (hip hinge). Hip-joint is much safer. As you gain technique to flex and strength to sustain it, get back protector.
5. Exercises should be designed to functionally use multiple muscle groups simultaneously.
This is called neuromuscular training. The idea is to train movements, not muscles. The burpee and the Turkish get-up is illustrated in my book are two exercises that require several simultaneous actions that functionally strengthen the core.
6. Exercises should be done standing or occasionally on one leg at a time.
This improves balance. This concept can be seen in many forms of yoga. Improve balance will also prevent injuries.
7. Using exercise to improve in several areas.
Exercise should not only focus on building strength, but also improving the shape and posture.
Benefits of a Strong hidden Core
- Starting with the core is essential, because it holds the nervous system, of course, is the real enabler of all sports.
- Strengthening the core will maximize their power in the arms and legs.
- Construction of the plant will have the strongest effect on aesthetic appearance.
Unfortunately, injuries will always be a part of sports. The two most commonly encountered injuries behind sports are the herniated disc and spondylolysis, both of which can be avoided in part to a strong core, neuromuscular and balance training, and an emphasis on form and posture during training.
Pushing your body to the limit is natural for athletes and fitness enthusiasts many, but with a strong hidden core, which greatly reduce the risk of injury, and you can make your body a more powerful tool in their sport or the exercise of the option. Its real strength is not measured by how much you can bench press, but on the strength of its core – especially those hidden in your back muscles.