Avenue Clinic

Avenue Clinic

Core Strength and Injury Prevention

What do you ask yourself when you’re told you have a ‘weak core’ and this is why you are in pain.

  • What does having a ‘weak’ core mean?
  • How does poor core stability predispose to injury?

All physical therapists and  personal trainers go on about the importance of core strength and how having a weak core is the cause of your back pain, or how strengthening your core will reduce and prevent injury. But I would go further and say that it doesn’t only affect your back but it affect the mechanics of all movement and can predispose you to other injuries in your knee, ankles e.t.c.

But what is a ‘weak’ core?

And why is it so important?

The ‘core’ is a 3-dimensional space made up of the diaphragm at the top, the abdominal and oblique muscles at the front, the paraspinal muscle and gluteal muscles at the back and the pelvic floor and hip muscles below.
In normal movements, these muscles would contract in a specific sequence to stabilise the body before any movement of the other limbs occurs. For example, before kicking a ball your core muscles will contract before you move your legs to stabilise you and allow for safe movement to occur. As such you could say it if the foundation of safe movement.
Numerous research has shown that athletes with weak core and hip strength are more likely to get injured during the season.

But wait….

Before you start doing those crunches, you need to know that it is not just brute strength that is required.
Research has shown that people with back pain recruit their core muscles differently to those without. So, it is not necessarily your core being weak causing you to get injured, but also about your bodies ability to initiate the contraction of those muscles at the right time.
Before core training is done as rehab or injury prevention, it is essential to first identify where the problem lies;


Is it incorrect recruitment? 
Is it a weakness (lack of stability) ?
Or lack of endurance? 

Training should start by ensuring correct muscle recruitment with exercises such as diaphragmatic breathing, then followed by stabilisation exercises such as the plank before moving on to dynamic work like lunges and squats.
If you’re suffering from back pain, pelvic pain, knee pain etc… It is worth seeing a qualified therapist like an Osteopath or Physiotherapist who can assess you and help develop a treatment plan.
Keep your eyes open for the next blog I will cover go over common mistakes made in core training and outline some simple core exercises.
Reference
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3806175/
https://www.acefitness.org/blog/2906/core-training-for-injury-prevention

 

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"Thank you so much for my Reflexology treatments and particularly yesterday. I walked home quickly and have had no Tinnitus since. After your Reflexology it feels as if I am walking on air."

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