Low Back Pain and How to Fix it – Part 2: Low Back Pain and Core CONTROL


Did you catch it? In the sub-title? Core control NOT core strength. You have heard endlessly about core strength, but research shows it’s actually core control that is more important than core strength.

back pain
Low back pain

Think about it. If it were core strength, shouldn’t my ten year old nephew have more back pain than I do? Surely as an adult I have more core strength than a preteen. Of course almost all healthy adults will have more core strength than a ten year old. What’s the difference than? This young boy is running and jumping and moving around all day. His body is constantly being challenged to control his movements and therefore is finely tuned to doing so. Most adults, though, sit at an office all day and then watch Seinfeld all night. That doesn’t challenge the system to stabilize body and therefore becomes ill-equipped to do so when necessary.

To be good at anything it takes repetition. The less active we get, the less our bodies are ready to handle and adverse situation. The core is important, I don’t mean to brush it aside, but instead of doing 5000 sit-ups, let’s work on it being stable as we move our limbs.

When we can’t control our movements, the body defaults to moving until the joint stops and then using that as “stability.” The joints in our body don’t like to hang out at their end-range. Think about the electrician that is wiring above his head all day. The back joints, arms, and core should all be sharing that extended motion. A large percentage of the time though, the core turns off and jams the low back joints as a result.

So we’ll start off with a simple exercise. I call it the 90/90 exercise. You’ll start off lying on your back with a strap, belt or bed sheet under your low back (the strap is for cuing purposes). Now bring the hips up until the thigh is perpendicular to the floor. The shins should be perpendicular to the thighs. At this point you want to press your low back against the ground. Firm enough that you can’t pull the strap out from under your low back.

Back exercise

Once you’re in that position, the fun begins. Maintaining that pressure with your low back on the ground, slowly touch one heel to the ground (the closer your heel is to your buttocks, the easier it will be). Once your heel touches the ground bring it back to the starting position and repeat with the opposite foot. Don’t forget about that strap! The whole time you are doing these heel touches, pull with a constant pressure on that strap. If you lose your low back pressure, the strap will slide out. Make sure you are breathing the whole throughout the exercise. We don’t want you to pass out. Alternate touching heels until you are unable to maintain the low back pressure.

If these exercises haven’t fully resolved your issue, or you know someone that might benefit from our services, be sure to schedule from our website www.activehealthKC.com or call 913-341-1200.