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Core stability and Low Back Pain: Is Spinal Mobility and Structure Enough?

The attractive bald bearded man is holding onto his back, trying to get up from his leather chair. Rich people cry tooIt was a Thursday evening. I had just finished a hectic week at the clinic and TONS of sitting with evening meetings to prepare a men’s prayer group at church. Danielle and the kids were up at the cottage anxiously awaiting my arrival which would take a 2 1/2-hour drive. If I left by 7:00 pm I would be there for the 10:30 pm campfire. As I got out of my car to get into my house my low back seized. I barely made it into the house and then laid down on the hardwood floor in the TV room. I had to call Danielle and tell her that I would not be coming up north. I then spent the next three days on the floor or sofa. From that day forward for the next two years I wrestled with on and off low back pain where I could not drive for more than 1 hour and often could not sit at the dinner table with my family.

I felt vulnerable and defeated. Why was I having low back problems? I’m a chiropractor. I run 5x per week and can run a marathon. I get adjusted once per week. I eat a relatively healthy and clean diet. I had an inkling that it had to do with weak and unstable core muscles, especially in my low back. Although it took two years, I finally introduced a core low back program into my life that I have done faithfully now for almost three years. And guess what …All my low back pain is gone and has been eliminated for five years. I feel strong and would NEVER go back to NOT keeping my core strong.

I see so many clients that are confused, as was I, as to why they get injured when they seem to do the right things. Some people are doing gym workouts with machines AND getting injured. Some people are doing yoga AND getting injured. Some people are doing cross fit style workouts AND getting injured. WHY? At our clinic we do a great job at restoring SEGMENTAL motion in joints of the spine. We also do a great job at giving corrective POSTURAL exercises and seeing good correction of posture over time. The missing link, that I was not realizing was so important, is FUNCTIONAL MOVEMENT!!

Functional movement of any part of your body must come in a certain order. First the joint and muscle of that specific area must have normal flexibility and mobility. This can often be improved with adjustments and releasing tight muscles with foam rollers and lacrosse balls. Next that joint and muscle must be strengthened and then it must be made more powerful. Power involves combining strength WITH movement. In my case I had great segmental movement in my low back. I had great posture and proper curves in my spine. I had good flexibility AND mobility in the muscles and joints in my lower back. I lacked core stability because these muscles did not have enough strength and power to support my lower back and the large demand I placed on it. This missing link of functional movement is so important that we are now investing time and money into tools that can help our patients. Keep posted for future Move Well seminars in our clinic where we will teach you how to assess and exercise your low back for functional problems.

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