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Core Exercises are Important

The Role of Core Exercises in Physical Therapy: Strengthening from the Core

 

Physical therapy plays an important role in improving mobility and overall fitness. In physical therapy, core exercises are routinely prescribed to address numerous musculoskeletal problems such as low back pain, osteoarthritis, and pelvic floor dysfunction. These exercises, named "core stability exercises," target the muscles in the pelvis, back, and abdomen and involve a range of movements. Through a range of movements, these exercises aim to improve strength, balance, and stability, hence promoting recovery and preventing the risk of future injuries.

Why Core Exercises Are Important in Physical Therapy:

Our core serves as the basics for nearly all bodily movements. Whether you are lifting a heavy object or bending down to tie your shoes, having a strong core is important for your overall stability and biomechanics. On the other hand, weaknesses and Injuries in the core can cause imbalances leading to increased susceptibility to injuries in other parts of the body. Hence, adding targeted core exercises to physical therapy can provide numerous benefits for patients. 

Improved Stability and Balance

 Core exercises challenge the deep stabilizing muscles of the trunk, facilitating improved balance and better coordination. This is especially important for patients’ individuals recovering from surgeries or injuries that have compromised their stability.

Enhanced Posture

Strong core muscles support proper spine alignment, decreasing the risk of postural abnormalities and chronic back pain. By correcting postural imbalances, core exercises help to long-term spinal health.

Injury Prevention

 Core weaknesses can make individuals vulnerable to various injuries, especially those involving the trunk and extremities. Strengthening of the core muscles reduces the risk of a person getting injuries by making muscles stronger against stresses and strains. 

Examples of Core Exercises in Physical Therapy:

There are different core exercises available to improve stability and increase core strength. Here are some of these examples:

Plank: 

This exercise is performed to strengthen the core muscles, including the muscles of the shoulder, back, and abdomen. To perform this exercise, make a pushup position, with your hands directly below your shoulder and body creating a straight line from head to heels. Contract your core muscles and hold this contraction for at least 20 to 30 seconds. When you are able to easily perform this exercise, increase your contractions to further improve your strength.

 

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Bridge: 

In this exercise, you have to make a bridge with your back, as its name indicates. This exercise mainly targets the hamstrings, gluteus, and back muscles. Start your exercise by lying on your back with knees in a bending position and feet placed flat on the floor. 

 Now lift your hips off the ground until your body creates a straight line from shoulder to knees. During this movement, squeeze your gluteus and contract your core muscles. Try to hold this position for 10 to 15 seconds before lowering your back down. 

Dead Bug:  

Dead Bug exercise not only strengthens your core muscles but also improves stability and coordination. To perform this exercise, you need to lie on your back with arms straight towards the ceiling and your knees bent at a 90-degree angle.

 Now gradually lower one arm over the head while concurrently straightening the opposite leg toward the floor. During this position, keep your lower back in contact with the ground. Now repeat with the opposite side. 

Call To Action

If you are looking to strengthen your core, try these expert-approved core exercises recommended by a physical therapist. Get started today! 

 

Dr. Manuel Arruffat PT DPT CES PES CPT NASM

FMS SFMA

Cert. Dry Needling,  Cert.EPI, Cert EPTE

 

References

Frizziero A, Pellizzon G, Vittadini F, Bigliardi D, Costantino C. Efficacy of core stability in non-specific chronic low back pain. Journal of functional morphology and kinesiology. 2021 Apr 22;6(2):37.

Kim B, Yim J. Core stability and hip exercises improve physical function and activity in patients with nonspecific low back pain: a randomized controlled trial. The Tohoku journal of experimental medicine. 2020;251(3):193-206.



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