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Core vs. Posture Rehabilitation

When you ask most people about back exercises they bring up core strength and core stability and how it is the balance between abdominal strength and back strength that is important. This is the basic concept taught in exercise training at local gyms, Pilate’s classes, and most physical therapy centers.

The truth will surprise you as it did me when I discovered there was a better way to rehabilitate the spine. The muscles in your trunk are divided into two components. The first are the the CORE MUSCLES and the second are the POSTURE. MUSCLES.

The core muscles are the ones that have attachments to the spine. They are involved in small movement and stability of the spinal segments and therefore are not very big. Some of these core muscles can be as small as ½ inch but they provide an extremely important function.

When there is a condition that cause back pain or dysfunction such as a herniated disc, disc bulge or stenosis the nerves that exit the spine become inflamed. They send signals to these small muscles and they begin to contract causing spasm at the core level. This renders the core muscles virtually useless and then prevents normal motion of the spinal segments setting up a condition of hypomobility or lack of motion. This lack of motion sets up the deposition of calcium in the area known as arthritis.

When the body senses lack of motion to a part it will automatically lay calcium down t protect the joint. So now we have a spine that is inflamed, not moving well, and now subjected to calcium buildup on the joints.

Normal rehabilitation focuses on posture muscles which are the big muscles of the trunk, the abdominals, obliques, and big erector muscles of the back.
The goal is to get the spine moving and the concepts is quite correct but remember the core is basically paralyzed with spasm and forcing the core to move will only cause more pain and inflammation.

Our principles in this office is: CORE FIRST THEN POSTURE!

We use the ACTIVE THERAPEUTIC MOVEMENT MACHINE for our core strengthening process. This unique machine uses you own strength to create movement in the spine by activating the core muscles. Basically we disengage your postural musculature and activate the core. In a few short treatments the pain level reduces the core starts to move and the inflammation is reduced.

Once the core is moving we then can focus on the postural muscles using traditional exercises to strengthen the abdomen, back, legs and neck. Our physical therapists use exercise balls, Bosu Balls, balance equipment, Therabands, floor exercise, and other equipment to accomplish their tailor made program of rehab.