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The Common Core

Core strength is critical for everyday activities such as placing heavy grocery bags into the trunk of your automobile, carrying a gallon jug of milk from the refrigerator to the dining room table, and even walking to the mailbox. When your core strength is diminished, even bending over to pick up a pencil may result in a serious spinal injury. Weakened core musculature causes simple, daily physical activities to be problematic. When standing up from a seated position or getting into a car causes you to experience twinges in your back, you may be sure your core muscles are not working in the manner for which they were designed.

Your core muscles consist of the four abdominal muscles – the transversus abdominis, internal obliques, external obliques, and rectus abdominis – and back muscles such as the erector spinae, longissimus thoracis, and multifidi. The most important core muscle may be the transversus abdominis, a sheet of horizontally oriented muscle that lies underneath the other abdominal muscles and provides deep mechanical support to the low back and pelvis. Similarly important are the multifidi, a group of small, powerful, deep spinal muscles that interconnect pairs and series of vertebras.

In times past, when the concept of work meant actual physical labor, there was no need to pay attention to training the core. In those days, your core muscles were being trained all day long by lifting, carrying, pushing, and pulling loads with heavy resistances and/or bending, digging, hoeing, planting, and raking. Working on a farm or in a factory provided more than sufficient exercise for the core. But in today's developed world, farming and manufacturing jobs have been greatly reduced and the large majority of work is done in the so-called service sector. In the 21st century, people living in developed nations spend the largest portion of their day sitting at a desk. In such circumstances the core musculature will weaken drastically, unless specific attention is paid to training these muscles.1,2

The good news is that a wide variety of exercises are available for training the core. Most of them require no equipment. Many of them may be done at home and do not even require a gym membership. For example, yoga provides thorough and complete exercise for core muscles. Self-motivated persons might only need a yoga DVD and a yoga mat, minimizing financial cost and doing their yoga training at home. For others, taking yoga classes at a gym or yoga center might be more appropriate. But yoga is only one possible solution. Numerous highly efficient core exercises may be done on a physioball. Dynamic exercises such as the plank provide substantial core benefit and the only equipment requirement is a mat. Other dynamic exercises include squats, gluteus bridge, lunges, jumping jacks, and the grapevine.

When you spend the time to make sure your core musculature is strong, daily physical activities begin to be done with ease and grace. Back pain and other mechanical aches and injuries fade into memory.3 The overall result is a body that works efficiently and optimally. Thus, a strong core helps provide for a lifetime of health and well-being.


1Kumar T, et al: Efficacy of core muscle strengthening exercise in chronic low back pain patients. J Back Musculoskel Rehabil 2014 Dec 2. [Epub ahead of print]
2Granacher U, et al: Effects of core instability strength training on trunk muscle strength, spinal mobility, dynamic balance and functional mobility in older adults. Gerontology 59(2):105-113, 2013
3Huxel Bliven KC, Anderson BE: Core stability training for injury prevention. Sports Health 5(6):514-522, 2013

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  • "I can't believe how professional, efficient, and effective the entire staff is at CHAWC. I am out and on my way to work in a short time, while achieving maximum results."
    Jodie Richmond, VA
  • "Dr. Jo has been such a blessing and resource for my health and my back. I have been doing chiropractic for about 15 years, and Dr. Jo's treatments and home therapies have seriously changed my life and my back and neck in the past year. I am in awe of how much better I feel overall and so appreciate their dedication to my health and well-being!"
    Joy
  • ""I have suffered from lower back and sciatica pain for over two years now. Prior to my visit to this practice, I have been x-rayed, tested, MRI, countless specialists visits and not to mention the costs associated with all of that. I have been in chiropractors' offices before and they usually adjust my back and the pain decrease for a day or two but never goes away. Dr. Cally was thorough, knowledgeable in her specialty, and kind. Although, I was skeptical at first but, Dr. Cally's knowledge put me at ease. Needless to say, now I am pain free. Not only she is good with her patients but once you walk-in that office you will feel the good vibe from her staff (happy employee means happy customer), which tells me she is treating her staff good as well. Thank you, Dr. Cally for all you do. You and your practice are hard to find these days. Keep up the good work.""
    Dr. Beygatt, PhD
  • "I can't say enough good things about Dr. Jo and the rest of the staff. I've never enjoyed a medical treatment so much. Every time I come in, I feel like I'm seeing good friends. Chiropractic Care has changed my life for the better, and I believe the philosophy at CHAWC has been key to my success. I have recommended CHAWC to many and will continue to do so!"
    Sunni
  • ""Dr. Cally Parks has so greatly impacted my overall well being! Her thorough and compassionate care has lead me to feeling my best. I highly recommend her to anyone with any back or hip pain.""
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