For most Americans low back pain is a common occurrence. Fortunately for most, it often short-lived and causes little interference with daily activities. For others, pain in the lower back can be quite disabling, interfering with work, exercise and even simple chores like cleaning up around the house. Many of these people end up in pain management in the Phoenix Metro area. Treatments for pain in the lower back include epidural and joint (facet) injections, medications and physical therapy. Over the past several years the term “core strengthening” has made it into the vernacular of of both the fitness and healthcare industries. Is core strengthening effective? What does the medical research on low back pain and pain management tell us about strengthening our core? The medical literature on what most people are taught in physical therapy for back pain in Phoenix and other cities around the country does in fact strengthen the “core” but often times it does not focus enough on the most important of the back muscles as it relates to pain. These muscles are know as the Multifidi. They are the small deep back muscles that help control the finer movements and stability of the spine. In chronic low back pain sufferers, it has been shown that these little muscles lose strength very quickly and are difficult to build back up. The same thing happens to another small muscle called the VMO or Vastus Medialis in those with chronic knee pain. Low back exercises that focus on these muscles can help improve the stability and muscular control of the spine and aid in the lessening of chronic pain. Please view these two links to learn more about these exercises.
Please consult your physician prior to performing these exercise to make sure they are appropriate and fit into your pain management program.