The ‘core’ is an exercise buzzword everyone seems to know even if they have never done an abdominal crunch or a plank in their life. Whether suffering from back pain or just wanting to get back in shape, it is inevitable that you will be searching YouTube for core exercises. One can guarantee you will find planks, bridges, and crunches at the top of the list. Exercises focused on the abdomen and back muscles are the foundation for core exercises. You may come across some people who include the glutes and even the chest muscles as part of the core. Maybe you have been training all these areas, but are still suffering from back pain, joint stiffness, or a lack of strength and mobility. Could there be an area of the body that you overlooked?
Two of the most important parts of the core, the diaphragm and pelvic floor, are the most forgotten and neglected. We breathe 1000s and 1000s of times per day. We need the ability to control our bowel and bladder. That’s pretty important don’t you think? What does breathing and bathroom habits have to do with the core? Our abdomen is part of a pressure system that supports our spine, the other two components are the pelvic floor and diaphragm. These areas of the body work together and act like a hydraulic pump. When one is not functioning properly then the other two must work harder. If two are not functioning, then you have one area working overtime. This can lead to several issues including back pain.
Most people do not breathe well. Posture and stress are two major factors causing poor breathing habits.
There are many people, both men and women, who suffer from pelvic floor dysfunction. Childbirth, pregnancy, obesity, digestive issues like constipation, pelvic surgery, and trauma to the pelvic region are several reasons for a pelvic floor to become weak or in a state of too much tension. Aside from pelvic pain, sexual issues, continence problems, an issue with the pelvic floor can result in back pain.
The diaphragm blends into muscles like the quadratus lumborum and the psoas which attach into the spine. The pelvic floor is in a relationship with the hips and abdomen. These areas are interrelated so when one does not work well, the others will not work properly.
Simply stated, you might not realize that your back pain is not improving with all your exercises because you are missing these two vital areas of your core. Sometimes we do not know whether we are breathing properly or if there is an issue with the muscular control of our pelvic floor without having obvious symptoms.
If your back pain is not resolving, then you might want to talk to an expert like a physical therapist. A physical therapist can figure out if the diaphragm or pelvic floor is part of your core problem and prescribe you the right exercises. Please give us a call if you think you are having a problem in one of these vital areas of your core. Don’t wait for things to get worse when you can start feeling better now.
I'm just a guy helping active adults and athletes frustrated by nagging aches and pains naturally return to a healthy lifestyle.