Part 1: The Truth About Your Core!

Part 1: The Truth About Your Core!

I know everyone has both heard and used the term CORE before, but do you really know what it is?  When most people think about the word CORE, they tend to think of terms such as 6-pack, abdominals, crunches & sit-ups.  However, from a healthcare perspective, we think of the CORE in a much different fashion.

Your CORE is actually made up of a few different muscle groups that act as a unit to create muscular stability deep within your lumbopelvic region.  The 3 main muscles that make up the “Core” are the transversus abdominis, multifidus and the pelvic floor musculature.  The diaphragm (breathing muscle) is a deep muscle that also helps to contribute to the functioning of the core as an entire unit.

Transversus Abdominis

This muscle is the deepest of the abdominal muscle group.  It runs horizontally around your midsection and functions very much like a corset.  When it contracts it helps to flatten the abdomen and create stability in the low back and pelvis region.  The transversus abdominis is considered an anticipatory muscle, in that it is supposed to activate before gross body movements in order to stabilize and protect the surrounding region from injury.  Back pain, injury/surgery within the abdominal region, as well as the lengthening of the muscle during pregnancy can all affect the proper functioning of this important muscle group.  Therefore, it is imperative to restore the correct activation pattern of this muscle to overcome pain or injury, and/or to prevent future problems from occurring.

Back pain, injury/surgery within the abdominal region, as well as the lengthening of the muscle during pregnancy can all affect the proper functioning of this important muscle group.  Therefore, it is imperative to restore the correct activation pattern of this muscle to overcome pain or injury, and/or to prevent future problems from occurring.

Multifidus

The multifidus muscle consists of numerous short muscles that run throughout the entire length of the spine. The function of the multifidus is to stabilize each joint of the spine segmentally in order to assist in postural stability throughout the day, rather than gross spinal movements.  Keeping these muscles healthy and strong help to promote good posture, a strong core as well as to prevent injury to the structures in the spinal region such as the joints, nerves and discs.

Pelvic Floor

The pelvic floor is the third group of muscles that make up your CORE.  There are numerous different muscles within this region, however, for simplicity, we will explain this region as a single unit.  The pelvic floor sits at the bottom of your pelvis and connects the pubis bone at the front, to the tailbone (coccyx) and sit bones (ischial tuberosities) at the back.  One of its main functions is to support the reproductive organs and bladder.  It also works in conjunction with the transversus abdominus and multifidus in order to stabilize your lumbopelvic region.

I hope you now have a better understanding of the actual muscles that make up your CORE! As you can see its not just ‘abs’ …  Stay tuned for my next blog post, How to properly activate your CORE

If you have any questions specific to this article please contact:

Teresa Agar, MScPT, BHKin
Registered Physiotherapist

Trailside Physio – Coquitlam Clinic

(604)464-5788

 

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