Research has shown that specific core stability exercises can be effective in relieving back pain and restoring normal function. These core stability exercises are most effective for what is called 'mechanical low back pain', where the problem is caused by poor postural habits and the pain resulting from disc problems. Once the correct technique has been mastered these exercises are very easy to do. They are not too vigorous and they can be done by people of all ages.
The principle behind core stability exercise is that if certain specific muscles can be contracted, the spine will have much better support. This prevents postural faults that can predispose a person to back pain.
In order to understand how these exercises are effective it is necessary to have a brief introduction to how the back is supported by muscles. The first muscle we are concerned with is called Transversus Abdominus (TA). This muscle arises from the middle of the tummy and goes right around the midriff, attaching itself to the spine.
The TA muscle acts as a natural corset and provides stability for the lower back.
The second muscle involved in this exercise programme is the Multifidus. This muscle lies deep in the spine and attaches in between each vertebra. When it contracts it increases the stability of the spinal column.
If you can contract the TA muscle, the Multifidus muscle is also contracted automatically. This improves spinal stability and can relieve back pain.