engage your core

Engage Your Core: What Does it Mean?

Core mechanics are integral to spinal health

What does your core mean to you? To many people, the core is just a shapeless mass of muscle in the middle of their body. When you tell someone to engage their core, the most common reaction is to flex the muscles of the stomach. But this sells your core short! It is a complex system of muscle groups and learning how to use them properly, and in tandem, is an important insight into how you can use your own body to prevent or manage pain. The core consists of:

  • Transversus abdominis 
  • Multifidus
  • Diaphragm 
  • Pelvic Floor Muscles

Your core corresponds to the lumbar region in your back, which is the spinal segment that takes the most burden, both from body weight and compressive forces. Any reinforcement you can offer it through your core stabilizing muscles is a much needed boon for spinal health! 

How to engage the core effectively

We start by putting our fingers on the transversus abdominis! To do this put two fingers on each hip bone, then move 1 inch toward the belly button and 1 inch down toward the feet. Now engage your core as you see fit. If you do it properly, you should feel a gentle tightening beneath your fingers; anything more indicates that you are cheating, contracting too much and over-compensating with other muscle groups. Now you know what it means to engage the core, you can get more out of any exercise that tells you to do so. 

Using the core to prevent and manage pain

The core muscle groups are a focus for us at Hayes Family Chiropractic. We know that the best way to add stability to the lower back is by strengthening and conditioning the core muscles. If you are interested in using the core to keep your spine in a state of good health, give our office a call to schedule an appointment today. 

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