I don’t know how many times patients come to me and they have been told they have a ” weak core “.
In an article written by Eyal Lederman, he explains how there is a myth around having a weak core. Read it here. I agree wholeheartedly.
The true core of the spine are the intervertebral discs. And to dig even deeper, it is the tissue central in the intervertebral discs called the nucleus pulposus that is the true core.
The nucleus pulposus is a gelatinous structure which is the first physical structure to form in a fetus. From an embryological perspective, the notochord is the first physical structure to form in the developing body. The notochord’s fate is the intervertebral disc and more specifically, the nucleus.
Here is a typical scenario with someone that has low back pain. Often they will come to see me because they have been told that they have a weak core. No tests were usually performed to determine this. They are often instructed to exercise in a way to strengthen core muscles. These popular exercises now have been developed to move in a way to spare or decrease inflammation in the discs of the spine. Some people exercise in a way to improve the functionality and decrease inflammation in their discs (which are often the root cause of their pain to start with) and then report that their backs are better because they are exercising the core when all the while, they have been treating their discs all along.
Weak core muscles are often blamed for low back pain when in fact it is the intervertebral discs and related structures. Watch out for this red herring.