Motion Stability's Blog


How Can a Weak Core Lead to Back Pain? by charlestlee
Brian Yee PT, MPhty, OCS, FAAOMPT
According to Panjabi’s model, we can view spinal stabiilty based on 3 key elements:

1. Passive Structures: The spinal column itself and the ligaments, fascia and other static tissues that hold it together.

2. Active Structures: The muscles that surround the trunk and pelvis ‘actively’ contract to provide muscle support.

3. Cognitive / Motor Control: The brain has a way to coordinate how muscles will be used to anticipate how the spine is used with functional activities.

The passive structures and the spine itself is limited in its ability to stabilize the spine, especially in dynamic function or prolonged positions such as standing or sitting. The brain thus needs to coordinate the proper timing of muscle contractions and muscle forces to hold the spine together. Without proper muscle control and force the vertebrae of the spine will have increased shearing, torque or compression eventually leading to such things as vertebral degeneration, herniated discs, or other structural issues that may lead to back pain.

The notion of the ‘stronger you are – the better you’ll be’ needs to be carefully considered as it is more important to develop stability in the core that is efficient and properly coordinates with proper movements in your upper and lower body. There are many disciplines out there that teach movement patterning and stabilization, this can include pilates, yoga, functional movement training, feldenkrais, janda approach, and more. Each discipline has their specific methods, while there are also similarities. Please consult a qualified physical therapist or other health practitioner to learn more about proper movement training to stabilize your core.

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Custom Orthotics and Low Back Pain by charlestlee

image source: doctorsorthotics.com

Brian Yee PT, MPhty, OCS, FAAOMPT

The way the foot contacts the ground significantly affects the way your back absorbs compression to the spine. People who are flat foot footed can lead to decreased hip stability and motion. This is due to the foot not being able to provide proper support each time you step or stand on them. Over time the entire leg musculature, most importantly in the gluteal muscles lose their ability to provide proper support. This can lead to increased stress to the back…like jamming your thumb into a wall a thousand times over…you back gets ‘jammed’ or compressed.

Proper orthotic fitting can help the feet be placed in better alignment and thus provide proper support for the rest of the legs and ultimately the spine to be in a more efficient position to function during the day.

You should also consider that the bottom of the feet are highly sensitive with proprioceptive receptors..which detect spacial awareness. If the foot has better sense of its position, typically the rest of the body will also have better proprioception and spatial stability. It is thought that poor proprioception can make people more susceptible to injury. Orthotics can provide better proprioception.

There are many theories of how orthotics should be made. Please consult with various health practitioners to see what their opinions are about the design of the orthoses.