Back pain, degenerative joints and disc problems; a new study suggests core stabilization is the key to reducing pain and disability, but is it that simple?

Back pain, degenerative joints, and disc problems; a new study suggests core stabilization is the key to reducing pain and disability but is it that simple? 

It seems like many healthcare practitioners advertise they have the answers to your back problems back pain, degenerative joints, and disc problems. Unfortunately, studies show that most conventional methods do not work, or worse, can cause irreparable harm with surgeries and other procedures done to your back. The problem is, back pain and the degeneration we as doctors see on an x-ray is often the symptom rather than the problem.

The way we move and how we move is adaptive to how we are built, according to the book Cheating Mother Nature, what you need to know to beat chronic pain.   If we are built asymmetrically, we will learn and adapt to our unique body style, often with consequences that can include pain and disability years later.  These problems can be aggravated by sitting and lifting, however, it is how we move that often results in how we feel and function.

When we learn to walk initially, we are all flat-footed, but by the age of 5 or 6 years of age, we are walking more like adults.   We are used to feeling a certain way which is considered normal, but is there a normal, or perhaps, since we are functioning the way we always do without pain which is what we consider normal.   Doctors are trained to ask about our symptoms, and in the case of lower back pain and degeneration, they are trained to evaluate and treat the symptomatic part.  This may be why our record with lower back treatment is often been erratic and often harmful; your back problem may be the tip of the iceberg.

Does this painful area exist by itself or is it affected by the body that surrounds it? Conventional thinking often fails to realize that when our back hurts, it must be our back that is the problem.   What if the back pain and the deconditioned muscles were just a symptom of a larger mechanical problem resulting in poor movement patterns that hurt?  If conventional wisdom were so effective, wouldn’t everyone who had done exercises, taken medication, endured pain management, and had surgery been fixed? The truth is, conventional thinking about lower back pain has failed miserably, while holistic approaches to movement such as tai chi, chiropractic evaluation, and treatment and yoga have not.  Many people have become addicted to Opioids because their doctors managed the symptoms, and failed to evaluate the problem causing the symptom.

When the lower back joints are damaged, it can affect and inhibit the stabilizers in our lower back region, resulting in chronic back pain and degeneration.   This had led to an interest in core stability exercises and regimens which improve how our lower back stabilizes during movement.

According to a recent study in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science, using lower-back stability regimens may reduce pain and disability for those with disc-based problems and degenerative processes. While this confirms what we already know, exercise alone is not sound management, but a piece of the management puzzle.

The core is affected by both the upper and the lower body as well, so a leg or hip or shoulder problem may affect the core and how it stabilizes.  It important to have a holistic evaluation of any person with a lower back problem, since the lower back instability may be the symptom, rather than the actual problem. If we do not look at everything, we are likely to miss hip, shoulder, and other problems that affect how we move.

Comprehensive management of people suffering from lower back pain, disc problems, and sciatic pain should include.

Foot orthotics. – Asymmetries that are structural can be reduced with these devices.

Foot drills and other lower body stability exercises can also help.

Chiropractic manipulation of the lower back will improve how you move by restoring the mobility of joints that are restricted in their ability to move properly.

Myofascial release of the legs and lower back helps to improve movement patterns.

Exercises for the core, legs, and upper extremity affect the effectiveness of the core

Evaluation of abdominal scars to eliminate the possibility of an active scar causing these problems.  Read more about active scars here.