Back pain affects millions of people A common approach recommended by fitness experts to alleviate back pain is to strengthen the core muscles. However, many find that despite that, their back pain persists or even worsens

The Real Reason Why Strengthening Your Core Isn't Getting Rid of Your Back Pain

Back pain is a prevalent issue that affects millions of people worldwide. One common approach recommended by fitness experts to alleviate back pain is to strengthen the core muscles. However, many individuals find that despite engaging in core-strengthening exercises, their back pain persists or even worsens. In this blog, we will explore the real reason why strengthening your core alone might not be sufficient to get rid of back pain and what other factors could be contributing to this persistent issue.

Why strengthening your core isnt getting rid of your back pain

Understanding the Core and Its Role in Back Pain

The core refers to the complex network of muscles that stabilize the spine and pelvis, including the transverse abdominis, multifidus, pelvic floor muscles, and obliques. Strengthening these muscles is essential as they provide support and improve posture, reducing the strain on the lower back. However, simply focusing on core strength might not address the root cause of your back pain.

Addressing Muscular Imbalances

Why strengthening your core isnt getting rid of your back pain in Sydney

Muscular imbalances occur when certain muscles are stronger or weaker than their counterparts. For instance, if the muscles in the front of your body (hip flexors and chest) are tight and overactive, while the muscles in your back and glutes are weak and underactive, it can lead to excessive stress on the lower back, resulting in pain. A well-rounded exercise routine that targets all muscle groups and promotes balance is crucial for addressing these imbalances.

Importance of Flexibility and Mobility

While core strength is essential, flexibility and mobility play an equally vital role in preventing and managing back pain. Tight muscles, particularly in the hips and hamstrings, can contribute to lower back pain by altering the mechanics of the spine. Incorporating stretching and mobility exercises into your routine can help improve flexibility, reduce tension, and alleviate back pain.

Posture and Body Mechanics

Your daily habits and posture have a profound impact on your back health. Prolonged sitting, improper lifting techniques, and poor posture can all lead to strain on the spine. Despite a strong core, if you consistently maintain poor posture and engage in harmful body mechanics, back pain will likely persist. Being mindful of your posture throughout the day and learning proper lifting techniques can make a significant difference.

The Role of Stress and Mental Health

Stress and mental health can also influence back pain. High levels of stress lead to muscle tension, particularly in the neck, shoulders, and back. Additionally, stress can contribute to poor sleep, which can further exacerbate back pain. Managing stress through relaxation techniques, meditation, and seeking support for mental health issues can help reduce back pain indirectly.

When to Seek Professional Help

If despite your efforts to strengthen your core and address other contributing factors, your back pain persists or worsens, it is essential to seek professional help. A healthcare provider, such as a physiotherapist, can assess your condition comprehensively, identify underlying issues, and create a tailored treatment plan to address your specific needs.

While core strength is undoubtedly important for overall back health, it is not the sole solution to eliminating back pain. Addressing muscular imbalances, improving flexibility and mobility, practicing proper posture and body mechanics, managing stress, and seeking professional help when needed are all crucial components of a holistic approach to dealing with back pain effectively. By combining these elements, you can improve your back health and enjoy a more pain-free and active life.

Activating the core

If only everyone know this our back problems would be history! Before we learn how to activate the core, we need to undertsand what the core is. Lets think of a coke can, the coke can represents the core muscles. When the coke can is empty we can put presure on any part of the can and we can squash it. Now when the can is full and hasnt been ope yet, its impossible to crush or even dent the can.

Now our core is exactly the same, and you might be thinking… how do I get my core to fill like the coke can. The answer is simple but requires some work, we need to fill the core and create the pressure like a coke can with the power of our breathing.

When we breathe correctly our diaphragm pushes down onto our abdomen and pushes all our guts, which is basically a bag of fluid, and increases the pressure of that fluid. That where the core kicks in, to help support our abdomen and everything else in our mid torso the increase in pressure from our diaphragm activate the core!!!

It sounds like magic and really can be when done correctly, in a way that doesn’t need any strength training at all. 

Get our free Core Activation Guide

We have put together our Core activation guide that you can have for free. In this guide we go through all the techniques you need to help activate the core and start right away in protecting and managing your back pain.



Founder of Switch Physiotherapy. We have physio clinics located in Penshurst, Concord & Maroubra that focus on getting people out of pain and moving again.

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