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Is Your Weak Core Causing You Back Pain?

By Kylie Herzog - November 3, 2020

Is Your Weak Core Causing You Back Pain?

Have you ever had low back pain that just doesn’t go away or doesn’t seem to get better?
The first thing to look at is how strong and stable your core is.

If you have a weak core, your low back can compensate in order to complete different activities. Keep in mind that your core is not just your “six pack”, it goes all the way around your waist.

When lifting something off the floor while not activating your core, your low back will take over and you could risk a back injury. The most common lift people do wrong without the proper core engagement is a deadlift (a.k.a. picking something up off the floor). A poor deadlift is one that includes a rounded back which is the leading cause for possible strains/sprains in the tissues as well as disc issues. The same thing applies to rotating movements. 

You could also find yourself having back pain with walking. This could happen for many reasons but the most common seems to be excessive pelvic tilt, mostly anteriorly.

What this means is that your back muscles are overactive or tight. This then causes your abdominal muscles to be lax or overly stretched and your front hip muscles to be tight as well. On the other hand, if someone demonstrates an excessive posterior tilt this would mean that their glute muscles and abdominals are going to be tight instead. Low back pain can get complicated as it is one of those things that shows symptoms with a chain reaction down the body. Your low back could be tight due to hamstring, quad or hip flexor tightness which can all be addressed by stretching. 

One other reason that your back could be hurting is if your QL or your hip hiker muscle is overactive and is mostly seen as a “limp” when walking (pictured below).

Someone can also present with a hip hiking compensation walking pattern with other leg injuries; they do this to avoid using the injured area because of the discomfort associated with use. This compensation pattern will lead to back pain and as you can see in the picture it could radiate up into your shoulders as well.

Does any of this sound like it may fit your situation?
Check out this Instagram post for core strengthening exercises and if you still experience back pain, come see us at your local Peak Physical Therpy location so we can help!