Core strength training is a powerful and effective part of physical therapy. Your core is comprised of a set of muscles that anchor your center of gravity. This allows you to maintain your constant balance, whether you are moving or standing still. By strengthening your core with physical therapy treatments, you can improve your balance and correct any stability issues you may be facing. To find out more about how our core strength training treatments can benefit you, give Willow Physical Therapy a call today!
How do core muscles affect my balance?
Before you can work on strengthening your core, it is important to understand where your core muscles are located. Many people will be under the impression that they are exercising their core muscles when they are actually exercising their upper abdominal muscles. These are an important part of core strength, but they aren’t the exact muscles you are looking for. Your exclusive core muscles are located in your pelvis, hips, and lower back, along with the transversus abdominis muscles that make up the “pelvic corset.” These core muscles serve as your body’s natural stabilizers, making constant adjustments in response to nerve cells called “proprioceptors,” which give you your sense of spatial awareness. As your core becomes stronger, you will be able to steady your balance much easier. When muscles are weak, it is more difficult to balance yourself from your center of gravity. This increases your risk for falls, and it can affect your arm and upper body movements. Back pain, difficulty in standing up from a seated position, and incontinence may also indicate an unstable core.
How can physical therapy help?
Our practice will provide you with the tools, techniques, and skills required for helping you rebuild your core strength. At your initial evaluation, one of our experienced physical therapists will evaluate your gait and stance, in addition to the function and development of your core muscles. This will help in determining where the weakness is centered and which muscles will need the most strengthening. After your evaluation, our physical therapist will create a specialized treatment plan based on your needs, which could include any of the following treatment services:
- Abdominal exercises. These may include sit-ups, pushups, and crunches. Abdominal exercises help strengthen the abdominal muscles that work with your core.
- Gentle exercises. Depending on the severity of your balance impairment, it may be best to start off slow. Our physical therapist may suggest beginning with gentle and safe exercises, such as leg lifts or pelvic tilts. These types of exercises can help strengthen your back, pelvis, and abdominal core muscles.
- Stability boards. Various types of physical therapy balance boards have a flat surface and a curved underside. Standing on these devices and working to maintain your stability can greatly improve your core balance.
- Tai chi. Tai chi is a slow-motion form of Chinese martial art. The poses and transitions done within this type of treatment can help your body develop the core muscles it needs in order to retain the necessary stability from one move to the next.
If you are experiencing a balance impairment, don’t hesitate to give our office a call today. Schedule a consultation with one of our physical therapists and we will help you get steadily back on your feet as quickly as possible!