Change Your Core and Change Your Life

By: Dr. Corey Finan DC and Ellen Rossiter, PT

What is the “Core”

The “Core” in human terms is used to describe a series of musculoskeletal tissues that function together to provide a rigid structure by which the torso is able to transmit power from the upper body to the lower body and vice versa. Together they comprise most of the muscles, ligaments, and tendons of the body in some manner.

This area of the body is integral to human movement because in order for an individual to product correct motions and actions (walking, running, throwing, etc) there must be a fixation point on the axial skeleton that can provide stabilizing action for the extremity muscles to move from.

The core muscles are made up of the muscles from the whole back, including deep rotator muscles that stabilize the spine and long muscles that stabilize one’s torso. Of course, everyone has heard of the abdominal muscles too, and their contribution to the core. These include Transverse Abdominus, Rectus Abdominus, and the Abdominal Obliques.

Most people forget this aspect, but there are also muscles from the hip that contribute to the core, including the Psoas and the Adductors in the front, and the Gluteal Muscles and Hamstrings in the back.

Another important group of muscles that play a role are those of the Pelvic Floor which form the bottom of the pelvis and contribute to overall intra-abdominal pressure creation.

Perhaps the most important muscle involved in core control is the Diaphragm.

Functional Stabilization

As you can see, there are many muscles that make up and contribute to the ‘Core’ that we all hear so much about and if one muscle (even part of one, such as with a trigger point) is dysfunctional then the entire stabilizing function is disrupted and the quality of movement is compromised.

So Why Does My Back Hurt and How is it Related to My Core?

Here are a few reasons why one might experience back pain from an issue with the core:

And here are some more specific examples:


 Previous injury



What Can You Do to Ensure a Strong Core?

A great place to start is with your breathing! That diaphragm muscle that we mentioned above is both a muscle of respiration and a postural muscle. Correction of a faulty respiratory pattern is actually integral to the success of any rehabilitation program that aims to address the movement system.

Here is how you might practice and strengthen this muscle and pattern:

It sounds simple but it really can take some practice to ensure you’re doing this right. Once you’ve mastered this first step to building your core, you can move on to more challenging groups of exercises. Did you know that you can book in with your chiropractor or physiotherapist if you think your core is related to your back pain or movement issues? They can assess where you are at and help to build a safe and effective set of exercises to help you change your core, and change your life!

*This blog is not intended to officially establish a physician-patient relationship, to replace the services of a trained physician, naturopathic doctor, physical therapist or chiropractor or otherwise to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.