Core stability exercises can be helpful for treating lower back pain

Core stability exercises involve training the corset like muscles that sit around your abdomen and spine and give your lower back support. To start with lumbar stabilization exercises usually involve teaching you to find the mid or neutral point between a fully arched back and a fully flattened one.


Many patients I meet have lost the ability to find this useful mid or neutral point and they may be holding their spines in a position that causes them pain. Finding a neutral spine and training the muscles you need to be able to move away and return to it can be a very helpful treatment for some people. This exercise forms the basis of core stability training, more core stabilization exercises for lower back pain can be found here.

back strengthening exercise

Lie on your back with your pelvis in a neutral position. By neutral I mean mid way between flattened onto the floor and arched. You should be comfortable. (If you can't move your pelvis into this position try this exercise for back pain to start with)

  • Tighten your pelvic floor muscles as if you are gently stopping yourself emptying your bladder.

  • Then tighten your lower stomach muscles as if you are drawing your stomach gently to the floor.

This should be a slow controlled movement and you should be able to continue to breathe normally throughout.

Try not to suck your breath in too much or work too hard at this.

Try and hold the contraction for 10 seconds or 10 breaths 10 times in a row. If that is too difficult then do less and build up.

If you can’t manage this exercise at all try this different core stability training starter exercise instead.

Try not to get too focused on the technique of the exercise, finding neutral and getting your stomach muscles working is the key thing here.

Difficulty - Easy

This exercise gets you used to finding a neutral pelvis which is important for the recruitment of transversus abdominis a key core stability muscle and also so you can move into a neutral position in day to day life. Many people have lost the ability to do this.

Get an assessment from your physiotherapist to see if these type of core stability exercises might help you.

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