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Work Out Regularly But Still Experience Back Pain?

Dipti Kosadia, BPTh, M.Sc Neurorehabilitation, RPT - Registered Physiotherapist

back pain at the gym

“Hey Physio, I work out five times a week doing weights and cardio alternately. My back still hurts. What can it be? Do others have this issue?”

Most of us have experienced it but no one really pays attention to it. People assume since they work out regularly, they shouldn’t have back pain. They often wonder what they are doing wrong, or what they are missing from their routine. The missing element here is the core. Yes, you can exercise your core!

So, what comprises the core? Your core forms the central piece of your posture. It consists of abdomen muscles (front & sides), muscles of the back region and your pelvic floor muscles. These muscles form a socket to support the upper and lower extremities and hence, it is extremely important to strengthen them. Core muscles stabilize your body and allow you to move in various directions, as well as provide sufficient balance to maintain an erect posture.

Your core is a complex box which consists of four sides. Therefore, it is not just about building six pack abs. Doing traditional sit-ups or abdominal crunches only will put tremendous pressure on your spine/backbone, as well other parts of the core. When we start our strength training, it is important to activate each of its sides. Do you remember exercising all sides of your core? It should be our number one priority in our strength training program as everything else branches from it.

Core strength is required in different forms by different people. Athletes require a good amount of core strength as they must maintain high endurance in their play. Women who are pregnant require ample amount of strength as they must bear the weight of the fetus for 40-42 weeks. Different life stages also demand different levels of core strength. Kids, as soon as they start mobilizing, require ample amount of core strength to train their balance and proprioceptive sense. Elderly people require less activation of core fibers as there is loss of muscle and bone mass. Therefore, core exercises must be properly assessed and tailored according to each individual’s need. A Registered Physiotherapist can assist in making sure you have the program that’s right for you.

Core exercises do not necessarily require big fancy machines. Even tucking in your belly button lightly while working on the computer activates many deep fibres of core muscles. Of course, continuous breathing is always important as it is the oxygen supplying mechanism.

To conclude, everyone requires a good amount of core strength to avoid having problems with their back. Poor core strength leads to tightness of the leg and arm muscles, stiffness of the back, constant pressure on the back and weak endurance to maintain certain postures for a long period of time. Therefore, it is important to activate each side of the core muscles and build its strength.

Set-up an appointment or free consultation with Dipti, our Physiotherapist, and learn more about the core strengthen program that’s right for you! Contact Wellness for the Body at 905.465.4595 or book online at

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