Have you ever been told that you need to strengthen your core to fix lower back pain? It’s popular advice, and for some people it’s really successful. But if it’s not working for you, let’s talk about why tons of ab work often does not help lower back pain.
It might be shocking to hear me say that ab work isn’t always the answer, considering that I have been a certified Pilates instructor for 18 years. During that time, I’ve spent a lot of time working with my clients on building their core strength and their abdominal strength. However, I noticed that we might get that client a little bit out of pain temporarily, but over time it would return. The reason why tons of ab work often does not help lower back pain: the position and symmetry of the pelvis.
Asymmetry in the PelviS
Oftentimes when I’m evaluating someone, they have an asymmetry in their pelvis from right to left – one part of the pelvis that might be tipping forward or backward a little bit. (Make sure to watch the video below to see me demonstrate what I’m talking about with my model of a pelvis). When that happens, it can create a lot of tension and pain. Not only this area of the body, because it can also translate up into the spine and down into the leg. We call this a pelvic disparity,
When someone has a pelvic disparity, it’s important that we get them back into symmetry before we build strength around the core to stabilize. You don’t want to stabilize a pelvis that’s asymmetrical, right? That’s a recipe for more pain!
That’s why I’ve changed techniques in my practice – first bring symmetry back by strengthening the glutes and hip flexors, getting symmetry back to the pelvis, and then we do abdominal work to stabilize. This is how my clients have achieved the best results and fixed that lower back pain!
SO if you’ve tried ab work for lower back pain and it’s not helping, I’d encourage you to book a 1-to-1 Posture Therapy session with me so I can evaluate your pelvis. I’ll see if there is an asymmetry there that we can work on fixing before strengthening your core.