A recent study has been able to learn a potential cause of low back pain and has come up with suggestions on how to reduce the pain. “Biomechanical consequences of running with deep core muscle weakness” is the study conducted by Margaret E. Raabe and Ajit M.W. Chaudhari from The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, published in the Journal of Biomechanics on December 2017.

As we grow old, the probability that we suffer from back pain increases. This doesn’t mean that back pain is a pain only for elders but the contrary is the truth, it can affect people at any age. We learn from World Health Organisation bulletin that:

Back pain is not a disease but a constellation of symptoms that usually is acute and self-limited.

According to researchers, the main reason for low back pain is the deep core muscles. Those people, or even runners, who have powerless deep core muscles have increased possibilities of having low back pain. As a matter of fact, the majority of people have weakened deep core muscles and also many athletes may not be aware of the importance of these muscles as a result of focusing more on superficial muscles.

Researchers wanted to observe the role of deep core and superficial muscles so they used a technology which helps in detecting motion and they also evaluated the motion of the muscles. While the person runs, researchers were able to create a computer model by being able to monitor bone movement and also joints applied pressure. Not only this, but researchers were also able to edit aspects of the computer model, like deactivating a given muscle, and monitor the consequences of that edit.

What researchers saw was that even when deep core muscles weren’t activated, the superficial muscles tended to work harder and become tired faster. This means that our body is capable to make it possible for us to run on the same way, even though our deep core muscles are weak. It does it by ascribing the work of deep core muscles to the superficial muscles, causing an excessive load on our spine thus increasing chances of having back pain.

Researchers also point out that there is little information about deep core muscles and misinformation about the core toughness online. Ajit Chaudhari concludes on The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center website that:

  • Working on a six-pack and trying to become a better runner is definitely not the same thing. If you look at great runners, they don’t typically have a six-pack but their muscles are very fit.
  • Static exercises that force you to fire your core and hold your body in place are what’s really going to make you a better runner.