Core strength training is an important part of physical therapy. The muscles in your core help in anchoring your center of gravity, which gives you the ability to balance yourself. Whether you’re sitting, standing, or running, your core muscles play an integral role in keeping you balanced.
A weak core can cause you to feel unsteady and imbalanced. Fortunately, physical therapy can help strengthen your core and, as a result, improve your balance.
Are you looking for a way to enhance your balance? If so, contact Empower Physical Therapy today to find out how our core strengthening services can benefit you.
How is balance related to my core?
Before you can work on strengthening your core, it is important to understand where your core muscles are located. Many people will be under the impression that they are exercising their core muscles when they are actually exercising their upper abdominal muscles. These are an important part of core strength, but they aren’t the exact muscles you are looking for. Your exclusive core muscles are located in your pelvis, hips, and lower back, along with the transversus abdominis muscles that make up the “pelvic corset.” These core muscles serve as your body’s natural stabilizers, making constant adjustments in response to nerve cells called “proprioceptors,” which give you your sense of spatial awareness.
As your core becomes stronger, you will be able to steady your balance much easier. When muscles are weak, it is more difficult to balance yourself from your center of gravity. This increases your risk for falls, and it can affect your arm and upper body movements. Back pain, difficulty in standing up from a seated position, and incontinence may also indicate an unstable core.
How can physical therapy help?
Our physical therapists are highly skilled and dedicated to helping you improve your balance through core strengthening. When you arrive for your first appointment, your physical therapist will conduct a comprehensive exam to assess your stance, gait, balance, and core muscles. This will help determine the origin of the weakness and will be the foundation of your treatment plan.
Treatment plans will be designed specifically for you and your individual needs. These plans for balance improvement typically include:
- Abdominal exercises. These may include situps, pushups, and crunches. Abdominal exercises help strengthen the abdominal muscles that work with your core.
- Gentle exercises. Depending on the severity of your balance impairment, it may be best to start off slow. Your physical therapist may suggest beginning with gentle and safe exercises, such as leg lifts or pelvic tilts. These types of exercises can help strengthen your back, pelvic, and abdominal core muscles.
- Stability boards. Various types of physical therapy balance boards have a flat surface and a curved underside. Standing on these devices and working to maintain your stability can greatly improve your core balance.
- Tai chi. Tai chi is a slow-motion form of Chinese martial art. The poses and transitions done within this type of treatment can help your body develop the core muscles it needs in order to retain the necessary stability from one move to the next.
Are issues with your balance hindering your daily life? If so, don’t hesitate to contact us at our Anchorage or Wasilla, AK locations as soon as possible. We’ll provide you with the core strengthening exercises you need to get back on your feet!