Core stability training generally refers to exercises that target the lumbar spine and pelvic region. To get the most out of your core stability training, we must understand the anatomy of the area. The key muscles which need to be considered during core stability training include:

5 Key Muscles

1. Transversus abdominis (TA)

2. Internal oblique (IO)

3. External oblique (EO) muscles

4. Pelvic floor musculature

5. Lumbar multifidus

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            Source: http://lifestylephysio.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/core-muscles.jpg

Low back pain (LBP) can be a common occurrence for athletes and sedentary people alike. Following a bout of LBP, many people will undertake a “core strengthening program” in order to help manage their symptoms or prevent a recurrence of their pain.

Just like any other exercise program, it is important to target specific deficits in muscle activation or movement patterns, and integrate this into your daily function or chosen sport.

Your TA is the deepest layer of the abdominal wall and wraps around the abdomen, acting like a corset when it contracts. Past research has shown us that your TA activates prior to the initiation of movement of the arms or legs. Following low back pain, abdominal surgery, or pregnancy this pre-activation of your TA may be delayed or even absent. In order to maximise the benefits of your core stability training after a period of LBP, it is important that you are able to consciously activate your TA. In order to assist with the assessment of your TA function, and in the early stages of rehabilitation of your TA function, real-time diagnostic ultrasound may be beneficial.
As you can see in the pictures below, real-time ultrasound can be used to give you immediate feedback on the quality of TA activation when performing core stability exercises. As with learning any new skill, this visual feedback can help to improve the quality of the muscle activation pattern and reinforce the correct technique.

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Source: http://physioworks.com.au/images/Treatments/ultrasound.scanner10.jpg

The use of real-time ultrasound for assessment and rehabilitation of your “core” muscle function is a great first step when rehabilitating from a bout of low back pain. Not only used following periods of low back pain, frequent ultrasound scanning of TA and pelvic floor function is used by many professional athletes and sporting clubs, even if the athlete is asymptomatic.

Physiotherapists at Complete Sports Care are trained in the use of real-time diagnostic ultrasound for the assessment of your TA function, and can help develop a rehabilitation program that is specific to your sporting or daily activity needs.