Have you been feeling shaky and off balance lately? The culprit might be a weak core! Having a weak core might make you feel unbalanced, but the good news is that physical therapy can help you strengthen your core and improve your balance as well.
Physical therapy should include core strength training. Your core muscles play an important part in keeping you balanced whether you’re sitting, standing, or sprinting. The muscles in your core assist in anchoring your center of gravity, allowing you to maintain balance.
Are you trying to find a way to improve your balance? If that’s the case, call Integrated Physical Therapy to learn more about how our core strengthening services might help you.
What should I know about my core?
There are two types of core muscles: the inner core and the outer core. The inner core muscles are attached to the spine. These are the muscles that balance the core and hold it in the correct place. The outer core muscles work together with the inner core muscles when you need to rotate your body to perform much of everyday physical activities.
Core stability has to do with the inner core muscles. These muscles are stabilizing for the spine. Core strength relates to the outer core muscles, and when properly formed, works to help you move about with ease. It also helps you keep your balance!
Frequent visits with a licensed physical therapist may be able to help you train your inner and outer core muscles for improved balance and movement!
How are balance and core strength related?
It’s crucial to know where your core muscles are located before you can focus on strengthening them. Many folks mistakenly believe they are working their core muscles when they are actually working their upper abdominal muscles. These muscles are vital for core strength, but they’re not the ones you’re looking for.
Your unique core muscles, as well as the transversus abdominis muscles that make up the “pelvic corset,” are positioned in your pelvis, hips, and lower back.
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 my balance benefit from physical therapy treatments?
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:
- Using 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.
- Practicing 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.
- Slow 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.
Ab workouts. These may include sit-ups, pushups, and crunches. Abdominal exercises help strengthen the abdominal muscles that work with your core.
Regain your balance and strengthen your core with physical therapy
Are issues with your balance hindering your daily life? If so, don’t hesitate to contact us as soon as possible. We’ll provide you with the core strengthening exercises you need to get back on your feet, and feeling better than ever.