core stability important

Why Is Core Stability So Important?

These days, in the world of exercise, there’s lots of talk about your core and core stability. But exactly what is your core and why is stability so important?

Think of the core as the power centre of your body. It’s comprised of your abdominal (stomach) muscles and back muscles, including the muscles along the spine, as well as your hips and pelvis muscles. Almost any motion you make is generated from your core, and if it is weak – i.e., unstable – your other muscles need to pitch in to compensate, making you more vulnerable to injury.

The Benefits of Core Stability & Strength

By strengthening your core, you improve the power of every move you make, including any motion involving your arms or legs. A strong core also gives you stability and improves your balance, allowing you to more easily prevent falls or injuries during your activities – both in sports and your daily routine. It also helps prevent debilitating back pain or help to relieve it. In fact, core stability underpins almost any activity you undertake, including:

  • Everyday activities. Standing still, bending to tie your shoes or looking over your shoulder aren’t actions you immediately associate with your core, until it becomes painful to do them. The basic activities that make up daily life, such as sitting, bathing or dressing, all involve your core.
  • On-the-job tasks. Functioning well on the job requires good core strength, whether you’re sitting at a computer all day or working at a more obviously physical job that involves lifting, reaching and twisting. Good core strength makes it possible to do these tasks pain free.
  • Household chores. Everything from vacuuming to hammering requires movements such as bending, twisting and reaching – all motions that involve your core.
  • Sports. A strong core gives you the power to undertake sports such as tennis, swimming, cycling and running; it also gives you the power and flexibility to enjoy “bed sport” or sexual activities.

If your core is weak, tight or unbalanced, it makes these activities much more challenging.

Signs of a Weak Core

If you’re wondering whether your core might need some attention, here are six indications that a course of strengthening exercises might be wise:

  • Poor posture. If you find it challenging to stand up straight or slump in your chair, your core might be too weak to keep you upright.
  • Bad balance. The muscles in your core are key to balance, so if you find yourself tipping or struggling to stay upright, it’s time for improvement.
  • Lower back pain. If you have aches or pains in your back after sitting or standing for a while, it may point to a weak core.
  • Shortness of breath. Your outer core muscles help to support your diaphragm, which controls your breathing. A weak core can cause you to slouch and make breathing tougher.
  • Lack of endurance while standing. If you feel pain in your appendages or lower back after being on your feet for a while, it may point to the need for a stronger core to support you.
  • Body weakness. Given that the core is the heart of your muscular system, if you feel weak all over your body, it may mean your core isn’t strong enough.

Building Up Your Core

Now that you understand how important your core is to overall health, it’s time to consider strengthening it. There are excellent benefits to be obtained from improving core strength:

  • Injury prevention
  • Pain reduction
  • Managing and reducing pain
  • Improved balance and stability
  • Ease in undertaking daily tasks.

Yoga is one of the best exercises you can do to improve overall core strength, as is Pilates; both regimens can be adjusted to suit your level of physical fitness and strength.

There are also some exercises that you can do at home to get started, Including:

  • Seated side bends require you to sit in a chair with your feet flat. Put one hand behind your head and reach the other toward the floor. Bend forward to touch the floor, tightening your oblique (side) muscles. Repeat on the other side.
  • Leg lifts require lying flat on the floor with your legs and feet relaxed. Lift one leg off the floor and contract your abdominal muscles, holding the lift for three counts. Repeat with the other leg.

These exercises will start you on the path to core stability. However, it is worth visiting a physiotherapist to obtain an evaluation of your core strength, get a program tailored to your level of fitness and learn to do exercises using proper form.


Physiotherapy for pain management

Physiotherapy for Pain Management

Usually, the last thing you want to do when you’re in pain is move. It feels much more comfortable to take a painkiller and sit still so the pain seems less. However, sitting still may be the worst thing you can do if you have chronic pain because it causes you to become weaker in the long term. That’s where physiotherapy comes in.

Physiotherapy for Pain Management

Physiotherapists specialize in teaching you how to move in ways that are safe, yet functional, so you don’t lose body strength. Physiotherapy is effective for pain due to osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, and neuropathic pain (caused by injured nerves or tissues). Physiotherapy works for pain that affects the knees, neck, head, back, and shoulders. It works for both acute and chronic pain (pain you’ve had for more than 3 months).

Pain Management Treatment Options

Physiotherapists offer a variety of treatments that may include:

  • movement therapy and corrective exercise, such as treadmill walking or walking in a swimming pool;
  • massage;
  • bone and joint manipulation and mobilization;
  • acupuncture;
  • manual therapy and stretching using the hands and tools on soft tissue;
  • electrotherapy, such as TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation);
  • posture awareness and correction or improvement;
  • cold or heat packs;
  • cold laser therapy, which reduces inflammation and pain by releasing endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers;
  • help with understanding the cause of your pain;
  • education and advice on how to manage pain while doing daily activities;
  • breathing, relaxation, and mindfulness; and
  • self-management strategies on pacing, sleep, and stress.
  • movement therapy and corrective exercise, such as treadmill walking or walking in a swimming pool;
  • massage;
  • bone and joint manipulation and mobilization;
  • acupuncture;
  • manual therapy and stretching using the hands and tools on soft tissue;
  • electrotherapy, such as TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation);
  • posture awareness and correction or improvement;
  • cold or heat packs;
  • cold laser therapy, which reduces inflammation and pain by releasing endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers;
  • help with understanding the cause of your pain;
  • education and advice on how to manage pain while doing daily activities;
  • breathing, relaxation, and mindfulness; and
  • self-management strategies on pacing, sleep, and stress.

How Does Physiotherapy Help With Pain?

Physiotherapists work with patients individually to pinpoint and understand each patient’s pain and what caused it. Before deciding on a treatment plan, a physiotherapist will do a thorough assessment of your pain situation. They will choose a certain therapy or therapies based on the degree and nature of your pain as well as on your physical ability. They will then determine how best to manage your pain.

The advantage of seeing a physiotherapist for pain management is that they are able to spend time with you to ask questions, discuss your pain issues with you, and obtain feedback from you while you do your exercise routine, something that regular doctors may not have time for.

What Results Can I Expect?

If you do your prescribed exercises three-to-four days each week for 30 minutes a day, your chronic pain will improve because you’ll have:

  • increased muscle strength;
  • greater joint stability;
  • more endurance; and
  • more flexible joints and muscles.

Consistency Is Important

It’s important to be consistent with your exercise routine. Regular exercise not only helps you to maintain your ability to move and function, it also helps your body to heal itself by increasing endorphins, your body’s natural pain-relieving chemicals.

The more you move, the less pain you’ll have in the long term. This is essential. It is important to understand that, ultimately, you have to do the work if you want to feel better. A physiotherapist can only guide you to a faster and more complete recovery.

With the help of a physiotherapist, you will learn how to exercise safely to accommodate your pain. As a result, you’ll be able to function better on a daily basis.

Pain Management Is A Team Effort

A physiotherapist is an invaluable member of your healthcare team when it comes to pain management. You may also need a regular physician, in case you need medication to help manage your pain, and a clinical psychologist to help you deal with your pain better on a mental-emotional level.

If you’re in chronic pain, seeing a physiotherapist as a member of your healthcare team will reduce your pain levels and improve your quality of life.


post-operative rehab physiotherapy

What Is Post-Operative Rehab Physiotherapy?

Surgery is not something to take lightly, because it places stress on your entire body: not only on the bones, muscles and soft tissue involved, but also on the heart, the lungs, the circulatory system and other organs.

Problems that may arise following various types of surgery include issues with balance and posture; breathing difficulties; loss of sensation; weakness; reduced lung function; blood clots; and incontinence.

Given the impact, it’s not surprising that your body needs time to recover its strength and stamina, as well as its mobility. In order to give your body the best opportunity to adjust to the demands of surgery and achieve the results you envision, you’ll want to take advantage of post-operative rehab physiotherapy.

Benefits of Post-Operative Rehab Physiotherapy

A licensed physiotherapist will be able to promote healing, help improve your range of motion in the affected area, prevent the loss of muscle mass and keep scar tissue from forming. Physiotherapy assists you in achieving optimal post-operative physical functioning. In addition, it helps to keep you motivated and reduce the normal post-operative feelings of stress and frustration.

Post-operative physiotherapy is always beneficial, and it is often recommended for surgeries such as:

  • Knee, e.g., replacements, arthroscopy, fractures, meniscal repairs;
  • Hip, e.g., replacements or resurfacing, fractures;
  • Shoulder, e.g., reconstruction, rotator cuff repair, stabilization;
  • Ankle and foot, e.g., spur removal, reconstruction, ligament repairs;
  • Spine, e.g., fusion/stabilization; and
  • Elbow, e.g., releasing tennis or golf elbow

In fact, research has demonstrated specific benefits of post-operative physiotherapy for a number of procedures:

  • Total hip and knee replacement: earlier hospital discharge;
  • Cardiac surgery: lung function;
  • Spinal surgery: improved spinal mobility;
  • Colorectal surgery: increased cardiovascular fitness;
  • Breast surgery: fewer side effects; and
  • Many surgeries: reduced risk of blood clots.

Your first encounter with post-operative physiotherapy will generally take place in the hospital, where the staff physiotherapists often provide basic rehabilitation at the bedside to:

  • Prevent breathing and vascular complications;
  • Offer movement assistance; and
  • Assist you with the use of necessary mobility aids.

Phases of Post-Operative Rehab Physiotherapy

Once you are discharged, you’ll want to continue your recovery under the care of a licensed physiotherapist. Your licensed physiotherapist will work collaboratively with you to create a rehabilitation program designed to meet your goals and needs. They will conduct a full assessment and take into account the restrictions and timelines specific to the type of surgery you’ve undergone. Post-operative physiotherapy happens in three phases, each with a different focus: early recovery, returning range of motion and restoring function.

Early Recovery Phase

The early recovery phase of rehabilitation begins once there is a reduction in post-operative pain and swelling. Initially, they will generally work with you to further alleviate any pain and swelling, suggest gentle exercises to begin restoring muscle function and provide manual therapy to start increasing range of motion.

Returning Range of Motion Phase

Once you’re ready, your licensed physiotherapist will move on to help you normalize your body’s range of motion, strength and mechanics. Your program during this phase of physiotherapy will likely include balance and proprioception – the sense of your body’s position in space – exercises, more challenging strengthening exercises, soft tissue treatment for mobility and more aggressive manual therapy that will help restore range of motion.

Restoring Function Phase

The final phase of your rehabilitation will focus on restoring independent movement, continuing to build your strength and meeting your personal goals. Each person is different; one may be hoping to be involved in competitive sport, while another may simply want to be able to keep up with energetic young children or grandchildren. Therefore, the exercises during this phase of your program will be targeted toward complex functional goals. Your balance and proprioception exercises will also increase in difficulty and manual therapy will continue to increase your range of motion.

By taking advantage of the services offered by a licensed physiotherapist, you are giving your body the boost it needs to function at its best.