Core Strength to Decrease Low Back Pain

Video by Dr. Bryan Stephens

Core strength is something that we assess with patients as they come into the office.  Often, it is a lack of core strength that causes the body to compensate and use improper muscles to hold ourselves up, sit, stand, drive, etc.  This compensation then causes the other muscles to fatigue and can cause inflammation to continue to build which over time leads to pain and degeneration.  Add that to the lack of motion in our joints which also adds to the swelling, and the end result is pain, degeneration, and decreased health overall.  This is because chronic inflammation has greater effect on our body than just pain.  Chronic inflammation can have many other effects such as down regulated immune system, increased weight, cancer, heart disease, strokes, and diabetes.

The side plank, while helping with the core, also targets other muscle groups as well.  The rotator cuff in the shoulder is worked which can help stabilize the shoulder joint itself.  The glutes and hips are also key areas of focus.  The glutes are often weak because, as a whole, we sit too much.  When we sit, we deactivate our glute muscles and then recruit our back muscles to compensate which can lead to pain.  The obliques run along the sides of our abdomen and are also targeted during a side plank.  The obliques assist with stabilization of the spine and pelvis while also helping us with twisting motions.  The combination of these muscles helps build up the required strength to help with back pain.

While a side plank may not be the first step needed to build up core strength, it is a great progression to attempt after a baseline of strength has been achieved.  And as always, if pain is what is keeping you from performing this exercise, then get checked out to get rid of it.


“In conclusion, [Core Strengthening Exercises] and hip muscle stretching are effective at improving physical function and activity in [Non-Specific Low Back Pain] patients.”


Kim, Beomryong, and Jongeun Yim. “Core stability and hip exercises improve physical function and activity in patients with non-specific low back pain: a randomized controlled trial.” The Tohoku journal of experimental medicine 251.3 (2020): 193-206.

Our Message

We love to help our patients in St. Louis Park stay healthy. We are here to relieve back pain, neck pain and headaches while also teaching about how our diet and stress effects our over all health. By improving these areas of our lives we can become healthier, stay out of pain and reduce risk of diseases. Our Chiropractors located in the West End, near the corner of MN-100 S & Lake Rd./Westside Dr., want to help you stay healthy and out of pain!