Understanding The Human Body as an Integrated Kinetic Chain - Part 1 The Spine

The spine and the pelvis are commonly referred to as “the core” because they are essentially the anchor for your entire body. Low back and neck pain are among the most common and debilitating injuries in our society, and so it’s imperative that we address the underlying pathology. Furthermore, if the anchor of the system is unstable, then a cascade of injury to the extremities is likely to follow. For example, elbow injuries in baseball pitchers have been linked to poor balance and core instability. https://www.jospt.org/doi/full/10.2519/jospt.2013.4680.

If you imagine the spine like a stack of blocks, there are small stabilizing muscles called multifidi that connect each block to the one directly above it. These muscles work to control movement of each segment relative to others and protect the disks, nerve roots, and ligaments around each vertebrae. Larger muscles span multiple segments of the spinal column and attach the top vertebrae to the bottom vertebrae, but may bypass the segments in between. In a healthy system, the smaller and larger muscles work together to provide stability and mobility to the spinal column. Structural injury and pain arise when the smaller stabilizers are over powered by the larger muscles - essentially resulting in shearing of all the structures in the middle when the larger muscles pull on the top and bottom vertebrae. Addressing this muscle imbalance is the first step to laying the foundation for a strong core.