Strengthen your core, and you’ll lose your back pain – part 1

Strengthen your core, and you’ll lose your back pain – part 1

Many people with back pain have been advised to “lose some weight” or to “strengthen your core, and you’ll lose your back pain”.

This advice sometimes comes from health practitioners. The literature does not support it though. Weight loss and core strengthening are not reliable ways to manage back pain.

So what treatments have been shown to work for managing back pain?


Nearly 70 years of research has shown the 5 main approaches that work for back pain are (in no particular order):

  1. Medication.
  2. Ergonomic advice (correct work & sleep postures).
  3. Needling.
  4. Manipulation.
  5. Cardiovascular fitness (note: not strengthening).

You will notice that the last point relates to cardiovascular fitness – walking, running, etc – not strengthening the spine per se.


If the opening argument were true, gymnasts and weightlifters would not get back pain, but they do! Ballet dancers, gymnasts, and powerlifters often suffer with backache. Conversely, those of us who never exercise our core muscles would always get back pain, and we don’t!

Also, all overweight people would always get back pain, and they don’t! And all skinny people would never get back pain, and they do! Broad generalities and oversimplified solutions don’t address the problem.


Most of us don’t have weak core muscles! Although controversial, one needs to apply common sense!

If most of us had weak cores, we wouldn’t be able to walk around or sit upright. We would all walk around stooped or sit flopping over, as it is our core muscles that help keep our torso’s upright.

Yes, people with weak cores do exist, but they’re far less common than we are sometimes led to believe.

That brings us an alternative, which we discuss in a different blog post. We thank you for your continued loyalty and support.