All movements of the body require coordinated activation of individual muscles and as such, each muscle has a dedicated area of the brain that controls its function. The more you use certain muscles, the more area your brain devotes to that particular muscle group. For example, a guitar player will have a larger area of their brain devoted to controlling the muscles in the hands and fingers, whereas a soccer player will have a larger area of their brain used for the muscles in their feet and ankles. Thus, the amount of brain space used for a specific muscle determines how coordinated that muscle will be.
We have previously reviewed research about how back pain changes your brain, but are people with back pain less coordinated too?
A study from the journal Spine looked at the areas of the brain that control low back muscles, specifically the multifidus and lumbar erector spinae. These muscles are required for fine control of low back movement and play a large role in low back/core stability. Researchers examined these brain areas in people with and without recurrent low back pain. What they found was that in healthy subjects these two muscle groups were controlled by two distinct areas of the brain. But in those suffering from recurrent back pain, these two muscles began to be controlled by the same area of the brain, thus preventing the muscles from being used individually and thereby reducing their coordination.
How do I improve the coordination of my low back?
This study implies that correcting the source of pain in the lower back to restore normal functioning, combined with appropriate rehabilitation exercises can help to restore normal brain activity and muscle coordination. The chiropractors at AHS are highly trained at dealing with chronic back pain and have helped endless individuals and families with their pain.
Please call your Chiropractor at AHS on 9948 2826 or visit our clinic at 9/470 Sydney Rd in Balgowlah servicing the surrounding suburbs of Allambie, Balgowlah Heights, Seaforth, Fairlight and Manly on the Northern Beaches.
1. Tsao H, Danneels LA, Hodges PW. ISSLS Prize Winner: Smudging the Motor Brain in Young Adults With Recurrent Low Back Pain. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2011 Oct 1;36(21):1721-7.