5 Ways Your Core Protects Your Joints by Jonathan Bender

When I tell people that if they want to relieve their joint pain, even totally end that pain, they must strengthen their core, they look at me like I have two heads.

After all, it’s their knees or their hips that hurt. Right?

Totally makes sense, but it’s not true.

And as someone who retired from the NBA at 25 with no cartilage between my knees, then rehabbed myself so well I played pain-free for the New York Knicks, I learned that the very hard way.

So you don’t have to.

What Is Your Core?
Your core is slang for those muscles that are the center of your body: your hips and back, your abdomen, your shoulders and chest, your diaphragm, pelvic floor and yes, your glutes. Your core also encloses and includes your entire spinal column.

All major body movements begin in the core. A weak core sets you up for all kinds of instability, forcing your joints to carry loads they weren’t designed to. A strong core is the key to a mobile, balanced body, allowing all your joints to glide freely and easily.

In short, your core is a system of 29 pairs of muscles, and your rectus abdominor, or “six pack abs”, is just one of them. Unfortunately, many people overwork their abs and neglect all their other core muscles. That’s a recipe for imbalance, instability, and pain.

So let’s take a deeper look at how these important muscles work protect you from pain.

Your Shoulders
Your shoulders are an extremely complex joint and you use them in almost all upper-body movements. This makes them vulnerable to a variety of injuries.

When you need to load your shoulders, whether it’s carrying groceries or lifting barbells, a strong core protects your shoulders by activating the abdominal muscles and bracing your entire spinal column. This “stiffness” allows your shoulder blades (your scapula) to stiffen in turn. Now your rotator cuff muscles are supported, so they can engage to stabilize your humerus, the bone of your upper arm through its range of motion.

Strong core muscles safely generate the power you need, without damaging your shoulder joints.

Low Back Pain
Generally speaking, if you have low back pain, you need to strengthen your core. Why?

Your core muscles stabilize your spine and pelvis. When you injure your back, those muscles “turn off” or shut down. This stresses the ligaments, which connect bone or cartilage to other bone or cartilage, forcing your stressing your sacroiliac joint to bear loads and forces your muscles should be carrying.

Ending low back pain, far from relying on pain killers or muscle relaxants, requires you to reengage and strengthen your core muscles to support your sacroiliac joint and allow it to function the way it was designed to. As a joint, not a weight-bearing structure.

Bad Posture
Your core is how you carry your body, and there is a vicious feedback loop between a weak core and poor posture. Weak core muscles make it hard for you to carry yourself in a tall, neutral position. A slumped posture further weakens your muscles.

To compensate, your head tilts forward and down, causing your shoulders to roll and your chest to sinks. In turn, your pelvis tilts in, forcing your stomach and your butt out. Your knees turn in to compensate, destabilizing your feet (wearing heels makes this worse).

The chain reaction of weak core muscles turns every joint into your body into a weight-bearing structure.

Hip Pain
Your glutes, the big muscles in your butt, abductors and adductors, and your hip flexor muscles are all part of your core. When those muscles are weak, the strain of walking, running and other movements is transferred to the ligaments in your hips, which in turn transfer that load to the hip joint, distorting its normal function.

Under such circumstances, your hip grinds into your pelvis.

Knee Pain
This chain of weakness extends down to your knees. And because your knees are two relatively isolated joints that must bear almost the entire weight of your body, they are very extremely vulnerable to weakness in your glutes.

One of the most frequent mistakes I see people make (that I made myself for many years) is to focus on stretching the IT band and engaging the quads, the big muscles in the back of your thighs.

The fact is, you can do those things all day, every day, and unless you engage your glutes, those weak muscles will still force your knees to carry the weight your muscles should…

Forcing your knees to grind away at the cartilage, then the bone.

Click Joint Pain Relief Codes System to how to develop a strong core so your joints can once again glide easily past each other… without pain… in just minutes a day… even if you’re older, have arthritis or a disease such as multiple sclerosis.

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  1. […] want to suffer from joint pain any longer… or you want to escape it altogether, click to read “5 Ways Your Core Protects Your Joints.” or Joint Pain Relief Codes Program […]

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