There is a popular belief that those who have back pain need to develop more 'core stability' or increase the activation of their trunk muscles during simple functional tasks in order to 'stabilise' their spines. All the while giving the perception that their backs are somehow 'weak' and unstable.
But the truth is that many studies have found that those who do have back pain often have MORE activation in their spine and abdominal muscles (and less mobility)
It has also been found that there is a correlation between fear (catastrophising) and trunk muscle activation.
So the more people are concerned (which usually means they have a fear of damaging their spines) the more 'stability' they have.
And this isn't just when lifting heavy things! It has also found to be the case when it comes to performing a range of day to day tasks such as picking up an object from the ground, placing an object on the ground, sitting down, standing up and climbing up a stair.
Simply put, patients show an increase in back muscle activity regardless of the type of functional task.
So why is this important?
Because for those who do have back pain and have been told they need to 'stabilise' their spine or increase their 'core stability', this may actually not be the best solution.
Instead, working on reducing the fear around damage (pain does not correlate with damage) and improving mobility within the spine is often a better solution!