Mothers are working all the time. Whether you are a working mom or stay at home mom, you are always working, and it often involves a lot of compromised postures. These compromised postures and body mechanics usually lead to pain and dysfunction. Because mothers are excellent at powering through pain, oftentimes many years go by before they stop and think, “what happened?” What many don’t realize is that it’s all related to functional core weakness.
Functional Core Weakness is defined as the inability of the muscles of the core to effectively function and support the body for everyday physical demands without pain or dysfunction.
Here are 4 common questions (and answers) we hear from the moms we work with:
1. Um…where did my butt go?
Believe it or not, we hear this question a lot! A weak core often leads to a collapsed sitting and standing posture. And when you are doing that all day 5 days a week at work (or while nursing!), it’ll add up fast.
When your core is weak, the body tries to use the gluts (butt muscles) instead of the core to stabilize the pelvis. When the gluts are busy stabilizing they are not available to do their main job, which is extending your legs when you walk, run and squat to get in and out of chairs and lift. As a result, that part of the glut/butt muscle atrophies and becomes inactive leaving us with a flat, saggy butt and no real functional strength.
At The Tummy Team we start with retraining the core and pelvic alignment and as a result, the gluts can return to their main job and build real strength again. The bonus? You get your butt back! Here’s a great stretch that will help.
2. Why do I constantly have ribs out in my back?
Your internal abdominal muscle is called your transverse abdominis and it is like a corset that wraps around your torso and connects the lower six ribs to your pelvis. When this muscle is strong and active, it helps to stabilize the rib cage and anchor your ribs securely to your spine.
However, many clients we see spend their days sitting in collapsed postures, and this muscle is acting more like a deflated balloon around your body. Then the joints between the ribs and vertebrae are less supported and can become hyper mobile (moving easily in and out of joint). This is painful and frustrating.
Our core rehab will help to strengthen your core to provide that support and stability your body craves.
3. Why am I only comfortable sitting if I have one foot under my butt?
The habit of sitting on one foot often stems from asymmetrical muscle tightness on one side of your torso. We see this most commonly in mothers.
Most of us tend to carry our babies and toddler in our left arm (to keep our right hand free) and we hike our hip up to support that extra weight. Over time this shortens that left side and then when we sit it feels uncomfortable unless we sit on our foot or cross our legs in a way that lifts that hip. This habit gradually causes hip tightness and pelvic instability among other things. The Tummy Team works on creating strength and symmetry, so our body works equally well on both sides and is strong for all the activities of life. Here is a stretch that can help release tension from this habit.
4. When did my intestinal tract stop working right?
Your core supports the GI tract. When the core is weak, the intestinal tract has less support and less blood flow.
The peristalsis that moves waste through your intestines is affected by the lack of muscle support and becomes sluggish. This can lead to symptoms of irritable bowels, painful gas, constipation, and inability to fully empty your bowels and more. A strong core dramatically impacts how your digestion works.
Functional core strength is essential to our entire body functioning the way it was intended to. You are not losing your mind when you feel like “things” are not working the way they used to. Functional core weakness has nearly become an epidemic in our sitting-dominant culture. But the good news is that your body was designed to be strong, elongated and upright and it has an incredible capacity to heal and be retrained for this function. Helping you be strong for the life you were meant to live is The Tummy Team’s mission. Check out what we do at TheTummyTeam.