Trunk Spine and Core – Anatomy, Assessment and Management for long term injury prevention

If you are interested to learn a bit about the anatomy of your trunk, spine and core we have put together some information you can take away and use to improve your posture, spinal health and core strength. Firstly we will go through the anatomy, then potential injuries, how to assess yourself and exercises that are useful to maintain a healthy trunk, spine and core. Why wait until your injured to do an exercise program, why not start a program to prevent injury and maintain your health.



The function of the spine is to distribute the central nervous system and protect the spinal cord. The spine also acts as an attachment point for muscle groups to stabilise the trunk. The spine is often acting as a gauge for an individual’s posture, and if an individual’s posture is not aligned correctly over time, complications can arise.

Core and rib cage

The core’s primary function is to protect internal organs and maintain stability of the spine, balance and posture. The core sometimes referred to as the abdominal, although technically, if you speak of the core it means not just you abdominal muscles but also the spinal erector muscles, hip flexors, and all the other small muscles that are involved with stabilising the spine, rib cage pelvic and even up to the shoulders. The core serves are the stabilisation of the entire trunk region. The core also serves as our generation of power for our limbs, for example if your core does not correctly activate, your golf swing will have less power and accuracy.

Common injuries for Trunk, Spine & Core

Spine, neck, lower back, core

  • Disc bulge, herniation or rupture
  • Nerve impingement
  • Upper and lower cross syndrome
  • Thoracic outlet syndrome
  • Sprains and strains
  • Pathological posture
  • Arthritis (degenerative)
  • Hernia

Why do these injuries occur?

  • Trauma injury – one off incident causing damage to an effected area.
  • Wear and tear over time, caused by either incorrect movement patters, joint instabilities or weakness in affected area.

Assessment of function

Objective measure are tools that can be used to assess how your body is functioning. If assessed regularly movement imbalances, reduction in joint range of motion or weakness in joint stability can be identified and prevent an injury occurring before it happens.


Is your posture aligned? If not, this may signify a postural imbalance and  further investigation as to why is important, to avoid injury in the future.

Range of Motion (ROM)

  • Flexion
  • Extension
  • Rotation

Test each range of motion for each joint, are they limited? If so, this is an identified issue which if addressed now, could mean preventing an injury in the future.


Testing each joints ROM strength to identify any weakness. Test the strength of each joints ROM, if you find one that feels weak, then this is an opportunity to seek assistance and prevent a potential future injury.


So, to protect us against these risks what can we do?

  • Step 1: gain full ROM of each joint
  • Step 2: increase strength and endurance of muscles supporting joint
  • Step 3: increase balance and stability of joint
  • Step 4: increase function ability of joint
  • Step 5: performance specific



Strengthening exercises

If you would like further assessment of an injury or pain you are experiencing, contact us today for an Exercise Physiology Consultation and program.

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