FAQs about CORE

What is CORE?

CORE is a spinal fitness program offered by PNBC for former patients and their spouse or domestic partner. Through resistance training and flexibility exercises, the CORE allows members to maintain or further develop spinal fitness after PNBC’s rehabilitation program. ‘CORE’ refers to the body’s neck, torso, arms, low back, gluteals, and thighs. A strong and flexible core provides a solid base for all fitness.

Where is the CORE located?

CORE facilities are currently available within our Edina, Woodbury, Roseville, Burnsville (opening February 1), and Maple Grove clinics. The CORE is separate from PNBC’s treatment area. Each CORE has separate exercise equipment not available for use by PNBC’s patients.

What equipment does the CORE utilize, and which exercises are performed?

The CORE workout uses a series of exercise machines specifically designed to target, isolate, and strengthen spinal muscle groups and to promote and improve flexibility.

  • Low back: Lumbar Machine
  • Torso: Torso Rotation Machine
  • Cervical Spine (Neck): 4-way Neck Machine
  • Abdomen: Abdominal Crunch Machine
  • Lats/Arms/Anterior Shoulders: Lat Pull Down Machine
  • Upper Back/Arms: Upright Rowing Machine
  • Legs/Buttocks: Leg Press Machine

The CORE also offers flexibility training for seven major muscle groups through a unique machine that provides progressive, measurable stretching exercise.

What is the difference between the CORE and PNBC’s rehabilitation program?

PNBC’s treatment program is for people suffering from chronic spinal pain or dysfunction. The program is 8-10 weeks working one-on-one with a member of PNBC’s physical therapy staff, typically twice a week for 45-60 minutesr. These sessions are by appointment, because they include the use of specialized medical exercise equipment registered with the FDA which requires a trained clinician to operate. 

PNBC’s CORE spinal fitness program is designed for individuals that have completed PNBC’s treatment program, and are able to exercise without the need for direct medical supervision. CORE members generally perform two, 20-30 minute, strengthening exercise sessions per week. Similar to a health club setting, members are able to use the exercise equipment without an appointment under the general supervision of trained staff members. CORE members pay an out-of-pocket membership fee.

PNBC Treatment Program PNBC CORE Program
Chronic spine pain patients Individuals discharged from PNBC treatment program; possibly asymptomatic individuals for injury prevention
Program Goal
Improve spinal fitness/function; reduce chronic pain symptoms Maintain or further develop spinal fitness levels; prevent recurrence/injury and further health care utilization
Supervision and Program Administration
One-on-one evaluation and supervision provided by physicians and therapy staff every session Initial one-on-one orientation/ training, then general supervision provided by trained PNBC staff
Primary Equipment Utilized
Medical exercise equipment that isolates spinal muscles; FDA approved Specialized exercise equipment that isolates spinal muscles; Patented stretch machine; Other high quality exercise equipment
Staff Credentials/Training Licensed MDs, PTs, PTAs Exercise Physiologists, Certified Athletic Trainers, and/or Physical Therapist Assistants trained through PNBC’s internal certification process
# of sessions/week
2, by appointment 2, no appointment needed
Approximate time/session
45-60 minutes 20-30 minutes
Generally paid for by most insurance companies under patient’s health plan or work comp benefits Members pay out-of-pocket on a monthly or annual basis. No minimum contract required
Program Locations
6 Twin Cities locations:    Coon Rapids,  Edina, Burnsville, Maple Grove, Roseville, and Woodbury Currently available within PNBC’s Woodbury, Roseville, Edina, Burnsville, and Maple Grove clinics as a separate & distinct facility
What makes the CORE program different from exercise programs provided at a standard health club?

Specialized, Exceptional Service – The CORE is staffed by PNBC’s caring staff of spinal fitness specialists. Our staff understands the medical history and specific needs of each member. Unlike generalized fitness programs offered in health clubs, CORE members receive a program tailored to their needs. Members receive in depth instruction, along with regular motivation, education, and monitoring of progress by PNBC staff. 

Specialized Equipment - The CORE program has specialized exercise machines that isolate and strengthen the spinal muscles more effectively through the use of stabilization pads/mechanisms. Published research shows that commercially available ‘back’ machines found in health clubs do not isolate and strengthen the lumbar muscles.

Value - Most health clubs charge an additional $45-$80 per hour for services like PNBC’s CORE. Even then, health clubs don’t offer effective spinal fitness equipment. CORE members have access to specialized equipment, knowledgeable and caring staff, and most importantly, the means to maintain spinal fitness and well being.

The CORE vs. Typical Health Club Membership

  The CORE Health Club
Specific spinal fitness program tailored to the needs of its participants Generalized fitness program
Exercise physiologists, certified athletic trainers, and/or physical therapist assistants trained through PNBC’s internal certification process; specialized focus on spinal fitness; familiar with each member’s medical history & needs Health club instructors with varying levels of education/training; no medical expertise and/or specialization in spinal fitness; no familiarity with member’s medical history & needs
Initial one-on-one orientation/ training, then general supervision provided by trained PNBC staff; motivation, education, evaluation of progress is standard Generally ‘on your own,’ with little supervision or staff follow-up unless additional personal training sessions are purchased
Fitness Equipment
Specialized MedX exercise equipment that isolates spinal muscles via stabilization pads/mechanisms; MedX stretch machine; Nautilus and Cybex exercise equipment General resistance training machines that offer minimal or no isolation of the spinal muscles; no progressive resistance for cervical muscles; no stretching machine
Program Cost
$45 per month or $460 per year Annual membership fees range from $500 to $1,000; personal training offered at additional cost of $45-$80/hour
Currently available within PNBC’s Woodbury, Roseville, Edina, Burnsville (February 1), and Maple Grove clinics; no other similar program in the Midwest Variety of companies and locations throughout the Twin Cities
What is the difference between the CORE and the home exercise program (HEP) that PNBC recommends to its discharged patients?
PNBC’s CORE provides the equipment and environment to both maintain and increase spinal fitness, while the Home Exercise Program (HEP) gives you the tools to simply maintain the spinal strength and symptom improvements gained from the PNBC exercise rehabilitation program. Even though the HEP is an effective way to maintain your spinal fitness, we all know how difficult it can be to stick to a regimen on your own. That’s why many patients choose to join CORE, a place where they are surrounded by professionals who specialize in spinal fitness and can offer both the encouragement and motivation you need to keep your spine strong and your pain controlled.