I believe almost everyone needs physical therapy. Our body is a highly functioning machine that works best and most efficiently when all the parts are working properly. However, finding a body that works at 100 percent efficiency is hard to come by. Whether it is a sprained ankle, low back pain, knee tendon tears or any other creak/pull/ache, etc. at some point in our lives we will feel soreness in our body. As a personal trainer who is studying to become a physical therapist, I’m aware many people experience some form of lower back pain (LBP). Here are some suggestions on how to improve this ailment on your own.
LBP is common in people who lack a strong core and/or have tight hips and butts. In order to improve your core strength, focus on movements other than crunches. A classic crunch focuses on the upper abdominal muscles that won’t help relieve LBP. We want to focus on the transverse abdominal muscles – the deeper core muscles.
To work transverse abdominal muscles (see images 1 and 2): lay flat on your back with your knees bent and heels planted on the ground. Our spine naturally will want to rise off the ground. The move begins by pushing your lower back to the ground. Make it more challenging by raising your knees to your chest while pushing your lower back to the floor. Want more of a challenge? Straighten your legs into the air and lower them down together while pushing your lower back to the ground . Start with only lowering your legs down a little bit, so you’re able to bring your legs back to the beginning position without feeling your back come off the ground.
To stretch the hips (see image 3): take a big step forward so you’re in a tandem stance. Bend your front knee and place both hands on the ground inside the front leg. Either keep the back leg straight or drop your knee to the ground. Now focus on shifting your hips forward while trying to press your back leg forward and to the ground. You can also perform this stretch on the steps. Put your front foot on a step; keep your back leg straight and heel planted on the ground. Tuck your hips under your butt and lean forward. Raise your arms up and reach over the leg that is up on the step.
To stretch the butt (see image 4): We will be stretching the Periformis muscle, which is a deep butt muscle. Lay flat on your back with your knees bent and heels planted on the ground. Cross one leg over the other so the ankle rests on the planted knee. Reach your arms through the “window” you created with your legs to pull the planted leg to your chest. You should feel the stretch in the butt of the leg that is crossed.
Repeat these moves at least once a day and hopefully the back pain will disappear. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. I teach a Large Group Stretch Class at 7:30 am on Mondays at Innovative Health & Fitness in Studio D. We go over many stretches that will benefit you and your workout.
Push lower back into ground.