Exercise is a must for getting rid of low back pain. We use what we call “corrective exercises” that are specifically aimed at improving low back function. These exercises range in difficulty from those done in physical therapy to a beginner muscle building program. We take pride in frequently helping people bridge the gap between physical therapy and their fitness workouts. Exercises can help alleviate low back pain by:
Know proper posture; a neutral pelvis
The first step is learning where a neutral pelvis lies and more specifically neutral pelvic tilt. Here’s an old video of mine on how to practice finding neutral pelvic tilt. Note: I am slightly anteriorly tilted when I said, “this is a nice neutral pelvis”, but I did correct it once I pulled my abs in 5 seconds later. Once you can find it, you must know how to hold this position on every exercise that you do.
Learn to use your Abs to hold a neutral pelvis
The reason why people recommend doing “core” exercises when having low back pain is because it helps stabilize the lumbar spine. When they say “core” usually they mean abdominal muscles. While maintaining a neutral pelvis, be sure to squeeze all your abdominal muscles so there is no possibility that your pelvis will break out of a neutral position. Now do this while performing exercises like various planks to challenge your abs for improved strength.
Exercises like a single arm standing cable press or row can also work the abs if you focus on using them to hold a neutral pelvis. Check out my NEW VIDEO:
Turn on the Glutes
The glutes will become less active with low back pain so it is extremely important to reestablish gluteal strength while performing leg exercises. It can be hard to get them to work properly especially if there is misalignment in the spine and pelvis. In any case, we want to start by isolating them without putting a strain on the low back. This can be done with simple hip bridges on the floor or hip thrusts on a stability ball. The same rules of proper form apply here: maintain a neutral pelvis, strong abs to hold it in place, and move through the hips.
The next step is learning how to properly hip hinge while maintaining a neutral pelvis. The movement is predominantly in hips, hence its name. Here are a few key points to keep in mind:
Just the beginning
This is just the start of a low back injury rehab into fitness routine. As pain decreases and function improves we start adding in more complex exercises. This includes balance work, functional movements in all directions, and more traditional weight training exercises.
Jerry Yuhara, CPT, CES, CMT #75123
299 California Ave, Suite 120
Palo Alto, CA 94306
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