Low Back Pain Exercise
July 24th, 2017 540 post views
One of the most common problems I see at our clinic in Eastbourne is low back pain. Often this is accompanied by some hints of instability of the joints in the lower back. This is one of the most common complaints that chiropractors are trained to deal with. In the majority of low back pain complaints that I see here in Eastbourne, the true cause of the dysfunction can be traced back to the same couple of things. This is a problem that is easily fixed, and prevented, with the help of home exercises. The following low back pain exercise is very simple, and when practiced and performed daily can help to build a more injury resilient spine, and therefore keep you functioning at your best!
This exercise has a funny name and can seem difficult to perform properly. However, it can still be scaled back if it is too difficult. The purpose of the Bird dog exercise is to improve the endurance capabilities of the “core” musculature, that is the muscles deep to the spine and in the abdomen. These muscles deep to the spine tend to switch off after prolonged sitting or poor movements.
To perform this exercise:
- Get on the floor with your knees under your hips and your hands shoulder width apart
- Keep the spine neutral and the pelvis level to the shoulders at all times
- Maintain a firm abdominal brace before starting to initiate movement of the arms or legs. This should feel as though you are blowing up a balloon or preparing to be punched in the stomach
- While keeping the abdominal brace, slowly move one arm out in front of you while moving the opposite leg away from you
- Keep the arm and leg in the extended position for a second or two, and then slowly bring the arm and leg back to neutral.
Watch me performing this exercise
The above steps are one repetition, and this exercise is best performed with 12-20 repetitions on each side, done for three sets. However, as this exercises aim is to improve endurance, it is important that you do not feel too fatigued after each set. If you feel you cant complete 12 repetitions on each side without shaking and falling over, make the exercise easier. This can be done by only moving your legs, keeping your arms stationary. This will allow you to improve the endurance of the muscles we are targeting without getting too fatigued and using other muscles instead of the ones we are trying to train.
Progressions and Regressions
If this exercise is too easy for you then perform a harder variation. This exercise can be made harder by starting with your hands and knees closer to each other. This narrows your balance base, which makes you work harder on keeping your pelvis balanced and therefore works the muscles in a more extreme way.
To make it even harder, while your arm and leg are in the extended position, try to draw a square with your arm and an inverse square with your leg, such that when you move up with your arm, you move down with your leg and vice versa. This will really challenge your ability to maintain a neutral pelvis and spine position. After doing 3 sets of 15 repetitions of this on both sides, you can count yourself an expert on the bird dog exercise!
I hope this has been a helpful insight into one of the most common home exercises given by chiropractors for low back pain. Chiropractors are trained to be holistic. This means seeing a chiropractor should be more than just receiving treatment. I love to give advice about nutrition and exercises to help everyone I see improve their quality of life. If you are having any difficulties with the exercise, please feel free to comment below or contact us at our Eastbourne clinic if you have any other worries.