Previously I talked about an exercise that can be performed at home to help improve low back pain and prevent recurrence of injury. Bird dogs are just one such exercise that the Chiropractors at our clinic in Eastbourne give to our guests. Today I am going to talk about two other simple exercises that are perfect for recovering from a nasty bout of low back pain.
This exercise is rather simple to perform. Like the bird dog has progressions and regressions depending on whether you need to make it harder of easier respectively. The purpose of this exercise is similar to the bird dog; help improve the endurance of the core musculature, particularly the lateral trunk flexors. On top of this, as this exercise is only performed on one side at a time it can be helpful in balancing up any muscle imbalances that occur as part of our day to day life.
To perform this exercise:
• Lie on the floor with your knees flexed at 90 degrees and your spine straight.
• Similarly to the bird dog, before initiating any movement maintain an abdominal brace.
• You should then drive your hips forward, such that your torso is in a straight line elevated from the floor, supported by your elbow and your knee closest to the ground.
• This position should be held for a couple of seconds, and then slowly bend your hips such that you go back down to the floor
The above steps describe one repetition, and this exercise is best performed aiming for 12-20 repetitions on each side, for a total of three sets.
To increase the difficulty of this exercise, you can perform it with your legs straight instead of knees flexed to 90 degrees. This is more difficult due to the increased demand on your core musculature.
To progress even further, instead of doing 20 repetitions with a one or two second hold, try performing one repetition of a 45 second hold. This will really test the endurance of your muscles, but if you start to feel any uncontrollable shaking at any time, stop there and perform the same number of seconds on the other side.
This exercise is also performed lying on your side. The purpose of this exercise is to help increase the activation of some of the muscles around the hip and pelvis, specifically the gluteus maximus. This muscle becomes inactive through extended sitting and contributes towards hip, pelvis and low back pain when it is inactive.
Instead of having to perch yourself on your elbow, you can lie down on your side in whichever way you are comfortable in, as long as your knees are flexed to 90 degrees and your pelvis is level with your shoulders.
To perform this exercise:
• Lie on your side
• place your top hand on your buttock so that you can feel the muscle activation
• keeping your feet touching, open up your top hip such that your knee is raised in the air. Only go as far as your hip will allow, as otherwise you will start to recruit the wrong muscles and the exercise will lose its effectiveness
This exercise is best performed with 10-12 repetitions done for three sets on each side. The beauty of this exercise is that it is very easy to do. The difficulty in it is concentrating and really trying to feel the buttock muscle activating.
If you have any queries or concerns, feel free to comment below or pop in and see us at our Chiropractic clinic in Eastbourne.
Thanks for reading
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By James Revell
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