Lower Back Pain
Stiffness, tightness and pain through the lower back and overall spine is the most common injury or concern that the general population have. Caused by predominantly our lifestyle where we are hunched over at a desk or standing with our knees locked and lower back arched. The spine is sometimes overlooked until there is pain and you are spending twice a week at a physio.
A lot of people think that once you start getting back pain its hard to get rid of. NOT true, you can it just takes consistency and the right body areas targeted. Eventually the majority if not all of your back pain can be gotten rid of. There are three main areas that I recommend to focus on to begin the journey back to a healthy spine.
Keeping your spine flexible will keep you young! Flexing, rotating and extending your spine will not only feel great it also ensures that the natural curves in the spine stay healthy. If you currently have back pain or on a journey to improving your spine health take your time! The spine is sensitive so listening to your body is soooo important.
The great thing is that flexibility is the quickest fitness component to improve so if you can incorporate stretching everyday for a week it will be considerable improved in one week!
I have shown below a stretching flow focusing on all planes of movement for the spine.
2. Core strength & Glute strength
The core or abdominals are so much more than a six pack. They wrap around your body from your spine to the front of your body literally corseting your body. Your core becomes weakened from a number or things: lack of core exercises, posture and pregnancy (BRING IT BACK program). Pilates is based around strengthening up your core and glutes to help support your body through life whilst also reconnecting the brain and body together.
A lack of core strength puts a lot more pressure on your lower back to support your body literally loading up your spine. Incorporating core focused exercises into your exercise regime or just adding it in alone will help to unload your back and allow your abdominal to do their job!
Focus points when training your core:
- Ensure your spine is in a neutral position, about a blueberry size in the lower back.
- BREATHE, exhaling on the exertion phase encouraging the core to pull down and in.
- Imagine you are pulling your ribs down towards to your hips when lifting the shoulders off the ground.
- REST when you need to, if you feel the exercise in your hips or back the core is not working take a rest then resume when you can.
3. Posture and Alignment
How you stand, sit, walk and move is just as important as all of the stretching and exercise.
Checking your posture and making a few minor tweaks can really help you improve your back pain and day overall skeletal structure.
Check you posture by standing up against a wall, heels up against the wall.
- Is the back of your head up against the wall?
If you have to tilt your chin slightly upwards to get your head to touch the wall it means
you are pressing your chin forwards, this can be from looking down at your phone or
generally being rounded through your upper back. Next time your go walking down the
street try and look up roll your shoulders back.
- Is there a big curve through your lower spine?
Try and press your lower back into the wall, slightly unlocking your knees and tucking
your lowest ribs down towards your hips.
Top posture tips:
Roll your shoulders back and down
Lift your chin, whilst pressing the back of your head back so its in line with your
spine (stack your spine)
Unlock your knees (try not to stand knees locked out)
Even weight through both heels
Pull your ribs down towards your hips
Pull your belly button in towards your spine