Last week we focused on the upper back and how it relates to posture. This week we turn to the lower back. The majority of people reading this will have had some experience with low back pain, I am sure! Before we go any further, it’s important to have the right diagnosis and treatment plan for your pain. These exercises are meant to help strengthen your posture and reduce the amount of work your low back is doing day to day. A lot of back pain is simply from muscle imbalance and poor posture. This article does not cover disc related injuries, fractures, etc.
The position of the low back is really important. Check out the image below. The line down the middle is the “Plumb Line”, which means it’s right down the middle. Compare the plumb line in the ideal posture with the plumb line in the other postures. Also look at the position of the pelvis in each posture.
With changes to the curve in the back, there are changes to the rotation of your pelvis. When bones change position there is a chain reaction from the muscles. Some are over-stretched, and some are too short. Of course, imbalances in the muscles can cause bones to change position! Every person and injury is different.
We have to focus on the correct posture and then keeping that position even through motion. That’s the magic! You need to practice walking, sitting, and exercising with this position. The slight curve allows for shock absorption. You know your core is active when you can move about in life or sport without your body collapsing or moving without your consent.
A common misconception is that we need to strengthen the back when we have pain or “weakness”. Typically, the back overworks and gets exhausted, it’s rarely weak. Having the entire trunk work for you and working in coordination, will reduce the amount of work on the back muscles. Having less exhaustion means less pain in your back, and the ability to hold good posture longer… yahoo!
You will notice that the exercises in the video are geared to anti-rotation and coordination. They are designed as a foundation to building back/trunk strength before participating in bigger exercises like squats or even running.
Of course, these exercises can become pre-habilitation as well. Doing these exercises from time to time or as a warm-up will help reduce your chances of having a low back injury. When the muscles remain in balance and coordinate with each other, your physical abilities will skyrocket!
If you want to learn more about reprogramming your body or need guidance putting a routine together, let me know! I would love to help.