Research shows that almost every adult will experience some form of low back pain. Bulging discs, sciatica, etc. it is an issue that many people face. A proper assessment from a health/fitness professional can reveal what the major issue is. Whether it is a foot/ankle complex issue or the knee, the human bodies kinetic movement chain will indicate what you should be focusing on.
For a person who experiences low back pain, it can be a serious detriment to their wellbeing and quality of life. In the exercises below, we will examine exercises that will help aid in alleviating that pain and strengthen the lower back.
*You should always consult your physician before participating in any exercise program*
First of all we will focus on inhibiting and lengthening the overactive muscle tissue which pulls the body in an unnatural way causing those muscles to compensate for the weaker ones. We use Self Myofascial Release in order to inhibit those muscles with a foam roller, and static stretching techniques to lengthen. Muscles that are commonly overactive in association with low back pain are the Quadriceps, TFL/IT band, Adductors and Piriformis. Each muscle should be foam rolled for a minimum of 30 seconds one time.
Quadriceps: Lie facing down on the ground with your forearms and elbows propped to support yourself. Place the top part of your quads on top of the foam roller. Roll slowly down your legs toward your knees. Bend your legs slightly to increase the pressure of the massage. Keep your head in alignment with your spine and pelvis. Do not stick your neck down or hyperextend your lower back. Hold the tender spot once you feel it, and breathe deeply. Gently rub it by slowly moving your legs up and down. Continue to roll up and down the thighs until most of the tenderness and pain subside.
TFL/IT Band: Sit on the foam roller and roll to put your weight on your left upper leg, just below the hip. Stretch your left leg out straight, in line with your hip and knee. Place your right leg, bent in front of you on the floor and both your arms in front of you with your hands on the floor for balance. Push off with your right foot as you roll down your entire leg from the hip to the knee, keeping your arms straight and non-moving in front of you. Try to avoid rolling over the hip or knee joints. You can vary the pressure and the iliotibial band stretch, by how much you sink your weight into the foam roller. Shift your weight on the foam roller slightly, to the left or right to get the exact sore spot.
Adductors: Face down on ground with one leg to the side and foam roll under the inside of your other thigh. Roll along the inside of your thigh from your pelvis to the inside of your knee. The more uncomfortable it is, the more that muscle needs to be massaged. Hold on sore spots for an extended time to release them
Piriformis: The piriformis is a small muscle of the hip near the glutes. Using a foam roller to relax the piriformis also targets the gluteus medius, gluteus maximus and gluteus minimus. To foam roll the hip, sit on the center of the roller with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Cross your left leg onto your right thigh and lean to the right so the outside of your right glute is the only part of you touching the foam roller. Then, straighten your right knee to roll up your glute. Do not roll the center of the glutes as this might compress the sciatic nerve.
Next you want to perform 30 seconds of each of these static stretches.
Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
Seated Adductor Stretch
Biceps Femoris Stretch
Next we will focus on strengthening the muscles that are underactive preventing low back pain from returning. You will perform one or two sets of each exercise doing 10-15 repetitions.
Side-lying Gluteus Medius
Quadruped Opposite Arm/Leg Raise
Stability Ball Bridge
Perform these exercises every other day for four weeks.
For more exercises contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
~Zac Linton CPT, CES, FNS