As you should know, having an activated and strong core musculature can help reduce the risk of having low back pain and injury. These muscles help take the stress and absorb the force that is place throughout the low back region. But what muscles am I referring to?
This is a question I ask almost every patient with low back troubles. So, what are the muscles that make up your core?
The most common answer I get is the rectus abdominis muscle, which is otherwise known as the "sexy, six-pack abs". Other answers I get is the oblique muscles and other muscles covering the entire abdominal wall, front and back. Those answers are correct but only partially. Yes they make up the abdominal wall which protects and provides movement and stabilization for the lumbar spine and components of the digestive system. But what is often forgot is your hamstrings, adductor muscle groups, and gluteal muscle groups.
On the first 3 images above, you can see how the Bird Dog exercise is performed. This is a great exercise because it can serve as a base with a lot of options to progress and to challenge the patient more. Here are some tips to complete successfully:
On the following images above, you'll see the side glute bridge being performed. Utilizing proper hip hinging technique while on the table is the key to executing this exercise. Other tips include:
The last two images displayed show myself executing the McGill curl up! An alternative to the sit-up or crunch, the McGill curl up is a great exercise to activate your anterior abdominal muscles without involving excessive flexion and extension in the lumbar spine.
Are there more exercises that execute our goal of building a strong foundation and while maintaining a neutral spine position? Yes, many more! Some of those include:
In summary, strengthening your foundation of your spine can lead to lesser instances of low back pain and is the basis of low back rehabilitation. Including this as a part of your treatment plan is essential for not only recovery but injury prevention.
Are you struggling with low back pain? Contact us today to schedule an appointment at 907-349-4212!
Bryan Matthisen, D.C.