Getting Stable: Low Back & Hip
So you’ve seen your chiropractor and know you have mechanical lower back &/or hip pain. You’re using all your self-care pain control strategies and mobilization techniques. It is time to start getting strong & stable again. But first, always remember that these movements are:
There to help not hurt - mild discomfort is ok, but if the movement is making your pain worse you need to stop and try again tomorrow and/or consult your chiropractor
Meant to be used regularly and consistently - doing them ‘once in a while when I remember’ isn’t helping anyone
Not to be rushed
Phase Two: Strength & Stability
Perform these (or just those recommended by your chiropractor) daily for 2-3 sets per movement to get the best results
Begin your routine with movements labeled "1" (increase the challenge by performing the variations labeled "1a" &/or "1b")
Once proficient, add the movements labeled "2" to your routine (increase the challenge by including "2a" movements)
When you're ready, add the movements labeled "3" to your routine (increase the challenge by including "3a" &/or "3b" movements)
Use the order provided, but skip any that aggravate your condition
1. Pelvic Tilt
Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Breath in, then breath out and flatten your lower back against the floor while squeezing your buttocks together. Hold for one full breath, then release. Perform 3-5 reps per set.
1a. Pelvic Tilt + Knee to Chest
Perform the pelvic tilt as above. While holding the contraction, slowly draw one knee toward your chest, pause, then slowly lower back down. Repeat on the other side. Perform 3-5 reps per set.
1b. Pelvic Tilt + heel slide
Perform the pelvic tilt as above. While holding the contraction, slowly slide one heel along the floor until the knee is straight, pause, then slowly slide the heel back to the start. Repeat on the other side. Perform 3-5 reps per set.
1c. Bridge (+ Pelvic Tilt)
Perform the pelvic tilt as above. While holding the contraction, use your glute muscles to lift your hips off the ground until your body is a straight line from shoulders to knees. Squeeze your glutes together at the top, then lower back to the start. Perform 3-5 reps per set, but slowly build up to 10 reps per set.
2. Bird Dog
Start on your hands and knees - warm up with a set of Cat/Camels. Lightly perform the pelvic tilt to stabilise your lower back. Slowly raise one arm straight to shoulder height. Once you feel stable, extend the opposite leg straight to hip height. Hold for 15s, slowly lower to the start and repeat on the other side.
2a. Fire Hydrants
Start on your hands and knees. Lightly perform the pelvic tilt. Keeping the knee bent slowly lift one leg out to the side as high as you can without twisting your lower back. Pause at the top, then lower to the start. Perform 3-5 reps per set, but slowly build up to 10 reps per set.
Lie face down propped up on your elbows with your toes tucked under to support your weight. Keeping your knees on the ground, lightly perform the pelvic tilt and lift your hips off the ground. Hold for 15s. Once that feels easy & stable, increase the difficulty by lifting your knees off the ground leaving your body in a straight line from shoulder to heel. Hold for 15s per set, but slowly build up to 30s holds.
3a. Plank + Leg Lifts
Perform plank as above. Keeping lower back stable, lift one foot off the floor a few inches and hold for 5s then lower it. Repeat on the other side. Alternate for 3 reps each side.
3b. Plank + Leg/Arm Lifts
Perform plank and leg lift as above, but also lift the arm opposite to the lifted leg. Hold for 5s, then switch to the other side. Repeat for 3 reps per side.
4. Side Plank
Lie on your side propped up on one elbow, other arm at your side and legs stacked on top of each other. Lightly perform a pelvic tilt, and lift your hips off the ground until the body is a straight line from shoulder to heel (if too challenging, rest on your knees instead of heels). Hold for 15s, but slowly build up to 30s per side.
Once you are have started to progress through these, and have seen improvement in your abilities, it is time to move on to more general strength training. It is still important to maintain the stability gained from these exercises so incorporate them into your routine. Ask your chiropractor how.
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