Is this you?
You want to know what is the BEST drill you can possibly do to help your low back pain, stiffness, or discomfort, but you have very little time.
Your life overall is relatively sedentary – especially at work. (Let’s be clear, even if you work out twice a day, but sit the rest of the day, you have a sedentary life.) Your back really only bothers you when you sit for long periods of time, or when you go to stand up, or bend over to pick something up.
Let’s focus on the principle reason people have low back pain. We don’t move enough, and when we do we often overuse our low back versus relying on our powerful hips. The majority of low back pain is mechanical; simply put it is caused by problems with our moving parts. Therefore certain movements that you make and position that you hold for prolonged periods of time can lead to pain.1 The common ones include sitting in the car, sitting at work, extending the back when you are lifting something.
Keeping your spine healthy is a life-long process, so regardless of pain, you can do these techniques daily. Think of these drills like oiling a machine, the machine being your spine’s joints.
The Low Back Test (this takes 4 minutes):
1. Stand, place your hands on your upper glutes and gently press your hips forward as you lean back (via your pelvis) INSERT PICTURE). Do this 10 times. Does your spine feel better, worse, or the same?
2. Stand or sit, bend over and touch your toes 10 times hinging at your hips first. Does it feel better, worse, or the same?
If NEITHER of the above feel good, lay on your back
3. Draw your knees into your chest 10 times. Does this feel better, worse, or the same?
4. Lay on your belly, relax your hips, place your hands under your shoulders and perform a gentle press up (like an upward dog in yoga). Press as far as is comfortable for 10 reps, keeping hips on the ground. Does this feel better, worse, or the same?
Level 1: Whichever test above made the pain improve, perform 10-15 reps every waking hour for the next 72 hours. Your brain and body needs to know that the spine is being restored to good health. Your spine likes motion. These techniques are based on the Robin McKenzie approach to healing the spine.
Level 2: In whichever position felt best, add in proper breathing. For example, if you felt best in the press up, inhale a belly full of air for 3 seconds while laying flat on your stomach, exhale and press up for 3 seconds, inhale fill your belly with air as you descend for 3 seconds, exhale and press up for 3 seconds. Perform this motion with the breath for 1 full minute every waking hour!
Level 3: While performing the Level 2 version, try to listen to the breath for the entire minute. (Yes, you’re now meditating 🙂 ). Meditation and breath work have proven to be healing for those who suffer with chronic or recurring low back pain. Many of you may think that you do not have time for this sort of thing. You are wrong.
Make this 1 minute every hour YOUR time to meditate, slow the mind, and breathe. With this very therapeutic movement, focus your energy on letting go of tension every time your bend over or press up.
Letting go of unnecessary tension will help you. You will be surprised at how much our minds and bodies are connected. Research shows that when your mind feels stressed with the tasks and issues you face, your body responds by adding tension in the muscles. By letting go of as much bodily tension as you can with this 1 minute exercise, your brain will find more calm, and your low back pain will dissipate in time.
What do you have to lose? Nothing, and you will have gained a bit of calm as well as low back relief.
So to recap: For just 1 minute every waking hour, perform the drill that felt the BEST for your spine. With every 3 second exhale as you press up or bend over let go of as much tension in your body as possible. Let that be your focus for the entire 1 minute of slow, mechanical, very therapeutic and healing movement.
Once you have cleared the first 72 hours, continue performing this technique at least 3 times a day for 30 days. After 30 days perform 1 of the 4 tests each day for 1 minute with the breath. Mechanically this will help restore healthy segmental motion to your spine which will keep your pain away for normal daily activities.
To get more tools and methods to relieve low back pain, including an awesome e-guide based introduction to our philosophy, go to www.thelowbackfix.com.
What are you waiting for? It is infinitely harder to be in pain than do something about it! You are in good hands!