Fix Lower Back Pain in Five Simple Recovery Steps
Lower back pain—that is pain in the part of the back between the ribs and your tailbone—is one of the chief complaints of athletes, professionals, and moms and dads alike. The causes of lower back pain are diverse, but the solutions form around a common nucleus of the lower back, hip flexors, hamstrings, adductors, and core. Try these simple recovery techniques and alleviate your lower back tension today!
- Find the Natural Curve in Your Lower Back
The lumbar curve of your lower back is the bend in your spine just above your tailbone. It carries much of your bodyweight and plays a large role anytime you want to move. Whether seated in a car or chair, bending over to put on your shoes, or turning your hips from side to side, the natural curve in your lower back is at work.
People commonly refer to problems in this area as (1) flat or (2) sway back. Flat back is the result of the muscles around your spine becoming rigid which prevents proper flexion, extension, and rotation around your pelvis. Sway back occurs when the curve in your lower back is over exaggerated causing your buttocks to protrude. This alters the weight distribution of your upper body over your pelvis and loads greater stress where your spine and tailbone meet. With any of these actions, your lower back experiences dysfunction and sometimes pain.
To enhance the natural curve of your lower back for those with flat back, keeping it pain free, functioning properly, and reducing susceptibility to injury, spend a few minutes each day reinforcing the curve. How? Rest on your back with your legs out long and position both WAVE5 domes in a comfortable spot above your tailbone, cradling your spine. Once in position, relax your body onto the tool and pull your belly button to your spine until you find your feel good pressure. This passive position uses gravity to naturally tilt your pelvis while the pressure pulls fluids back into the stiff or tender muscles of your lower back. Stay here for a few breaths and use your exhales to relax deeper into the stretch. When you’re ready, slowly roll to your side and off of the tools.
To ease the load for those with sway back, rest on your back with your feet planted and your knees bent. Position both WAVE5 domes on the muscle below the ridge of your hip. Once in position, relax your body onto the tool until you find your feel good pressure. This position holds your pelvis in place while gravity allows the muscles of your lower back to stretch. Breath through the stretch and use your exhales to relax deeper into the muscles. When you’re ready to come out of the posture, slowly roll to your side and off of the tools.
- Release Your Pelvis: Target Your Hip Flexors
Your hip flexors are a complex of muscles that work together to connect your legs and trunk. They allow you to bring your knee toward your torso (walking, running, or climbing stairs), help you bend your upper body forward (tying shoes, picking up kids, or petting furry friends), and assist with internal rotation of the hips (kicking a ball or crossing your legs). These muscles affect your lower back by pulling your pelvis forward. This “tilt” adds stress to the muscles that run along your spine and those attached to the back of your pelvis and ribs. This tilt forces your back muscles to work in an unfriendly way and causes strain and eventually pain.
To alleviate the strain from your hip flexors, lay flat on your belly with the two WAVE5 domes directly below your hip bones. Position your elbows below your shoulders and rest your forearms to the floor. Relax your body and slowly rock your hips side-to-side over the tools. This loosens portions of your quadriceps and adductors and lessens the effect these muscles have on your pelvis. This then reduces the strain on your lower back. Hang out here for a few breaths and use your exhales to sink further into the posture.
- Rest with “Straight“ Legs and Give Your Hamstrings Relief
Your hamstrings are the large group of muscles that make up the back portion of your upper leg. This muscle group spends much of day-to-day living in a seated position, which makes them tight and cranky. Your hamstrings influence many of the muscles throughout the back of your body, and the lower back is usually the first to be effected.
To release your hamstrings, rest on the floor with your legs out long in front of you. Maintain a slight bend in your knees to avoid hyperextending. Position the two WAVE5 domes at the top of your hamstrings–below your sit bones–and sit up with a tall, proud spine. Place your hands on your thighs and walk them toward your feet until you feel a slight stretch on the back of your legs. Pause and exhale. Use your breath with each stretch to relax into the pressure. Holding the pressure-stretch combination allows the muscles an opportunity to (1) adapt and ease into the pressure and (2) stretches the muscle from multiple anchors. Removing the tightness in this area leads to reduced lower back tension.
- Open Your Hips and Show Your Adductors Some Love
Like your hip flexors, the muscles of your inner thighs contribute in a similar way to lower back pain. Your inner thighs are your adductors. This group of muscles keeps your legs close to your midline (helping balance and stability), and assists with internal rotation and flexion of your hips. When these muscles are over-used or injured, they can alter the angle at which your pelvis rests and cause tension into your lower back and knee.
To open your hips, use the sphere of WAVE5 to apply pressure to your adductors. Begin on your belly with your target leg in half frog. Place the sphere at the upper most part of your inner thigh, near your groin, then bring your upper body to rest on the floor. Once you’re in position, use your breath and allow time for the pressure to sink in. When that spot experiences relief, move the sphere just above the inside of your knee while still in half frog and slowly lean into the tool. Find your feel good pressure. Both positions will increase the mobility of your hip and allow your pelvis to sit more naturally.
- Activate Your Core with a Focus on Rectus & Psoas
A strong core is key to a healthy and happy lower back. Your core consists of all the muscles below your rib cage to the bottom of your glutes. This includes your rectus abdominus (six pack abs), internal and external obliques (twisting abs), transverse abdominus (girdle or standing abs), glutes group (foundation support), and many others of your pelvic floor. Using your core muscles throughout the day will alleviate the stress and pain on your lower back. When your core muscles work together, all of the muscles in your body become more efficient. This allows you to jump, twist, run, generate power, and enhances balance.
To recover your core muscles and reduce lower back pain, lay on your belly with the twin WAVE5 domes positioned above your pelvic bone and below your rib cage. Rest your upper body to the floor and breathe easy. After a few breath cycles, remove the domes and turn on to your back. Place your hands on your stomach, pull your naval to your spine, and use your fingers to feel your abs contract. Recovering your abdominals garners great core activation and protects and relieves your lower back.
Other body regions constantly put stress on your lower back. It’s literally being pulled from different directions every day. Knowing how to target this area and the areas contributing to the discomfort in the your lower back are key to feeling your best and providing much desired relief. Taking a few minutes each day to care for these regions will result in more fluid movement and less pain.