Excessive forward rotation of the pelvis tends to increase the likelihood of low back pain. It increases the amount of bend in the lumbar spine which can “pinch” the back of the lower discs and increase the likelihood of painful muscle spasms. Strategies that reduce the forward rotation of the pelvis can help reduce low back pain. The following four strategies are generally helpful but always listen to your body – stop if it doesn’t feel right.
MECHANICALLY STRETCH OUT THE FRONT-OF-GROIN MUSCLES
- Inelegant “loo” stretch (short adductors)
Sit on a step with knees wide apart and feet under knees. Gently press out on knees with your elbowsBend forward and use the weight of your shouldersHold a very light stretch for 2-3 minutes. Feel the stretch over the inner aspect of the upper thighs.
- Happy baby pose (a yoga alternative)
This is a similar stretch performed lying on your back.
ELECTRICALLY RELEASE THE FRONT-OF-GROIN MUSCLES
- Pelvic activation
Lie flat on your back with knees bent up and feet flat on the floor. Roll your pelvis up for 5 seconds, then relax down for 5 seconds. Repeat 12 times (2 minutes total). Try and perform 5 sets per day.
- Pelvic floor exercise
Alternately use an exercise that slowly raises and lowers your pelvic floor. E.g. draw your pelvic floor up towards your chest (like a post-maternity exercise).
STRENGTHEN AND SHORTEN THE BUTT MUSCLES
- Rear leg raise
Hold onto the back of a chair and raise one straight leg out the back. Hold for 10 seconds, relax for 10 seconds. Repeat 3 times per side. OR
- One-legged squat (gluteal activation)
Stand flat on one foot, with the other one lifted slightly off the ground. Lightly touch the wall for balance if required. Lean slightly forward keeping your back straight. Gently squat down and feel the butt (gluteal) muscles tighten. Always keep the whole foot flat on the floor. Squat for 10 seconds and then straighten up for 10 seconds. Repeat 3 times on each side. Don’t squat any lower than a knee bend of 90°.
RELEASE THE “HAND BRAKE” TO ACTIVATE THE CORE MUSCLES
- Break your knees when standing
Most people stand in “power-saving mode” - with their knees locked back. This tends to turn off (inhibit) the core muscles and prevent them from supporting your low back. The solution is to stand with “soft knees” – so they are very slightly bent (5-10mm off locked).
Dr. Chris Homan
MBBS FRACGP FACRRM DRANZCOG PGDipMSM(Otago)