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Lower back pain is extremely common, estimated to affect more than half of the adult population annually with more than 10% experiencing frequent episodes.
A common factor in lower back complaints is poor trunk stability. The mobile nature of the spine means it needs to be well supported by the muscles surrounding it. Weakness in the trunk stabilisers exposes the discs and joints of the lower back to increased stress when moving and lifting which over time can cause damage and pain. In chronic cases the lower back can become so deconditioned that it is unable to tolerate much load at all which can make rehabilitation difficult.
The side bridge is a fantastic exercise which strongly activates the trunk stabilisers but with low spine loads. This means it is generally very well tolerated, even in those with very poorly conditioned backs.
How to perform the side bridge exercise for lower back pain:
- Start the exercise lying on one side on your knees, feet and forearms, with your hips and knees slightly bent (image 1- below)
- Your feet, hips and shoulders should all be in one line.
- Lift your lower hip up slightly and pull your lower shoulder down away from your ear so that your spine begins to straighten—this is the ready position (image 2)
- Move into the plank position raising your hips up and forward (image 3).
- Hold the position for 2 breaths before relaxing back into the ready position.
- Try and breathe into your stomach and the sides of your lower ribs rather than into your shoulders.
- You should feel the muscles on the bottom side of the trunk of the trunk working hard.
- Repeat up to 12-15 repetitions
Other tips (including alternative exercise for lower back pain) can be found here.
Are you suffering from Lower back Pain? Click here to find out how Treatment at Dynamic Health could help.
This post was written by Steffen Toates. Steffen is a chiropractor at Dynamic Health Chiropractic in Jersey, Channel Islands. For more information about Steffen click here.