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Back Pain Exercises – The Glute Bridge

October 25, 2010

First, just a little preamble to the next four posts.  Part of taking sustainable healthy steps is taking the time to do it well.  For some great information on how to maintain good habits I recommend Ian Newby-Clark’s blog My Bad Habits (specifically the What Went Right series of posts).  It’s an evidence-based, and better yet, reasonable approach to making changes that last.  And that’s why I’m rolling out these exercises for back pain prevention one at a time.  I think they’re important enough to be part of a back-healthy routine.  This slower approach will give you a chance to become familiar with each exercise with out becoming overloaded.

If you currently have back pain, do not start these exercises.  It’s the equivalent to getting someone who has a sprained ankle to start doing squats.  Although movement and exercise are important factors in recovery, it can set up a bad pattern.  As well, if you start to feel pain while doing the exercises, then stop.  Your body is telling you that it isn’t ready for them, you’re doing too much too soon, or you’re doing them wrong.  Whatever the case is, it’s best to see a health professional familiar with these exercises.

All of the following exercises incorporate the three main principles set out in the last post:

1)  Keep the spine in a neutral position

2)  Actively brace all of the muscles around your core

3)  Breathe independently of the exercise being performed

The Glute-Bridge

Beginner:  Lie flat on your back, arms at your side, knees bent at 45 degrees with feet shoulder width apart.  Raise your hips off the floor until an imaginary straight line can be made from your knee, through your hip, and into your shoulder.  Start by holding the position for five seconds and return to the floor.  Gradually over the next few weeks (months?) hold the position for longer intervals up to a maximum of sixty seconds.  If at any time your body starts to shake/wobble/lose form, you’re done.  That means it’s been enough.

Advanced:  Do everything as above but now slowly extend one leg forward from the knee and slowly draw it back in.  This will add a rotational component to the exercise but make sure to not lose your position.  Your hips should still be in line with your knees and shoulders equally on both sides.  Try it next with the other leg and alternate between the two making sure to keep good form.

For more information on exercise and back pain relief contact your Guelph Chiropractor at Clear Path Chiropractic Health Centre.

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