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Back Pain Exercises – The Side Bridge

November 15, 2010

This is the third back pain exercise in a series of four.  Again, some things to note:

  • If you currently have back pain, do not start these exercises.  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.
  • Remember that this exercise incorporates the main principles of healthy back exercises set out in Low Back Pain – Exercise Principles.

First, try this…

Let’s begin.  Position yourself on the floor so that you are propped up on your elbow while lying on your side.  Your knees should be together, one on top of the other, and your feet should be tucked behind you.  To achieve a neutral spine position start by bringing your hips forward so that they are in-line with your knees below and shoulders above.  The last step is to now lift your hips off of the floor (imagine doing the glute-bridge, but on your side).  Hold this position for about five seconds to start.  Slowly, over the next few weeks, hold the position for longer periods, up to sixty seconds.  Try both sides.

Then, try this…

If you are able to comfortably hold the above position for up to sixty seconds (and that means with good form, no shaking or wobbling) then you can progress on to this next step.  The positioning is the same as above except that your legs should be fully extended with the foot of your top leg on the floor in front of your bottom leg.  Again, try for five seconds and slowly work your way up to one minute.  Try both sides.

A few more things to note:

  • This can be a very challenging exercise, especially when trying for the first time.  If it feels too difficult you can try this:  Use the same positioning as described in the the second part but instead of leaning against the floor, you can lean up against a wall. It’s the same idea, except that you place your feet away from the wall about twenty four inches while leaning on to your elbow (make sure that there is good traction between your feet and the floor so that you don’t slip).
  • Some people can feel excess pressure on their shoulder.  To help with stability, place your non-supporting hand over the opposite shoulder and hold tight to give support.  Of course, if it still hurts your shoulder, then don’t continue the  exercise.

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

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