In this unusual time we’re all experiencing, many of you will be working from home which is most likely not ‘set up’ for this! For example, soft seating or unsupportive chairs, the angle in which you monitor is set up, sitting for longer periods of time than usual etc.
All of these small things can be aggravators for any sort of back pain, whether that be upper or lower.
Lets start with lower:
Imagine your spine, they are like building blocks, it will enjoy being in a lovely perfect stack, much like when Jenga goes well. Luckily unlike Jenga if something goes a bit wonky your spine wont fall off! However, if we sit in a off set angle for a prolonged period of time things will start to feel a bit funny.
Your spine is made up of vertebrae and discs which are jelly like shock absorbers between the bones. The more we inversely curve forward, the more pressure we put on the discs. How many times have you bent over to put your socks on and your back has felt a twinge and locked up? It’s more than likely because we have been sitting more than usual and that twist or bend was just the last straw!
1: First things first, take breaks every hour, go for your walk outside, go make a coffee, water the plants, anything to get you up and moving.
2: If you can get or create a back support, mainly for your lumbar a cushion or towel for your lower back that can maintain that lumbar curve.
Below are 5 exercises to activate your Core, Glutes and Lower back - try them after your day of work or prolonged period of sitting.
Try to do each exercise 2-3 times and the reps between 12-15
(If you need to increase the rep scheme make sure you maintain the correct form and control)
1: Glute Bridges:
These can be done different ways, two legs, single leg and with a band around your knees. All shown in the videos.
1.1 Lie on your back with you heels on the floor, don’t have them too far away from your glutes.
1.2 Lift your hips off the floor by squeezing your bum and pushing through your heels, making sure you don’t go too high that you engage your lower back and it goes into extension.
1.3 Hold the position for 5 seconds at the top and control the hips down.
(If you are doing this on one leg, this stays the same but requires more control through one glute).
1.4 With the band around your knees, make sure you push your knees outwards into to the band as you lift your hips off the floor.
2.1 Lie on your side with your knees bent and your heels in line with your glutes, engage you core- you can have one hand on the floor to steady yourself.
2.2 Without moving your hips backwards and keeping your body in line, open your knees out to the side and create a ‘window/diamond’ between your legs, keeping your feet on top of each other squeeze your glutes together at the top of the movement and hold for 3 seconds, control your knees on the way down.
(This can be done also with a band around your legs just above your knees to add some resistance).
3.1 Lying on your front, with your legs straight and your core and glutes engaged. Place your arms straight above your head on the floor or place the back of your hands on your forehead.
3.2 Keeping your head in neutral with your chin towards your chest, lift your upper back off the floor and hold for 3-5 seconds.
(Control the movement when returning to the floor ad try and make the entire motion smooth and not jerky).
3.3 Ensure your legs don’t come off of the floor, you do this by keeping your core and glutes engaged throughout the performed reps.
4: Heel drops/Dead Bugs:
4.1 Lying on your back with your legs lifted to 90 degrees, in line with your hips like a table top, using one leg at a time, slowly and and under control, drop one heel to the floor.
4.2 As you drop your heel, breathe out and tighten you lower abdominals, slowly returning your leg to the table top position and repeating on the other leg.
4.3 You can place a thin towel under your lower back and try to maintain pressure on the towel as you lower your leg to the floor.
*The video will show you different progressions for this exercise.
5.1 The plank can be performed on your elbows or your hands and can also be on your knees or feet depending on your confidence and fitness level.
5.2 Making sure your elbows/hands are underneath your shoulders, lift your hips off of the floor with either your feet or knees in contact with the floor.
5.3 Whilst holding this position, maintain a straight line with your back by engaging your glutes and tightening your core.
5.4 Hold this position between 45 seconds and 90 seconds. You should only continue if you can maintain the tight position, if your hips drop to the floor and you begin to feel pressure in your lower back, stop the exercise or try to correct it.