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 Quadratus Lumborum - The Dreaded Lower Back Muscle.

One of the biggest reasons we are called upon to help alleviate and reduce pain is for the lower back. Its safe to say its the mother of all joint pain.Not only is it the most painful its the most crippling. 

If you have ever experienced back pain you know that your back is involved in virtually every movement. Sitting up, bending, walking, and even sneezing.

The main function of the lumbar spine (lower back) muscle is to hold up the weight of your upper body. Its primarily a stability Joint . Your lower back stabilisers your trunk while you stand up right, bend over, twist all while protecting your spinal cord from injury. Having strong postural muscles, flexible joints above and below, and good movement mechanics all contribute to a healthy, pain free lower back. Here are the most practical and effective ways to prevent lower back pain.

1. Activate your glutes - For as much attention the glutes get from a aesthetic perspective, they are underrated for their muscular power and role in virtually every lower body movement. 

If you have a history of lower back pain, you should always work your glutes and before exercise they need to be warmed up with activation exercises, If nothing else this will remind your body that your glutes are the primary movers during squatting and hinging and that the small muscles of the lower back should only act as synergistic supporters (this includes picking up the washing basket and a heavy bag of tools onsite). There are dozens of glute activation exercises worth exploring and adding to your routine, But one that is renowned to help all ages is the - Glute Bridge with a band above knees .

2.Mobilise your joints surrounding your lower back. - The lower back muscle is built to be a stable joint not a mobile joint. Focus on mobilising the joints above and below, your thoracic (middle back) and your hip joints. Ie: the old cat-cow middle back stretch done gently and Worlds greatest stretch, hip openers to create space and mobility. 

3. Teach your body to hip hinge properly. Most people bend forward (hip hinge) to pick up something using their back. Excessively flexing the lower back and thoracic spine, this is a very dangerous movement fault that over time does a lot of damage.

4. Build your Transverse Abdominis muscle (TVA). The TVA is one of the primary deep layer core muscle, located in your lower abdomen, its primary purpose is to stabilise your pelvis during movement. It tightens, stabilises and protects. A) practice and perfect the perfect “suck it in” manoeuvre to develop your TVA. B) Focus on correct posture. C) Use core stabilisation exercises to protect your spine and incorporate those movement habits into your daily activities. D) Brace your core before heavy movements.

5. Build muscular endurance in your lower back. This will be the most crucial step you take toward a prevent and resolve lower back pain. Back pain is almost always caused by cumulative stress- such as repetitive use injuries or poor movement mechanics. Without sufficient endurance, your lower back cannot maintain good posture throughout the day, let alone maintain optimal spinal alignment during exercises that cause fatigue. Running vertical along both sides of your spine is a thin yet powerful muscle called the multifidus. From your tailbone to your upper back. The multifidus and TVA are responsible for sending messages through your spine to your brain about your core’s current stability status. The Horsestance exercise is an excellent tool for teaching stability through your entire posterior chain and improving lower back endurance. When not performed correctly it’s a waste of time. 

6. Walk every day - Even 10-20 mins a day improves lumbar function, increases spinal muscle blood flow and will decrease dependence on pain killers. The old saying use it or lose it.

With these steps in place you will be on the path to a healthier, pain free lower back. For more information on these exercises book a session with me to teach you.

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