Learn to control your lower back and pelvis
If you’re experiencing pain, tension, or instability anywhere in the body, there is a good chance that the lumbopelvic region is involved. It’s the connection between the legs and the upper body, and the body’s center of gravity. The forces from most of our daily activities pass through this region, and can be affected by minor changes in position. Whether we are sitting, running, or rolling over in bed, the position of the lower back and pelvis can determine how the body handles the strain of movement.
Your back should be Switzerland: neutral
Think of the low back s having three positions: arched, slouched, and neutral. While it’s normal for the back to go through each of these positions throughout the day, problems tend to arise when we do too much in either the ‘arched’ or ‘slouched’ positions, and not enough in the ‘neutral’ position.
Too much arching is bad for your abs and butt
When we arch the lower back for prolonged periods, such as when trying to sit up straight, standing with our knees locked, sleeping on our front, or exercising with bad technique, the muscles on the lower back and the front of the hips tend to get tight and sore.
Note: If you struggle to sleep on your back, this may be because you are a chronic archer.
This tension restricts movement and prevents the muscles in the core and butt from doing their best work. Left unchecked, the imbalance continues to develop over time as the body starts to rely on it’s strong, tight lower back while neglecting the weaker glues and core.
This results in underuse of the largest muscles in the body (the glutes), reducing overall strength, power, and endurance. It can also contribute to problems in many areas of the body. When the glutes aren’t working optimally, the hips, knees, Achilles tendon, and feet can become overloaded and painful. Likewise, underactivity in the core can result in mid back and shoulder issues.
Too much slouching leads to strain on the spine
When the back is slouched, most of the muscles that attach to the spine are relaxed. This puts more stress on the joints and ligaments. Over time, prolonged slouching can weaken the muscles of the back, and a sudden exposure to load, such as when lifting an object or twisting, can result in ligament or disc injury.
These injuries are responsible for pain and numbness shooting into the legs. They often cause the muscles of the back to spasm in an effort to protect the spine, which can be painful and restrict movement.
The Goldilocks position
The ‘neutral’ position is between slouching and arching. The muscles of the lower back are active, but not overloaded, because they are supported by the muscles in the core and butt.
Find neutral while sitting by placing your hands around the hips with the index finger on the bony bit on the front of the hip, and the thumb wrapped around behind to the bony bit on the back of the pelvis. Imagine you are holding a bowl full of water. The lower back and pelvis are in a neutral position when the bowl is flat and no water is spilling out.
You can also look at the waistline of the pants or underwear from the side. It usually sits on the two bony bits of the hip, so you will be in ‘neutral’ when it lies parallel to the floor.
These techniques tell you where neutral is in sitting and standing, but not how to achieve and maintain it comfortably. What about when you’re squatting, jumping, or lifting shopping bags? Controlling your lower back during loaded activities is essential for optimal function.
Build a strong and flexible lower back
The Phyx app has all the tools you need to improve your control of he lower back, and much more. These include exercise progressions that start with the fundamentals and guide you all the way through to functional movements.
Phyx also contains step-by-step guides to modifying your posture and biomechanics during a range of daily activities. Do things like sit, squat, climb stairs, or carry a backpack in the best way for your body.
Getting started can be tough
It can be difficult to control the lower back at first, because the muscles that adjust the position of the pelvis are underdeveloped, and they are fighting against opposing muscles groups which are tight and restrictive.
Phyx addresses this by stretching and strengthening the right muscle groups. It even allows you to track your improvement over time, and sends you daily encouragement. If you need extra help, you can book a tele-health appointment from within the app.
What can you Phyx?
Phyx can help with many issues across every major body part. Many people are surprised by the improvements they experience, even after being told that their condition is ‘wear and tear’, or will need surgery to improve.
Try Phyx for free from the App Store today, or contact us for more information. Be sure to sign up to our mailing list for content you won’t find on the blog, delivered straight to your inbox.