In this video Nate and Nicole from our Physiotherapy team at Glen Abbey Physiotherapy will go over some great starter exercises for low back injuries. Learning how to properly activate your core, specifically how to turn on your transverse abdominis (TA) the inner core muscle, is very important as it acts as a brace for your back making it an integral part of any low back pain corrective program. The first thing you want to do when when working to activate your TA is to lay on your back with your knees bent, take one hand and find the big bony landmark on the front of your hip, then place your fingers just to the inside of this bone on the muscles. With your other hand, place it under your low back feeling for the arch or curve. To turn on your TA you want to think about drawing your belly button in towards your spine while tilting your pelvis under, flattening the curve of your low back into your hand. The goal of the first variation of this exercise is to turn on your TA, holding the contraction for 5 seconds, while still controlling your breathing. To start, you want to aim to perform this exercise for 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions per day (a 5 second hold while breathing being one repetition).
Once this becomes comfortable and easy, you can make the exercise more challenging by adding in arm and leg movement, this exercise is also known as a deadbug. The deadbug is a great exercise to help mimic the muscle slings used for walking, this will help to train your core to protect your low back during activity. For this, start with your arms held in front of you at 90 degrees, and your knees bent with your feet on the table. Start with your TA activation and while maintaining the contraction, extend one arm back beside your head, while extending the opposite leg out, with the heel hovering 1-2 inches above the table. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side. To make this more challenging you can perform the exercise with your feet off the ground, hips and knees flexed at 90 degrees, for your starting position. For both of these progressions make sure that your low back stays nice and flat against the table, you’ll know if you’ve lost your core activation if you start to arch your back off the table.
Once you have mastered the deadbug, you can move on to more challenging and more functional core exercises. The goal is to get you doing standing core exercises to better mimic the activities you are trying to get back to! Stay tuned for our next video where Michelle and Jessica will go over some great core exercise progressions!