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April 20, 2010

My Morning Back Routine

I work on myself every morning to alleviate my back pain so I can get out of bed and have a mobile day. I have right SI joint pain, so I start my morning by laying on my right side and attempting to relax everything. Doing this makes my back pain slowly fade away. Next I lay on my back and do pelvic tilts, bridging, and crunches. Next I lay with the bottom of my feet together and squeeze my heels -- this activates the medial hamstrings and adductor muscles of the inner thigh at the same time. As I get stronger, I will use this position to do my bridges.

Also, I perform the "shotgun method" popular for adjusting the pelvic bones. The requires a belt and some firm pillows. Lay on your back with your knees bent and squeeze your knees together. This works gluteus minimus. You may hear some gristly, rubberband-like snapping. Next, put a firm pillow between your knees and squeeze. This works gluteus medius and is usually the culprit in low back and hip problems, throwing off people's walking and balance when it is weak. The resulting sound may be a pop as the pubic symphasis realigns. Finally, add a second firm pillow and squeeze again. This activates gluteus maximus, which rarely gives people a problem because it is such a large, strong muscle. Next use the belt around your knees, first at the wide position and spread your knees out against the tension, first at the gluteus maximus position and then tighten the belt to the gluteus medius position, and then the gluteus minimus position.

Finally comes stretching. IT band stretching is essential on both legs, and will likely be be tight on the problem side. This stretch can be done both standing or sitting. Piriformis stretch is also helpful and just feels so darn good. Put your ankle on the opposite thigh above the knee and pull both legs to your chest, or, if you are sitting, bend over your legs keeping your back straight. Double knees to chest is also a helpful general stretch for the hips and low back.

Finally, comes the psoas stretch. The psoas is the deep hip flexor and is usually tight on the problem side. Lying face up on the bed, drop the leg over the edge of the bed. If this does not give you enough stretch, you may want to put your opposite foot on your lower thigh to add some resistance. Hang onto something! You could fall off the bed. Still not getting enough stretch? You can lay on your stomach with the affected leg on the bed, sofa, futon or floor (if you do the floor put a towel roll under your knee). Be careful with this if you have a bulging disc condition. If you feel like the inner (medial) fibers are not getting the stretch they need, try drawing up the pelvic floor while sucking your navel to your spine. That should do the trick. I tried that this morning and it worked for me.

No back pain for me today!

Posted by linda at April 20, 2010 9:17 AM

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