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Low Back Pain Exercises (Our Favorite Brain Training Strategies – Part 7!)

Video Highlights

-- Finding the most comfortable seated position
-- Combining multiple spinal motions from the neck down to the low back
-- How to add load for more challenge

Hi. I’m Dr. Eric Cobb of Z-Health Performance.  And today, we’re going to go through a mobility series for the low back.

If you are new to this series, for the last six or seven weeks, we’ve been talking about different approaches that you can use to individualize your own rehabilitation for low back pain. So we’re going to continue on that theme today.

If you’re new to Z-Health Performance, for the last two decades, we’ve specialized in working with world-class doctors, therapists, coaches, and movement professionals of all sorts.

So if you find this information interesting, make sure to subscribe to the channel and check out all of our free resources. Alright. So we have covered a lot of information about the low back.

One of the things I keep hammering on is that there is no one perfect low back pain protocol because your history, your background are all going to change what’s going to work well for you. but we have covered, as I said, a lot of different approaches. 

So what I wanna focus on today is beginning to build mobility into the low back and motor control in a safe way.

In order to do that, I’m gonna have you sit down.

Once you’re seated, I want you to use the same concept that we applied before which is use rotations, change the pelvic tilt until you can find a position in which you can sit with the highest level of comfort.

I don’t want you to be in pain. So if you can be in a just nice neutral position, that’s fantastic.

If you have to add some rotation, some changes to the low back position or pelvic position, then that’s going to be yourstarting position. So what we’re gonna do is we’re going to approach the low back by mobilizing above it first.

And this is gonna be a very simple process We’re gonna begin with the neck. So I want you to keep your chest still, abdomen still, pelvis still, and we’re just gonna take the head and neck, and we’re gonna look up and back. and then we’re gonna do that to the opposite side, up and back.

Notice how that makes your low back feel. After we’ve looked up and back, we’re now going to look down to the ground. and we’ll come back, opposite side, down to the ground. Once those are starting to feel comfortable to you, I want you to do five to ten reps of each of those. we’re now gonna start to combine.

So I’m gonna look up and back and then down on the same side and then up and back, down on the opposite side. So we’re basically imagining our nose is drawing a bow tie, if you wanna think of it that way.

So we’re starting with neck mobilizations. After you’ve done that, see how your low back is feeling. We’re now gonna repeat that process, but we’re going to include the mid back into it.

So again, we’re gonna try and hold the pelvis and abdomen relatively still. We will now use the spine, so we’re gonna rotate and look up and back. and then flex a little bit and look down at the floor. Rotate. Flex and look down at the floor. So we are beginning to move the low back very gently.

We’re not trying to engage it on its own yet or as a part of this movement chain yet, we are trying to work the spine above it. Now, after you’ve done the neck, you’ve done the neck and mid back.

We’re now gonna do a more combined movement. So I’m now going to be using my lumbar spine, my low back, my mid back or thoracic spine, my cervical spine, I’m going to rotate and look up.

And you can see I’m rotating through my low back and now I’m going to flex like I’m doing a little mini crunch down toward the ground only in a comfortable range of motion.

And then I would repeat that to the opposite side. Up and down. Notice as I’m doing this initial mobilization, I’m keeping my hands close to my chest. You can keep them on your legs. You can even hold on to the chair to provide a little bit more stability. I don’t care what you do with your hands. I just want you to be comfortable. Now after you’ve been able to do that and it’s starting to feel pretty good, we then want to add some load to it.

The way that we’re gonna add load to it is by inducing some leverage with our arm position. rather keeping my hands now close to my chest or on my legs, I’m gonna put my hands together and I’m gonna put them in front of me. It can go all the way to the front, but normally I would recommend keep about a 90-degree elbow bend. 

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Now I’m gonna be rotating and moving my arms along with my body. And as you do this, you’ll notice that you’re going to get increased demands on the low back and the rest of the spine. Finally, after you’ve progressed from ninety degrees to fully straight.

We can then add a load to it. This is about an eight pound medicine ball.

So now I could be here. And again, I thinking, rotate everything up and back, flexing down to the ground, rotating up and back, and flexing down the ground.

Super simple idea, but the cool part about this exercise is it combines rotation with extension, and flexion, as well as some lateral bending.

These are all movements that we need to restore to a relatively strong degree of control and comfort throughout the spine. So this is one of my favorite exercises to begin teaching people to use.

After you’ve done this in the chair, you can then progress to doing the same thing standing. really, really powerful, simple thing to remember whenever you’re trying to improve your motor control and comfort in any movement position for the spine.

So I hope you find this one really useful. 

It is kind of a graduation exercise to add on to everything that we’ve already covered in the low back series. 

So good luck with it and let us know how it goes.

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