Hello and welcome to 7 days to a better back! The following series of videos will consist of elements of the rehab process that we would go through with a lower back pain patient in clinic.

The exercise series will cover the generic rehab but for a one-to-one assessment please contact us here for a call back. They are a guide only and not individualised.

If you have a history of cancer, urinary dysfunction, lower back pain associated with a fever or chill, unexplained weight loss, nocturnal pain, saddle anaesthesia, progressive or severe neurological deficits or have lower back pain due to trauma then please contact your GP before completing the exercises.

Please note: if any of these exercises make your pain worse please contact us.

Day 1 – Nasal breathing

This video is going to discuss nasal breathing, which is where we are going to put our diaphragm through its full range of movement which is going to make the pelvic floor also go through its full range of movement. We are going to work a lot on our ribcage elevation as well as depression which is going to get the obliques firing nicely as well as lengthening through the lower back.

The idea behind this breathing technique is to get ourselves into what we call “our rest and digest state” more often which is the parasympathetic nervous system where our heart rate reduces, our breathing rate reduces and we get a lot more oxygen to our muscles rather than being in the sympathetic nervous system which we are normally in when we breathe in but when we breathe in a lot and we are in the sympathetic nervous system, we have a higher heart rate, higher breathing rate, higher stress levels but also we tend to use our neck muscles more. We breathe using our neck, our shoulders get more use, we struggle to relax and we don’t put our diaphragm through its full range of movement which leads onto other complications.

How to:

Place your tongue on the roof of your mouth as if you are saying “na, na, na” (behind the front teeth). Then what you are going to do is very slowly, inhale through our nose as slow as possible, when you get to where you can’t breathe in anymore, hold it for 1 second and then breathe out as slow as possible. As you breathe out, you will feel your abs kicking in and feel you are leaning forwards. What’s happening is you are depressing your ribcage, when you get to the end and you can’t breathe out anymore…. Hold…. And again breathe in again very gently through the nose trying to keep it nice and controlled. Hold when you breathe in as far as you can and then exhale. Everything is as slow and controlled as possible, we are working on getting the obliques working, bring the ribcage down as well as lengthening through the back as the diaphragm goes through its full range of movement of flattening and relaxes. We are trying to allow the shoulders and neck muscles to not do any of the work while we are breathing.  

Watch the video below to see the techniques.

Day 2 – Sitting Posture

This video is all about sitting posture. So a lot of the time when we have lower back pain we sit like stiff and upright. You can almost feel (if you put your hands at the lower part of the back you can feel the muscles clenching. So if you clench your fist as hard as you can for half and hour, those muscles are going to be irritated and feel sore. It is no surprise that the lower back feel the same.

So what we want to do is be able to sit in a relaxed position so we need the shoulders to come forwards and the lower back to allow the chair to support it. Using a sigh, practice sighing as you sit back. Then sit in this position and get comfortable in it.

We often get told that slouching is really bad for you but actually in this position it is very good for you. The ribcage is depressed a little, the abs are working and we have length through our relaxed back muscles.

Watch the video below to see the techniques.

Day 3 – Sitting slouches

Day three is “the sitting slouch”, what we’re going to look at is incorporating the first day of the nasal breathing, the second day of sitting comfortably (being able to slouch in sitting) and now we’re actually going to try and reach to the floor.

How to:

I’m in my sitting position, my shoulders are forward my back is nicely relaxed, my knees are at a 90 degree angle them.

  • Take my chin down to my chest
  • Hands can either be together or flat
  • Reach down to the floor
  • Go as far as comfortable
  • When you’re down at the bottom incorporate that nasal breathing so nice and slow in through the nose…… pause at the end of the inhalation and then exhale nice and slowly taking as long as possible.
  • Really feel your abs engaging as your breathing out…. pause at the end and hold for a second and then inhale under control so nice and slow again….. pause at the end of the inhale and exhale.
  • As you come back up push your feet and come back up into a sitting position
  • What we are looking for is to really work on our ribcage mobility taking it through full range of movement as well as incorporating our nasal breathing which is taking the diaphragm through its full range getting the obliques working really nice as well as lengthening through those back muscles.

Day 4 – Isometric obliques

So in this exercise video, we are going to look at our obliques and some low level oblique work to initiate the movement and initiate the motor output to them. They are very important in the ribcage depression and retraction to help us go through a full range of movement. If they don’t tolerate very well then we can often get lower back pain (especially when leaning back or leaning forward and as well as rotation work and sideways as they have to lengthen and contact all the time when we are moving around.

How to do it:

  • Lay on your back
  • Bend your knees
  • Push your hand into the opposite knee
  • The shoulders is to come slightly off the bed and press into the inside of the knee (increase the pressure as you would go through the gears driving a car) slowly increase that pressure up to 5th gear which doesn’t need to be more than 50%
  • Hold for 10 seconds, relax for 10 seconds and repeat that 10 times

Day 5 – Posterior knee stability

In this exercise video, we are going to look at working are posterior knee stability. This where the hamstring and the calf work in co-contraction which will allow the glutes to do their job. It is very important that at the muscles in the lower body (the quads, hamstrings, calf and glutes) do their fair share of the work in distributing load. What happens in lower back is that we have an insufficiency in one of the muscles in the lower leg and the glute gets overloaded and eventually sends signals up to the brain. The brain interprets the signals and sends a protective response which is in the form of pain and as such lower back pain.

How to:

  • Lay on your back
  • Push the foot into the floor
  • Push through the midfoot
  • Squash an orange under the foot
  • Legs slightly bent (have the foot as far away from you as possible but keep the foot flat on the floor)
  • Hold for 6 seconds and relax for 6 seconds, 3 sets.

Day 6 – The wall press

In this exercise video, we are going to look at the force transmission through the upper limb. So very much like yesterdays video through the lower limb. The forearm, biceps, triceps, deltoids and the pec have to transmit the force through the body. If they don’t do their job, if there is an insufficiency throughout the chain then the neck, and the lower back (the lats attach at the shoulders and lower back) we can suffer an overload injury again giving you pain. It is very important that every exercise we do incorporate the forearms, biceps, triceps and deltoids. We need to make sure the chain is working sufficiently and it is tolerating load at every stage. We don’t want one area to be doing too much.

How to:

  • Bend our elbows
  • Push into the wall (through mid-part of the hand)
  • Hold for 6 seconds, relax for 6 seconds
  • Avoid excessive bending of the elbow
  • Build up tension to 50%

Day 7 – Standing slouches

We are going to incorporate the previous exercises and do a standing slouch. Nasal breathing, ribcage mobility, getting the lower limb to do all the work putting the back under less risk as it is doing less work.

How to:

  • Standing position
  • One foot slightly in front of the other
  • Drop your head to the chest
  • Round the shoulders
  • Reach for the toes
  • Slight bend in the knee
  • Nasal breathing at the bottom
  • Remember the pause at the end of the breath
  • Squash the orange through the front foot and push back to standing

Congratulations and thank you for following our 7 days to a better back series. We hope you have found the series useful and you feel your back is feeling better. If you would like a one-to-one session either virtual or face-to-face then follow this link.