How to Self Assess and Optimize your Lower Back Health - Movement-Rx

How to Self Assess and Optimize your Lower Back Health

What have you been missing out on because of your low back pain?

If you’re like 80% of adults, you’ve had low back pain at SOME point in your life. Maybe you can barely remember a time when your body felt WELL.

We’ve worked with countless leaders who have lost track of their health in their pursuit of excellence at work. They often don’t realize how far they’ve deviated from well-being until they play in the yard with their kids or join in on a volleyball game and end up sore for the next 4 days. But leaders NEED to prioritize their well-being for the good of themselves, their org, and their families.

Dr. Theresa went LIVE on April 10, 2024 to talk about how you can self-assess and optimize your low back health.

Watch the full recording if you want the details and a video walk-through of the movements. Read below for a brief summary of what to test and how to fix it. 

#1: Self-Assess: Does your spine bend and twist easily?

We need to know where we’re starting to know where we need to go.  So. . .do you know how well your low back is functioning??

Test 1 –  Low Back Flexion: Bend over to touch your toes. You SHOULD be able to reach them easily. But the quality is important too:

  • Can you keep your legs straight?
  • What does it FEEL like?
  • What’s stretching? Hamstrings? Upper back? Low Back?
  • Take note of whether or not you have pain.

Test 2 – Upper Back Rotation: Place your feet together and cross your arms across your chest. Now rotate in both directions. Tune in and assess the quality:

  • Can you rotate your shoulders to about 45 degrees?
  • Is there a difference between right and left?
  • How does it FEEL?
  • Do you have any pain?

When we sit often during the day, our spines don’t get much movement or variability. And over time, if we’re not using it, we can lose it.

#2: Self-Assess: How is your hip strength?

Your hips are directly responsible for stabilizing and supporting your low back. But after age 30, if we’re not working on our strength and muscle mass, you can bet it’s on the decline.

Test 3 – Single Leg Squat:  Stand in front of a knee height chair (without wheels). While standing on one leg, sit to your chair (using only one leg) and return to standing. Repeat and perform for 30 seconds.

  • How many did you get in 30 seconds? Aim for 15 reps.
  • How did it FEEL?
  • Was one side significantly harder than the other?

Start training this movement and re-test yourself in one month.

 #3: Optimize: Incorporate these 3 tests into your warmup or cool-down.

In this case, the tests ARE the treatment.

Low back feeling tight with bending?? You probably need more bending!  Tight with rotation? Incorporate more rotation into your daily movement snacks. Weak hips?  Use the single leg chair squats to build it!

These movements are also a great way to warm up for a workout, whether it’s a strength workout or a cardiovascular workout. Or you can add these into a brief 4 minute morning routine to wake up your body.

Your wellbeing is CRITICAL to how you show up as a leader in your work AND your life.  Low back pain or stiffness should NOT hold you back from getting active.

How to dive deeper?

At Movement Rx, we are in the business of creating teams that lead and work better from a place of wellbeing. Because if you don’t make time for your wellbeing now, you’ll have to make time for disease later. 

We’re leading an immersive and freeing weekend designed to help you take back control of your time and re-focus on what’s actually important to you: your wellbeing.

Click HERE to schedule a Workshop Discovery Call

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