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Low back pain is by far the most common source of discomfort we deal with. The irony is, a lot of times what we feel is rooted in the lower back is actually caused by muscles not in the back at all. In this video, I’m going to show you how the glute medius could be the real cause of your back pain and a quick exercise you can do to relieve your discomfort instantly. Once gone, I’m also going to show you a few additional exercises you can do to make sure your low back pain never returns.
The gluteus medius is sandwiched between the glute maximus and minimus and lies in and around the hip area. The role of the muscle is to abduct your hip or lift your leg out to the side in either standing or side lying and to keep your pelvis level whenever you take a step. Prolonged sitting during the day as well as an unequal weight distribution when standing are two of the most common reasons for this muscle to get weak and imbalanced.
You can quickly test to see if you have the makings of a weak glute medius by standing with your feet shoulder width apart and lifting one foot off the ground. First take note whether or not your opposite hip drops significantly. If it does, this would indicate a glute weakness on that side. You would repeat with the opposite foot as well. When you do this you would also want to see if you had to dramatically shift your weight to one side just to lift that foot off the ground. If you do, this would indicate that you have an unequal weight distribution when standing and it would be especially troublesome when squatting.
To fix this quickly, you will want to lay down on the ground with your affected side on top. If your right lower back was bothering you then you would want to lie on your left hip. From here, take your thumb and place it on the area most sore. You should feel that this is going to happen just to the outside of the bony prominence of your pelvis. From here, push to hold back the trigger point and start flossing your leg down and in front of you and then back and up. Your hip should be extended and then lifted into abduction towards the ceiling (being sure to point the toes down to keep the glute medius in focus). Do this about 10 times until you feel the tension in the muscle release.
Now, you can burn out the spasm in the trigger point by getting into the fully contracted position of the glute medius muscle and holding as long as you can. Generally, because this muscle is often very weak, this may not be any longer than 30 seconds to a minute. Once you cannot hold it any more you will stand up and you should notice an immediate relief of the pain on that side.
This is the quick but not permanent fix for this problem. Since the underlying cause is weakness in the gluteus medius muscle you will want to back this up with some exercises for your low back that you can do a few times a week. I show you three options for this. The first is the hip bump against the wall. The second is called the sack swinger, and can be done with a dog leash if you don’t have a formal dip belt. The last is actually doing the same movement that you did for the treatment, but this time as a strengthening exercise for your low back.
Whatever you do, just be sure you are consistent. You will also see that as you relieve the tension in this muscle that your squat performance improves as well. Your depth should be increased and any low back pain that you felt by doing the exercise should be gone since you will now be able to do them with equal force through each leg.
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