Back pain can be the result of so many different things. If the source of your pain is some kind of damage to your discs or vertebrae, then the best place to start is with an appointment with our lumbar spine specialist in New Jersey for an accurate diagnosis and course of treatment.
There are also steps you can take on your own to increase your back’s health, and one of those things is strengthening the muscles that support your spine and body.
Though the core muscles like the abdominals tend to get most of the attention when it comes to addressing back pain, the truth is that there are other muscles that are just as important and which shouldn’t be neglected. Most important of all of these are the glutes. While your core muscles help you move your body from its center, the three major muscles that make up your glutes are essential to functional movement.
Let’s start by taking a look at what those three muscles are and what they do:
- Gluteus maximus extends our hip so that we can move our leg backwards. It also helps with external rotation.
- Gluteus minimus helps with abduction, or moving the leg away from the body
- Gluteus medius also helps with abduction.
Put more simply, the glutes are responsible for some of our most basic movements. They keep our hips stable and engage every time we walk, stand, sit, go up or down the stairs. You could not get out of bed without your glutes, and if that particular action (or any of the others listed above) causes pain or a sense of instability, weak glutes may be part of the problem.
How did you get weak glutes?
Much of the problem that people experience is a direct result of our sedentary lifestyle. If you sit at a desk all day, your glutes are much weaker then they would be if you were walking around. The weaker the glutes get, the more the muscles in your lower back have to compensate for them. No matter how many crunches and ab exercises you do, a strong core cannot make up for what your glutes are supposed to do. The end result is a myriad of aches and pains, most notably in the knees and the lower back.
Though there are plenty of glute exercises, one of the most effective is a straightforward and simple one that you can easily do in your own home. Simply lie face down on the floor, resting your forehead on your hands and positioning your legs outstretched behind you with your feet hip-width apart. Pull your belly button in towards your back to make sure that you don’t arch your back while doing the next step, then lift one leg off of the floor, keeping the leg straight. The leg should move from the line where your leg and butt meet. Try to keep your hips as still as possible while doing this, and resist using your lower back. It is much more important that you keep your back and hips still and that you lift your leg smoothly and straight than how high it goes. Lift and lower 10 to 15 times, then repeat with the other leg.
Adding this exercise to your daily regimen will help strengthen these integral muscles. If you do not find relief from back following this exercise, call our lumbar spine specialist in New Jersey to book an appointment for a consultation.