I have been totally blessed over the past 35 years with the relationships that I have with hospitals and practitioners in London, it has allowed me the opportunity to help clients to return to normality after having problematic backs.
60% of the UK suffer with back problems in some shape or form, and after the last 12 months of lockdown, working from home and ‘Netflix box sets’ I’m sure the figure has risen!
We are not designed to sit down quite so much! When we sit or drive a car for long periods of time it shortens our hip flexors (the two muscles which start their journey in the upper back and end up in the groin). The hip flexors shorten, tip the pelvis and create back problems.
One very easy exercise is a hip flexor stretch – it solved my client Paul’s back problem in 2 months which he sustained from driving 100 miles every day!
Another client Jeremy was a different story he had a herniated disc. This is where two vertebrae squeeze the disc, which sits in between and it’s “bulging” touches the sciatic nerve. It often evolves due to poor posture and tightness in major muscles like the buttocks.
His most effective stretches were the “pigeon”- both the downward pigeon and the reverse variety. They both release a small muscle called the piriformis (it sits in the pelvis at the top of the thigh bone) So as you can imagine this tiny muscle and where it sits can cause a lot of problems- and it is next door neighbour to the sciatic nerve!
Over the years we have treated thousands of back sufferers and often the common denominator to many problems is a weak core or transversus muscle.
You must have heard those eternal words ringing in your ears (often delivered by an exercise professional) “pull in your core!” My clients often deliver the phrase before I have time to shout it!
The core sits like a ‘cummerbund’, evolving laterally from the bellybutton and attaching to the spine. Because its fibres sit laterally, the only way that you can work it is by pulling it inwards.
It’s your greatest ally, as a strong core will act as a corset and give your back the support it requires whatever you do! From picking up the remote control to doing one of Luke’s HIIT classes!
The Plank exercise is probably the most famous exercise but there are literally 100’s of different varieties of core exercise.
We have an incredible success rate with back sufferers, and we hope that a few of these secrets that have given us our success can help you too!
Luke Gray is Co-Founder of Feelnoo* – Live online fitness classes for everyone – Enjoy a £5.00 discount on monthly subscriptions, using code FIGHTINGFIFTY at checkout.
Please consult your doctor before starting any new exercise routine