Your spine is made up of 24 vertebrae that work together as joints and with muscles, tendons and ligaments to give you motion. You can bend forward, back, side to side and twist. Each day we place strain and excess work on our spines, mostly our lower back. We sit for long periods of time and cause the spaces between the vertebrae to slowly decrease and form degenerative changes. We move too much in our jobs or in our workouts. We push ourselves each day to do more than what our bodies were meant to do. Twisting too far and for too long is one of the major offenders in the gym.
You need to realize that your body is smarter than you. If it says stop, you should stop. If it says go, you should go. If it says ouch that hurts and you are an idiot, then you are an idiot.
How much rotation/twisting can the lumbar spine perform optimally? 10-15 degrees OPTIMALLY. That means if you are trying to push to 20 degrees then you are trying to make your body do more than what it should and you are hurting yourself. How much rotation does the middle back have? 65-70 degrees. What do you think that means? It means that if you are trying to twist and turn and rotate in your exercises with your lower back that you are hurting yourself and you need to concentrate on the rotation coming from your mid-back.
Twisting and Rotational Causes of Lower Back Pain:
1. Previous Injury to lower back that has not healed and you are performing twisting exercises
2. Not moving in various three dimensional motions
3. Not enough use of mid-back rotation
4. Decreased Range of Motion and mobility of the mid-back
5. Not enough stabilization of the lower back
Proper Twisting To Decrease Low Back Pain and Injury:
1. Keep the abdominals and core stabilized
2. Keep the lumbar spine/lower back stabilized
3. Keep the back straight
4. Twist by using your thoracic spine/mid-back
5. Do not push the twisting motion, once mild to moderate resistance is felt then you should stop the motion
Try This Stretch: Standing Thoracic Rotation 1×10
1. Stand with feet shoulder width apart and your hands clasped behind your head.
2. Lengthen your spine up through your head.
3. Stabilize the core on the right side by keeping the lower back in place, tightening the core and the right gluteal region.
4. Gently rotate your body to the left side until you feel mild-moderate resistance (No more than 70 degrees)
5. Repeat on opposite side.
Dr Tonya Ingalls, D.C.
Categories : How To Stretch