This article is a transcribed edited summary of a video Bob and Brad recorded in July of 2023. For the original video go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2bEDaYZuLs&t=3s
Mike: This is Bob and his wife Linda. And within this past year, Linda has developed some bad back pain.
Brad: Let me tell you, as a physical therapist, it is embarrassing and it is just hard on you when you cannot help a family member. And this is where Bob was.
Mike: Bob's first intuition was to give his wife the prone press-up exercise made popular by Robin McKinsey. But after doing this exercise for a while, she was seeing no success.
Brad: So he went to plan B, he went to Dr. Stewart McGill, who has done extensive research on back pain. And then he gave her the exercise that he often recommends, the cat/camel.
Mike: Again, she saw no success.
Brad: And a third thing, Bob, that he gave the typical exercise by Dr. Stewart McGill is walking as long as it's tolerated. So she did that as well.
Mike: And after consistently doing these exercises for two weeks, she actually got worse.
Brad: Now with Linda's situation, things were getting worse and it really affects a person. It was getting so bad that she was considering giving up bowling and activities she really loves.
Mike: So Bob was dumbfounded and didn't know what to do. So he turned to a friend, physical therapist Rick Olderman.
Brad: Now Rick Olderman is not just any therapist. He's actually a specialist. He's written a number of books and he has some key options for situations just like Linda's.
Mike: In Bob's world or his mind, he believes that most back posture is caused by too much flexion throughout the day whether you're standing or sitting and slumping in a chair. And in some cases, this is correct.
Brad: So with Rick Olderman, he actually believes the opposite can be the case where people are actually arched too much in the other direction causing the back pain.
Mike: So what did Rick do? He gave her three exercises to help decrease this lordotic arch in the low back.
Brad: Okay, the first component is stretching the hip flexors. We're going to sit on the edge of the bed just like Mike is here. Feet off of the edge. Go ahead, take it over Mike.
Mike: So to perform this stretch, simply lie on your back and you're going to bring both knees up to your chest. You're then going to bring one leg down and stretch the hip flexor on my left side here. Notice I'm keeping my right leg up towards my chest and I'm trying to bend my left knee back. If I'm too far up and hit the table, I can just scoot more toward the edge and perform the same stretch. You're going to want to hold this for 30 seconds, and keeping it in this position should make your back feel good and not have any pain. Then you're going t reset in a neutral position and stretch the opposite way.
Mike: Another important thing to look at is to make sure your leg that is down is in a straight line, not going too far in or too far out.
Brad: Nice work, Mike. Good explanation. So with this stretch, Linda was doing it two to three times per day. Things were going well and she continued with it. All right. The second exercise that Rick had Linda do was the all fours rocking. Show it, Mike.
Mike: To perform this exercise, you're going to get in a quadruple position on my hands and knees. I'm going to keep weight through my palms as I am getting into a sitting position, bringing my buttock to my heels. Once I get down here, I'm going to hold this for three to five breaths and be in a relaxed state. Then I'm going to come out of it and come back to the starting position. You're going to perform three to five repetitions of this spread. Do you wanna talk about how it helps with your low back curve?
Brad: Right. So you can see his back is actually flexed. That's the opposite of that arched or lordotic position we're technically talking about. So also this can be done on a bed. If it's too soft, it's going to make it difficult. Probably a carpeted floor would be preferred in that situation. All right. The next exercise that Rick had Linda do is something called glute pumps. It's going to help strengthen the proper muscles to get the goal of no pain. Go ahead.
Mike: So to begin, you're going to be on your elbows and knees. You're then going to lift one leg and kick up toward the ceiling. Notice that my heel is pointing toward the ceiling. You're not going to go through the full range of motion all the way to the mat and all the way up. You're just going partway up and doing little oscillation movements for 30 seconds or 30 repetitions. Make sure to stop and then switch. While you're doing this, you should feel your butt muscles firing and engaging, not your hamstrings.
Mike: So in addition to the exercise, Rick wanted Linda to fix a few habits she may be doing that are causing her back pain.
Brad: So in the seated position, we don't want to overarch the back and actually allow it some comfort. We're going to use a simple pillow from the bedroom, take that, put it lengthwise in the chair, and then lean into that. That offers support. It's comfortable and allows the back to flex actually in a good, healthy position.
Brad: The last habit that Rick had Linda do was something known as soft knee walking. Go ahead, Mike. Explain it.
Mike: So when you typically walk in heel strike, what you're doing is actually increasing the arch on your low back. If you are going to land on your forefoot with a bent knee, it's pretty hard to actually extend my back. I would have to be walking kind of awkwardly. So in order to prevent the low back arching, you just simply land on your forefoot more, and then you can bring your heels down.
Mike: In order to do this, you're going to have to take shorter steps. And you're also probably going to have to look at your footwear because if you have a large heel on your shoe, which most shoes have, it's going to be kind of hard to do. So in your house, you can either try going barefoot or using sandals.
Brad: So the big question is, what are the results? Did Linda get better?
Mike: Within two days, Linda's back pain was better and within a week, she was back to bowling, 100% pain-free.
Brad: But the question is, what were her bowling scores?
Mike: That's the real question here.
Brad: Actually, she is feeling much better. We don't worry about the scores. Bob said it was a whole change in her life. She was grateful.
Mike: And he said a happy wife is a happy life.
Brad: There you go. Nice work Bob. Good work, Rick.
Mike: So if you want to learn more about back pain and try some stretches in bed check out our video "5 Best Stretches For Low Back Pain In Bed. Do Daily."
Brad: That's right. Good luck!
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