If you have ever had a sore lower back from standing it is likely to be as a result of where you are putting your ribs.
‘Putting your ribs somewhere’ is not like forgetting where you have put your car keys, but there isn’t always much conscious thought as to where the ribs are sitting. When our bodies lack alignment, mobility and therefore strength in certain areas, it can take on a life of its own and put parts in places without us even realizing it. One of these things is a rib thrust.
To try and offset the need for muscular activity to keep us upright we can do a few things. Some people will put their hands behind their back, some will lean over one hip and some of us will thrust the ribs out in front. If you are a rib-thruster, you will likely experience lower back pain when you stand for a period of time. This is because your lower back muscles will try to counteract the forward push of the ribs, putting excessive pressure on the intervertebral discs.
If you think this might apply to you, try this exercise:
Stand with your heels about 3-4 inches away from a wall. Touch the wall with your bottom and straighten your legs. Next, bring your shoulders and back of your head against the wall. You should have a small space where your lower back naturally curves in, but the middle of your back; where your bra strap sits should be touching the wall.
*if your waist is completely on the wall it is because you are tucking the pelvis underneath you too much. Adjust by lifting/moving the tail bone out towards the wall and you should create more space in the lower back area once you are in neutral.
*if you cannot get your bra strap to touch the wall, you probably have a tendency to thrust your ribs and the upper part of your spine has lost some mobility. This is what creates compression and ligament strain in the lumbar spine. To help reduce pain when standing, aim to drop the ribs regularly by keep the bottom rib in line with the pelvis.
And try these exercises:
- Extend both arms out to the side at shoulder height making stop signals with both hands. Keep bringing the fingers back to the body and you should feel a sensation across your shoulder joints and down your arms. This is a bit of a nerve stretch to help everything glide across your joints more smoothly. Enjoy!
- Stand facing your desk or the kitchen counter or a wall and place your hands on the surface. Walk your feet backwards, keeping your hands touching the surface you are on and bend forward from your hips. You are dropping your chest towards the ground and keeping the arms straight. Move your pelvis backwards until it is behind your ankles.
Lift your tail bone slightly and allow your head to drop between your arms.
Hold for 20-30 seconds and repeat throughout the day!