Use these steps to fix your lower back
My Targeted Approach to Relieving Lower Back Discomfort:
As a movement coach specializing in resilient aging, one of the most common struggles I help people address is lower back pain. Having endured my own history of Achilles tendonitis, disc injuries, and hip impingements before changing careers, I empathize with clients’ suffering. Now through diligent study of functional patterns, I’ve discovered what works - and what fails - for freeing up rigid backs.
Typically lower back discomfort stems from one of two common postural habits: “kyphotic posture is rounded back tight hamstrings” and lordotic which looks like “butt back like this and it’s a little bit of a sway back.” Both increase spinal compression and strain. So my prescription tackles regaining natural alignment along with targeted stretching and engagement.
For slumped kyphotic postures, I have clients perform “my favorite hamstring stretch” using a rolled towel under the ball of the foot. With toes pulled “towards your nose,” exhale into deeper tension for 60-90 seconds per side. Releasing chronically tight hamstrings allows people to stand taller. Coupling this with glute bridges builds strength to take pressure off the spine.
Conversely, the anterior pelvic tilt of lordosis requires opening tight hip flexors, often shortened from prolonged sitting. I coach people into a deep lunge tilting “your tailbone towards the ground” and tucking the pelvis to intensely stretch the front of the hip. Breathing here for 30-60 seconds makes space for the low back to decompress.
Just as essential is properly activating the core and glutes in coordination. I teach an exercise called “the elevator” where you “lift the people in the elevator” by actively pressing fingers placed between hip bones and belly button upwards upon inhale. This engages transverse abdominals, obliques and pelvic floor muscles for stability.
Practicing everything together, I have students “hinge to the hips...making sure the knees are going in the same direction of toes” while intentionally squeezing glutes like in my activation sequence. Descending only to the point of feeling tight hamstrings protects the back. This builds coordination through full ranges of hip mobility using appropriate muscles.
Over time progressing through my systematic mobility and stability sequence transforms rigid backs burdened by poor habits. As clients grow more connected to these movement patterns, they tap into the body’s innate resilience and capacity to heal. Now when I demonstrate exercises in my weekly classes, almost no one complains of back pain. It’s so fulfilling empowering people to feel whole, healthy and vibrant regardless of age!