Low-back pain? Not anymore! Mike Bosh, a certified postural alignment specialist known as “postureguy” on TikTok, has a simple, effective tip for lower-back pain. He tells Well+Good that pain in the lower back, and even sciatica, is very common thanks to numerous causes that could contribute to said conditions. According to Bosh, these include:
- Sedentary behavior for long periods of time (hello, desk job!)
- Dysfunctional movement patterns (you may not even be aware of these!)
- Tight psoas muscles (one of the hip flexor muscles)
- Poor posture (extremely common!)
- Alignment issues (again, you might not even be aware you have this)
Because so many people have poor posture, are sedentary, and have tight hips and alignment issues, chances are you have experienced back pain, if not outright sciatica. ICYDK, sciatica is pain from a compressed sciatic nerve, “commonly caused by asymmetry in the hips and pelvis,” says Bosh. If you’re experiencing this, or any other type of chronic pain—especially related to the back—he advises you seek out a healthcare provider immediately.
As for general pain, this likely comes from the aforementioned psoas muscle. “The psoas muscle starts at the medial part of your femur, then runs through the abdominal wall, and connects to the T-12 vertebrae,” explains Bosh. “The psoas muscle is the only muscle that connects the upper half of the body to the lower half." If you're sedentary for extended periods of time, your psoas muscle will shorten and tighten because it's in a flexed position, and "its entire muscular function becomes compromised,” according to Bosh. Enter: back pain.
So what can you do at home to get some relief? Bosh presents: the wall sit with a pillow squeeze!
@postureguyGot Low Back Pain?! Get relief￼￼￼... Grab a Pillow! #lowback #lowbackpain #sciatica #lowerbackpain #exercise♬ Sweat - Myles Erlick
“The wall sit, together with the pillow squeeze, activates the inner thigh muscles and eliminates hip rotation,” he explains, “while restoring pelvis symmetry, ultimately aligning the body and putting it in an optimum neutral position for relief of lower-back pain.” In essence, this simple exercise gets you back in alignment for “immediate” relief, he says.
How to do the wall sit with a pillow squeeze
1. Grab a pillow and line your back up against a wall. Slide down until you're in a "sitting" position, with your hips slightly above your knees. Your knees should be at about an 80-degree angle.
2. Keeping your back against the wall with your stomach relaxed and your feet flat on the ground, begin to squeeze the pillow between your knees.
3. Hold for two minutes. If it's too challenging to hold this position for two minutes without resting, you can perform it in intervals.
“You can do this every single day—twice a day, for extra credit!” says Bosh. But a word of caution: “Use pain as your guide. If you do not experience relief, only pain, then stop immediately.” Hint: This is when you go to see a doctor or posture specialist.
Bosh also says that consistency is key to ensure you’re in the right alignment while you do this exercise. “Your body may not hold the correct position, and instead will most likely retreat to its previous misalignment,” he says. “That’s why it’s important to continue to do this exercise consistently, feeding your body the correct stimulus to stabilize and secure positive change.”
Add the wall sit with a pillow squeeze to your morning routine or do it throughout your day when you need a movement break. And don't forget to keep at it to eliminate pain. “Postural therapy is foundational training,” Bosh says. “It’s the starting point, and will partner with any other treatment methods you decide to do.”
Say 'goodbye' to back pain with this 13-minute guided stretch:
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