Got Lower Back Pain?

Did you know "experts estimate that up to 80% of the population will experience back pain at some time in their lives"(1)?

Having experienced lower back pain myself, I know it really stinks. It affects everything from our mood to our flexibility.

Amazingly, I can now report that I don’t have lower back pain anymore. And I would love to share with you what I’ve learned.

Here are my 4 TIPS for Healing Lower Back Pain:

1. Periodically engage the lower belly and pelvic floor throughout the day.

2. Squeeze your butt and notice how it frees up your lower back.

3. Stand rather than sit while you’re typing on the computer (as much as possible)

4. Practice this yin-style seated twist once a day, being sure to twist WITHOUT moving your lower back, thereby rotating just the mid and upper back.

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1. Periodically engage the lower belly and pelvic floor throughout the day.

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One HUGE contributing factor in lower back pain is weakness in the abdominal wall and pelvic floor. To help remedy this, you could try pilates or other exercise programs that target the belly. They’re great! BUT, I will say - you don’t HAVE to do that. You don’t have to do crunches (they’re not that great for you, anyway).

For me, it’s more empowering, and has been even more effective to just casually in whatever clothes I’m wearing… wherever I find myself… in my house, in the coffee shop, etc… lift the low belly. Engage the pelvic floor. Learn where these muscles are and use them regularly.

To help you get started, think of pulling the pubic bone up toward the belly button. Squeeze the lower belly back and in. But don’t stop breathing! Since the low belly is now engaged, you’ll have to take deep breaths into your chest. This is a wonderful side-benefit! Deep breaths into your lungs while your lower belly is engaged can energize you on many levels.

Then release. Let everything go. And try again - say just 2 more times. If you’d like to make sure your spine is in a neutral position (it probably won’t be if you’re sitting on a couch)… try doing it in Hero’s Pose like this:

Once you learn how to engage your lower belly, THEN AND ONLY THEN… try to simultaneously lift the pelvic floor. Here I mean the muscles between the anus and the genitals. If you think of trying to stop the flow of urine while you’re peeing that might help :)! And squeezing your butt hole might help, too :)

It’s intimate - I know! But it helps, trust me. And a happier lower back means a happier you overall.


2. Squeeze your butt and notice how it frees up your lower back.

When your butt isn’t strong, your lower back has to do the work of trying to keep you standing up straight. The problem is it’s not your lower back’s job! It’s your butt’s job.

Turns out, having a strong butt isn’t a superficial or shallow goal. It’s not just that a “perky” butt might be sexy or desirable… it’s also advantageous biomechanically. It’s part of a healthy functioning body. The butt’s job is to maintain our upright posture.

Go ahead - stand up right now, and squeeze your butt. What happened? I bet you felt your whole body lengthen. You probably even lifted your chest without thinking about it! Yay!

Now keep it up! Next time you think of it, just squeeze your butt.

And if you want a more structured exercise that you can do once a day (in the morning is best, but anytime is great!), try this video about glute bridges. They seriously changed my life:

3. Stand rather than sit while you’re typing on the computer.

If you can get your hands on a standing desk, DO IT! Many employers are educated about the benefits of standing desks and are willing to make the shift, so it could be even easier than you think. And if you don’t have a standing desk, get crafty! I use my dresser sometimes… or a high top table at the coffee shop. And IKEA has a pretty inexpensive one here.

I know it’s not possible for everyone, so if you have to sit just remember to take lots of breaks. Get up once every hour, even if just for 2 minutes, to take a short walk, go to the bathroom, get a drink of water, or just stand up and squeeze your butt.


4. Practice the yin-style seated twist once a day, being sure to twist WITHOUT moving your lower back, thereby rotating just the mid and upper back. This one provides unbelievable relief.

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The yin-style seated twist is a therapeutic movement that not only teaches you how to engage the low belly and pelvic floor, but it also remedies tightness in the mid and upper back, which can cause lower back pain all by itself.

Start by sitting on 2 yoga blocks, or a big stack of blankets. Take your pick of sitting options based on the props you have at home, or just whichever one is more comfortable.

Begin with your body centered, arms relaxed on your lap.

Then engage your low belly and pelvic floor and find a deep breath in your chest. You can’t do yin breathing here because you can’t relax your low belly.

Establish a regular, comfortable ujjayi breath in and out through your nose even before you twist. This makes sure you won’t hold your breath when you do.

Then start rotating your mid-back toward the right and let your chest turn, too. Keep your head in line with your chest (don’t turn your head to look over your shoulder).

Remember to keep your low belly and pelvic floor engaged the whole time! This will help make sure you don’t twist your lower back.

Take about 5 breaths there, and return to center. Relax your belly. Let it stick out. Pause for about 10 breaths just noticing how you feel, and then repeat on the other side.

I hope you try these 4 Tips and that they provide you with some relief! If you’d like to learn more in person, check out my upcoming workshops and retreats here.

Here’s to your lower back returning to health!

Namaste & Love,
Sally