This is part 5 of the Egoscue and Running Injuries blog series.
The work to get stronger and correct my postural imbalances continues. As I have been discussing in prior posts, the focus of my Egoscue e-cises has been to strengthen the hip and glute muscles while trying to turn off the lower back muscles.
I can already report that my right trapezius pain is getting better! I have been able to run up to 30 minutes without pain instead of the usual 20 minutes. Exciting stuff!
Unfortunately, I’m still experiencing some pain and think that it’s related to my lower back.
The Lower Back: An Over-Protective Parent
At this point, I am starting to view my lower back muscles as an over-protective parent for my hip muscles. Let me explain.
For the past seven years, I have been sitting at my desk at work for eight to nine hours per day. This has caused my hip flexors to shorten and weaken and my glutes to atrophy.
However, during these seven years I have continued to run and occasionally have done some pretty difficult workouts. Without properly functioning hip and glute muscles, my lower back has been forced to compensate for my weak hip muscles in order to allow my body to run.
My back is basically an overprotective parent for my hip flexors and glutes – it so concerned that my glutes and hip flexors won’t properly stabilize the hip that it does the work that other muscles should be doing.
My lower back has become so accustomed to taking the function of a hip flexor and hip stabilizer that it is very difficult to turn it off during the Egoscue e-cises involving hip flexors and glutes are especially difficult, including the Sitting Isolated Hip Flexor Lifts, Supine Leg Raise, and the Hip Lift.
A Targeted Approach to Convincing the Back to “Let Go”
I told Matt at Oregon Exercise Therapy about the issues with my over-protective back muscles, and he suggested a new menu of e-cises to target my weaknesses while in manner that does not activate the low back.
This new menu includes the following e-cises:
- Static Back Knee Pillow Squeezes
- Gravity Drop
- Hip Lift
- Upper Spinal Floor Twist
- Cats & Dogs
- Kneeling Groin Stretch
- Runners Stretch
- Downward Dog
- Flutter Kicks
- Supine Groin Progressive in Tower
- Supine Foot Circles & Point/Flexes
One takeaway from this menu is that includes the Downward Dog exercise, which is a common in yoga routines. One of the great things about Egoscue is that it takes some of the best parts of a variety of different disciplines, including yoga and pilates.
After performing this e-cise menu a few times, I have already felt less tightness in my lower back.
One of the e-cises that was especially difficult was the flutter kicks. Matt emphasized that the flutter kicks should only be performed with the back flat on the floor. This exercise really works the hip flexor and abdominal muscles.
The runner’s stretch is also a difficult one due to the tightness in my hamstrings. My left hamstring is incredibly tight during this exercise – especially when I properly flatten my back.
I’m excited about this new menu and hope it will help target my muscular imbalances while not engaging the muscles that have been over-active.
Stay tuned for more updates!
Visit Oregon Exercise Therapy for more information about the Egoscue Method.
Disclaimer: This post is part of a collaboration with Oregon Exercise Therapy. All opinions are my own.