Low back pain can be debilitating – limiting mobility and interrupting daily life.
Unfortunately, back pain is all too common, with up to 80% of adults experiencing it at some point in their lives. Thankfully, there are ways to prevent and reduce low back pain. One effective method is through the McGill Big Three exercises.
The McGill Big Three exercises were developed by Dr. Stuart McGill, a world-renowned expert on spine biomechanics and low back pain. The three exercises are: the curl-up, the side plank, and the bird dog. These exercises focus on the muscles that provide low back stability and are crucial for overall spinal health. Read on to learn how to do these exercises at home.
The Curl Up
This exercise targets the rectus abdominis, the muscle responsible for spinal flexion. This exercise is done by lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Place your hands under your lower back to help maintain a natural curve in your spine. Lift your head and shoulders off the ground while keeping your neck in a neutral position. Hold this position for a few seconds and then slowly lower back down.
The Side Plank
The side plank targets the lateral muscles of the trunk, including the internal and external obliques. Start by lying on your side with your elbow placed beneath your shoulder. From this position, lift your hips off the ground, creating a straight line from your head to your heels. Hold this position for a few seconds and then lower back down.
The Bird Dog
The bird dog targets the muscles of the lower back, including the erector spinae muscles, which are responsible for spinal extension, and the transversus abdominis, which is important for spinal stability. Begin on all fours with your hands and knees on the ground. Keep your back straight, engage your core, and raise your right arm and left leg until they are parallel to the ground. Hold this position for a few seconds and then lower back down. Repeat with the opposite arm and leg.
The McGill Big Three exercises are an excellent way to engage the muscles that play a significant role in low back stability. In addition to pain reduction and prevention, incorporating these exercises into your routine can improve overall spinal health and function, reducing the likelihood of future injuries.
As chiropractors, we understand the importance of low back stability and overall spinal health. The McGill Big Three exercises are an essential component of our treatment plans for patients experiencing low back pain or other spinal issues. Moreover, by strengthening the muscles that support the spine, our patients experience improved mobility, less pain, and better quality of life.
Our WIN Health team is committed to supporting our patients in achieving optimal spinal health and high-quality, pain-free lives. Book your chiropractic appointment today and discuss how you can incorporate the McGill Big Three in your daily routine.