Today, more than ever, individuals are less physically active and sitting down for more extended periods causing the gluteus muscles to be used less and weaken. Weak, inactive, or tightening glutes can cause instability in the lower spine, the hips, and the pelvis to shift out of alignment. This leads to low back and buttock pain. The pain is constantly dull, aching, pulsating, then when moving, getting up, it throbs and stings. Gluteal strengthening exercises can strengthen the muscles and alleviate the pain.
Every individual has a unique physiology. The body develops asymmetrically as the individual favors one side or area of the body over another. This can cause imbalances in the muscular system, leading to awkward positioning that causes pain. The muscle groups that support the lower back consist of the:
The gluteal muscle group includes:
In some cases, the development or lack of level of an individual’s upper back strength can also affect the amount of strain on the lower back.
Gluteal Strengthening Difference
Many joints connect in this area that can have functional problems. The muscles within the lower back need:
Stretching allows the body to enhance the limits of its flexibility and mobility. Most of the stretches are involve the hip joint, as this is one of the most effective ways to loosen the gluteal regions. It’s essential to warm the muscles slightly with a light activity while stretching them to elongate naturally.
Seated Figure 4 Stretch
Sitting in a chair.
Cross the right leg over the left.
With the right ankle resting on the left knee.
It should resemble the number 4.
Bend forward at the hip, placing slight pressure onto the left leg.
Hold this stretch for ten-twenty seconds.
Stretch the other side.
Placing the left foot on the right knee.
Repeat this three times.
This yoga pose engages all the muscles along the back. With the glutes at the top in this position, it forces them to activate, allowing them to stretch fully.
Hold this pose and focus the attention on the glutes.
Squats naturally engage the glutes. This is a variation on a squat that focuses on developing gluteal strength.
Stand with the back facing the wall.
Place a Swiss stability ball between the wall and the back.
Lean back into the ball for balance.
Lower the torso until the knees reach 90 degrees.
Return to standing.
Repeat for ten reps.
Do three sets.
Analysis An Effective Tool
Opportunities to increase physical activity lead individuals in a positive direction. The most common reason for reducing and stopping healthy changes is a lack of motivation and feedback. Strategies that provide immediate feedback are essential to:
Monitor progress for establishing a baseline.
Set appropriate and attainable goals.
Track changes over time.
Monitoring changes with a simple weight scale or Body Mass Index calculator provides limited ability to accurately track changes that only highlight weight changes and not track progress in muscle gain or fat loss. In less than 45 seconds, the InBody Test provides doctors, trainers, and physical therapists with easy-to-understand, accurate and objective measurements to evaluate body composition that includes:
Assessing muscle distribution.
Target areas weakened by condition or injury.
Identify muscle and fat imbalances in each area of the body.
Monitor changes to determine the efficacy of the treatment plan, exercise program, and diet plan to ensure long-term success.
Akuthota, Venu et al. “Core stability exercise principles.” Current sports medicine reports vol. 7,1 (2008): 39-44. doi:10.1097/01.CSMR.0000308663.13278.69
Distefano, Lindsay J et al. “Gluteal muscle activation during common therapeutic exercises.” The Journal of orthopedic and sports physical therapy vol. 39,7 (2009): 532-40. doi:10.2519/jospt.2009.2796
Glaviano, Neal R et al. “Gluteal muscle inhibition: Consequences of patellofemoral pain?.” Medical hypotheses vol. 126 (2019): 9-14. doi:10.1016/j.mehy.2019.02.046
Jeong, Ui-Cheol et al. “The effects of gluteus muscle strengthening exercise and lumbar stabilization exercise on lumbar muscle strength and balance in chronic low back pain patients.” Journal of physical therapy science vol. 27,12 (2015): 3813-6. doi:10.1589/jpts.27.3813
Macadam, Paul et al. “AN EXAMINATION OF THE GLUTEAL MUSCLE ACTIVITY ASSOCIATED WITH DYNAMIC HIP ABDUCTION AND HIP EXTERNAL ROTATION EXERCISE: A SYSTEMATIC REVIEW.” International Journal of sports physical therapy vol. 10,5 (2015): 573-91.
APT is short for anterior pelvic tilt. APT is when the pelvis tilts more down than forward, which can cause strain on the surrounding muscles and the spine to hold the torso up. The body’s own anatomical structure causing the condition and/or part of a bad habit that an individual has grown accustomed to. This can be from injury/s, back, and/or hip pain causing an individual to take on awkward postures to compensate for the discomfort and try and avoid it. However, these unhealthy postures cause their own set of musculoskeletal problems. Addressing this form of poor posture can help reduce and alleviate low back and hip pain and prevent further injuries. Chiropractic can pinpoint an anterior pelvic tilt and fix it.
Anterior Pelvic Tilt
What happens is the pelvis becomes tilted or rotated forward. Place the hands, specifically the fingertips, on the hips. There are bone ridges. These are the iliac crests. If they’re facing more toward the ground than directly forward, this could be an anterior pelvic tilt. It usually happens when the hip flexors become tight and pull the pelvis down. Another contributor is the glute and hamstring muscles have weakened and are not strong enough to counteract the forward pulling. This can be caused by sitting for long periods, poor posture, and for women who wear high heels regularly. These contribute to tightening the hip flexors and the glutes, hamstrings, and core muscles.
An anterior pelvic tilt causes an increase in the curve of the lower back. It can feel like the hip flexors are tightening up. It typically affects the lower back at the lowest two levels, which are L4-5 and L5-S1. There can be long-term issues if an anterior pelvic tilt is left untreated. The spine becomes more vulnerable to disc issues that can include:
An anterior pelvic tilt is a repairable condition. Several exercises can help loosen/relax the hip flexors and strengthen the core and posterior muscle chain. This in addition to walking and reducing wearing high heels regularly. A few exercises for anterior pelvic tilt.
The Tail Tuck
This is literally trying to tilt the tailbone forward, like tucking in an imaginary tail. This can be done for 10-12 reps and up to 3 times.
Core-strengthening exercises can help with all types of back and hip problems. If possible, do the exercises in front of a mirror to ensure no arching of the back or the butt sticking out. If it is too difficult on the hands, go to the elbows. If there are wrist or shoulder issues, planks can be done on a raised surface, like a table or couch. Hold as long as possible, maintaining proper form. Start with 10-30 seconds and build up to minutes.
Strengthening the Glutes
It is recommended to strengthen the glute muscles. This can be done with exercises like clams or side-stepping with resistance bands. For clams, lie on the side and raise each leg up and down 10-12 times, up to 3 sets. For side-stepping, place resistance bands around the ankle/shin area and step to the side for 8-10 steps. Then go the other direction for the same number of steps. Repeat up to 3 sets.
Hip Flexor Stretch
Lunge forward while standing or lunge and kneel with the other leg on the ground. Then move the torso back a little and engage the core to stretch the hip flexors in the front of the thigh/pelvis area. Hold for 30 seconds, then release. Repeat 3-5 times per leg.
These exercises can help, but if there is no progress around a month, contact a qualified chiropractor or physical therapist for further instruction and supervision. Also, if any neurological symptoms present like:
See a doctor as soon as possible.
Fixing posture-related problems require individuals to learn to be posture aware along with making some lifestyle adjustments. One way to do these exercises is to tack them onto a workout. Also, set reminders on a calendar to get up, stretch, and move around if sitting most of the day.
Body Composition Health
Difference between Processed sugar and Natural sugar
There are different types of sugar. There are natural sugars that are found in:
All sugar is broken down into glucose. However, foods that contain natural sugar are also rich in nutrients, including:
All which the body requires for optimal health.
Natural sugar does not lead to excess sugar intake; it happens with processed sugar. Processed sugar is extracted from sugarcane or sugar beet and is normally found as sucrose. This is present in cakes, cookies, cereal, and beverages. Processed sugar is also hidden in foods that are not sweet, like:
Foods that contain processed sugar are an energy source, but they contain little or no nutrients and can cause blood sugar levels to spike. In addition, consuming too much sugar is linked to an increased risk of:
Research has found that added sugar contributes to around 17% of the total calorie intake for adults. The recommended daily amount of calories from added sugar is 10%.
Azaïs-Braesco, Véronique et al. “A review of total & added sugar intakes and dietary sources in Europe.” Nutrition journal vol. 16,1 6. 21 Jan. 2017, doi:10.1186/s12937-016-0225-2
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