Last blog we talked about the Multifidus muscle. It is responsible for supporting the stability of our spine. We also talked about the way in which it switches off with our slouching sitting postures. 1 In this blog are a few tips on how we can strengthen this muscle and prevent injury through doing every day things, such as bending over to pick something up…. Our bodies are designed to move and stay moving throughout the day in many different planes of motion. When we sit still or use a repetitive plane of motion, such as getting up and down from our chair with a bit of walking in between we are leaving this area of our back susceptible to injury or sprain. So what can we do each day to activate and switch this muscle on and reduce our risk of injury? Thankfully a few very simple things: – Consciously think about maintaining the curve of the lower back when sitting, be it in the car, at the office or on the couch. We can also have a lumbar support in the car, office or home to help when we forget. – There are specific exercises that you can do for your multifidus by activating a muscle that works with it called transverse abdominus – contact us for a handout or have a chat to your personal trainer / exercise physiologist. Also just by being and moving your arms and legs also activates these critical muscles used for spinal stability. 2 – Chiropractic treatment is also effective in switching on this muscle. The force of spinal manipulation (adjustment) generates a rapid stretching of the ligaments, joints capsules and small intrinsic spinal muscles, resulting in a reflex response in the multifidus. The multifidus is reflexively activated and contracts in a region where it would otherwise be losing cross-sectional size and density. 3 By turning on this muscle you are also developing the muscle. The old adage rings true. If you don’t use it you will lose it.
- Jackson M, Solomonow M, Zhou B, Baratta R, Harris M (2001) Multifidus EMG and Tension-Relaxation Recovery after prolonged Static Lumbar Flexion; Spine Vol 26(7) pp 715-723
- Creswell AG, Thorstensson A (1994) Changes in intra-abominal pressure, trunk muscle activation and force during isokinetic lifting and lower. European Journal of Applied Physical Therapy and Occupational Physical Therapy Vol 68 pp 315-321
- Brenner A, Gill N, Buscema C, Kiesel K (2007) Improved activation of lumbar multifidus following spinal manipulation: A case report applying rehabilitative ultrasound imaging; The Journal of orthopaedic and sports physical therapy Vol 37 (10) pp 613-619