In certain regards, I am in great shape. But as a busy mother of two girls, sometimes things begin to slip. I almost always feel the symptoms of weakness in my sacrum.
Today, after riding in a car for over four hours, I came home and began to clean. I immediately felt my sciatic nerve getting pinched as I lunged sideways to reach an awkward corner while vacuuming.
I lay down to realign my spine and reflected back on my day: lots of junk food served to me while on the road (spicy sausage and salsa at brunch; pizza bites, chicken fingers, and a chocolate chip cookie at lunch; and a cup of coffee).
Poor food choices certainly weren’t helping my abs kick in to support my spine while cleaning, so I decided to test my abs to see how well they were working.
After performing a few focused abdominal exercises, I felt thoroughly convinced the problem was not due to weak or poorly functioning abs, as mine were neither. In fact, they felt great. I really felt the burn after working them, but my back was still killing me whenever I moved around the house.
Somehow the action of attaining squarely aligned hips was profoundly relieving my sciatic pain. I realized that the root of my pain was not weakness in my abs but weakness in my inner thighs, which are part of our pelvic stabilizing muscle group.
Come into a lunge position with your feet about three and one half to four feet apart. Keep your front leg bent and your back leg straight. Your front foot should be pointing straight ahead and your rear foot should be turned out at a 45-degree angle.
Align heel to heel. If you have tight hips, you may want to widen the stance.
Keep your hips facing the front of the room in the direction of your front foot.
Place your hands on your hips and square them off, drawing the back inner thigh into the groin.
Raise your arms above your head with the palms facing each other and stretch your little finger side of the arm toward the ceiling. Notice how this draws the arms back and presses the shoulder blades into the back.
Find a focal point and take five deep breaths before repeating the stance on the other side.
Before starting any exercise program, please consult your physician.