Ok, what surprises me is that the Multifidus muscle isn’t really talked about in most back pain related literature unless you specifically search for it.
It was an eye opener for me when I first learnt about this muscle. It was a true gem and a game changer for me in initially stabilizing my spine and improving my lower back pain.
I came across this muscle by accident while I was constantly searching for answers and solutions to my back pain. While searching high and low on the internet I landed on the following book The Multifidus Back Pain Solution. Having read the synopsis, I thought, hmmmm, this sounds interesting but also too good to be true, but nevertheless I was willing to give it a try.
I bought the book and funnily enough I was actually reading this on the plane on the way to India where I was looking to have an mri scan done during a family wedding trip. So as you can guess, I managed to finish the entire book in one sitting while on the plane.
Reading this ebook put me at ease a little as it seemed to put many of my fears to rest regarding what could be wrong with my back and introduced me to the Multifidus muscle.
In this blog post I am going to tell you about this gem muscle and the role it plays in your lower back.
What is the Multifidus Muscle?
The multifidus muscle is a thin fleshy muscle that consists of a number of tendons within and is situated on either side of the spine.
The muscle runs the entire length of the spine on either side. It sits very deep into the vertebrae and supports each of the individual spinal segments providing stiffness and stability to the spine.
By doing this it helps take the pressure off the vertebral discs so that your weight can be evenly distributed on the spine.
During motion, this muscle is active and protecting the spine from injury. It is one of the key muscle groups that is taking the impact off the spine. In fact, even before you start moving, the multifidus is activated automatically preparing for the body to move.
Think of this muscle as a spine protector.
However, here comes the BIG BUT…
Studies have shown, when injury occurs in the lower back, the multifidus muscles can’t operate accordingly to protect your spine. It is for this reason many people experience back pain.
I too was one of these people. I just didn’t know it at the time.
You see, once you have an injury, the multifidus muscle shrinks. When it shrinks, what’s going to protect your spine? Nothing. So then what? Well, then occurs back pain.
Even after the back pain resolves, the multifidus muscle size remains shrunk and doesn’t return back to its original size which was adequately shaped to support the spine. Therefore, if you are not careful, there will be a high chance of reinjury and pain on the spine.
But it’s not all bad news! Keep reading…
The good news however is that this muscle can be brought back to life when stimulated with the correct exercises.
I can confirm this as i’ve experienced this and it does work! In fact I clearly remember this period where I was religiously carrying out the exercises twice a day. Once in the morning and once in the evening after I got back from work.
Initially I was skeptical at first but I kept going.
After a week or so, the magic started to happen.
I started to really notice a difference in my lower back. The pain seemed to have subsided and was replaced by a feeling of wearing an invisible support belt around the mind-section.
It was such a relief that I continued to carry out this exercise as prescribed by the book.
What exercises work the Multifidus Muscle?
The best exercise to isolate the multifidus muscle is the bird dog. The bird dog exercise is like performing a horizontal horse stance while resting on all fours. You don’t need any special equipment at this stage, it can be carried out at home in your own time.
One thing I would say however is that you need to be dedicated to the exercise. Like I said earlier, I was performing this for week before I started seeing results. Not only that, I was keeping note of each rep and pushing myself every time to really get this muscle working again as I was so desperate to get rid of the back pain that I kept struggling with.
Bird Dog Instructions
Bird Dog Starting Position
1. Place your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips, stay in a straight line as much as possible from your head, neck, and back
Bird Dog Extend
2. Raise your right arm out and reach it forward until it’s in line with your torso
3. As you bring your arm forward, slowly raise your left leg out until it’s straight and in line with your torso, hold this for 1 second
4. Slowly bring your arm and leg back to the start and repeat with the opposite arm and leg
Do the above and let me know how you get on after a week or so. For more information on the multifidus muscle I highly recommend checking out the book, see below for more information and the link to amazon for your convenience (it is an affiliate link but this helps with the running of my site) :
- New Harbinger Publications
- Jim Johnson (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 132 Pages - 06/15/2002 (Publication Date) - New Harbinger Publications (Publisher)
Although it is a short read, there is a lot of filler content in there. However it may just help mentally to ease away some of the fears regarding what could be wrong.
That’s all for now! I hope I have given you something interesting to think about and information about a muscle that you never knew existed or how it worked to keep back pain at bay and help support you and your spine…