Article & video by Julia

Lower back pain is one of the most common ailments I treat in the clinic as an Athletic Therapist. Most of the cases stem from a sedentary lifestyle, where clients sit for the better part of the day. They wake up, sit in their car and drive to work, get to work and sit at their desk, sit in their car and drive back home at the end of the day, and sit on the couch and watch TV to unwind in the evening They then expect their body to perform for an hour at the gym, while squatting, dead lifting or doing other forms of exercise as if their muscles haven’t been in a shortened position all day. That’s where most people will feel like their back has “gone out.”

The Shin Box is a great exercise to get your hips moving again. It works both internal and external rotation of the hip at the same time, allowing the body to move through its ranges of motion. This mobility exercise targets two of the main problem muscles that can cause lower back pain and hip impingements. It targets the Iliopsoas muscle group, two muscles that are responsible for flexing the hip, but when too tight can create an increased lordotic curve in the lower back leading to further complications. It also hits the Piriformis muscle, and in turn when too tight can lead to Piriformis Syndrome, which can affect the sciatic nerve running underneath it.

To perform the Shin Box, start by having your hips and knees bent at 90 degrees, sit up tall, facing forward. Rotate the chest toward the leg that is rotated up and lean forward to feel a stretch in the back of your hip. Come up, and rotate towards the opposite side. It’s normal you don’t get a lot of rotation on that side so don’t worry! Lift your legs and repeat, leaning towards the other leg. Personally, I like to spend a good two to three minutes on this mobility exercise to get a good opening in my hips.

Keep moving and happy stretching!