Ask Amy: How Can I Fix My Lower Back Pain?

We’re proud to have Amy Hoover on board as P.volve’s Doctor of Physical Therapy, where she’s able to consult the entire community about the method and how it impacts the body. In our new series, Ask Amy, she’s answering your questions first hand so you can get the most out of your work with P.volve. Below, she responds to a user’s question about lower back pain and how our method can help resolve it.

If the P.volve had to be narrowed down to one essential move, it would be the p.sit. The tiny seated position is a moderate version of the squat, but requires you pay close attention to the positioning of your knees and hips. This helps keep the weight out of your thighs and instead goes into your glutes for lean toning. The position is the base and the foundation of every other movement in P.volve, but some experience pain in the lower back when first trying to perfect the p.sit. Ahead, Dr. Amy explains how and why this happens, and how (if at all) it can be fixed.

Why do I have lower back pain during the p.sit?
The most common reason for back pain during the p.sit is too much arch in the lower back and not enough engaging the deep lower abdominal muscles. The p.sit should be a hip hinge, meaning a bend in the hips and not the back. Try keeping your lower back in a neutral position and tighten the lower abdominal muscles by drawing your belly button in as if you were sucking in to zip a tight pair of pants. Then keep this spine position and core activation as you go into the p.sit. 

The p.sit is a great move to active glutes and core without putting stress on the knees, but if done incorrectly or without proper core activation throughout, it can cause the client to overuse their small stabilizing muscles in the back and they will feel this as discomfort in the lower back.  Part of the reason for losing good form or doing p.sit incorrectly could be muscle fatigue. Doing too many moves in a row that involve the p.sit can cause the glutes and abs to fatigue and then the client compensates by using the small muscles of the back. 

How can I try to avoid lower back pain while in the p.sit position?
Breaking up sequencing of p.sit moves will help the client to recover from muscle fatigue before going back into another p.sit sequence. Example would be moving from standing p.sit sequence to a mat sequence, and then back to standing for a second p.sit sequence. Working opposing movements, such as doing step backs in between, can also help break this up and prevent too much fatigue. Be sure to follow these cues when trying to perfect your p.sit:

1. Proper activation of the core, which includes pulling in the lower abs and pelvic floor as you exhale, is crucial to do before you go into a p sit. 
2. Maintain a neutral spine posture, making sure you are lengthening through the spine and keeping natural curves in your back. A common mistake is to put too much arch in the lower back, which disengages the abdominals and puts more stress on the lower back.
3. Squeeze your glutes before you go into the p.sit, this way they are activated during the whole movement.
4. Movement comes from bending at the hips, not the knees. You should be able to look down and see your foot while in your p.sit, keeping the knees in line with the ankles.

For more on the p.sit, watch our step-by-step visual and be sure to read more from Dr. Amy here.                            

We are proud to announce Amy as P.volve’s Doctor of Physical Therapy, consulting the entire    community about their work with our method. She’ll be continually providing feedback and answering important questions for the P.volve community, so keep an eye out for her advice on the blog. Feel free to email community@pvolve.com for topics you’d like Amy to cover!