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Multifidi: Stabilizing muscles to help with back pain

Person Performaing Bird Dog Exercise in Green TopMost people know that core strength is important for spine health, but have you heard of your multifidi muscle group? The multifidi are small muscles that attach each vertebrae to the next and stabilize the spine. When rehabbing from a back injury this muscle group is essential for improving function and decreasing pain. Here is an exercise to help activate/strengthen your multifidi. 

The exercise is called Bird Dogs. For this exercise we want to start out on the floor on your hands and knees. If need be you can use a yoga mat or a rug to give some comfort to your hands and knees. To start the exercise draw your belly button in towards your low back to engage your Transverse Abdominis muscles. Hold that position. Next, at the same time you will lift your arm straight out in front of you and kick your leg straight behind you. (See Picture Below). If you are kicking your left leg back then you will raise your right arm out in front of you. You want to make sure that your arm and leg that is raised is in line with your spine. Bring your arm and leg back to that on all fours position. Alternate between your Left arm Right Leg and Right Arm Left Leg to complete the exercise.

3 sets of 10 reps per side or 30 total reps.

Image from:

Noah Thomson, Exercise Specialist