What is Neutral Spine?
Neutral spine is the position of your pelvis and ribcage in their proper alignment. It is the strongest, most supportive position for the spine and the optimum position for proper muscle recruitment in our bodies. If you’ve ever suffered a back injury, the stabilizing muscles of the spine shut down. Recovery is not automatic, these muscles need to be properly retrained. Knowing how to find neutral spine, and then activating the deep stabilizing muscles while in neutral spine, is critical for safe movement for all activities we perform throughout the day!
How do we find Neutral Spine?
It’s a simple technique using your hands and your eyes to guide you.
Lie on your back with knees bent and feet hip distance apart. Make a diamond shape with your hands, placing your thumbs on your bellybutton, fingertips toward your pubic bone and the heels of your hands across the pelvic bones.
Gently rock your pelvis forward so the diamond tips toward the pubic bone, creating an arch in the low back. Next rock your pelvis backward, flattening your low back into the floor, tipping the diamond toward your bellybutton. Repeat several times making the movement smaller and smaller until the diamond is somewhat level (fingertips and thumbs align) and your back feels comfortable. You may or may not have a space between your lowback and the floor.
Next, place your 1st and 2nd fingers on your pelvic bones (the ones that stick out when we lie flat on our backs) slide your fingers in and down an inch, toward the pubic bone, on the soft part of your belly. You are now on your transverse abdominus (the powerhouse of your core) Gently draw your belly in and up, and draw the ribcage down and in (as if lacing up a corset).
Check to see if you are still maintaining your neutral spine. Now you have activated your deep transverse abdominus!
Try this exercise
Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat. Make your diamond with hands placed on low abdomen. Gently rock pelvis back and forth until you find neutral spine. Draw abdominals in and up while drawing ribcage down and in (lacing up your corset). Maintain the position of your spine as you pick one foot up off the floor then place it back down. Alternate legs while maintaining neutral spine. Be sure to keep drawing belly IN without pouching out!