Wall slides is a functional exercise to retrain your movement habits so that you are recruiting your lower abdominal muscles to support your spine while walking or standing. You need only do one or two repetitions to correct your spine.
To perform the wall slides back exercise:
- For extension problems:
Rest your back against the wall until it is flat or less extended by bending your knees, sliding down on the wall, and walking your feet away from the wall. Once your lower spine is flat, your back pain symptoms should be reduced. Exhale while sliding your body up the wall and walking your feet toward the wall. Draw your belly button in toward your spine to prevent your back from arching; again, as your pain should still be diminished or absent as you slide up the wall. Now step away from the wall, maintaining the lower abdominal contraction to stabilize the lumbar spine. Try to stand as tall as possible while maintaining both the abdominal contraction and the improved spinal posture. See how long you can hold it. Don't forget to breathe! Perform one or two repetitions. Every time your back gets achy, you can return to this exercise to reset your lower abdominals and stabilize the spine. This is easy to do at home, at work, or even up against a tree or stop sign if you're outside.
- Modification for flexion problems:
Either arch your lower spine or keep a small, folded towel between your lower back and the wall to keep the spine in extension. Relax your pelvis forward to help your spine stay in extension. Instead of sliding down the wall, find the right amount of extension to ease your pain; then draw your belly button in toward your spine to stabilize it in this position. Step away from the wall, maintaining the lower abdominal contraction to stabilize your lumbar spine. See how long you can hold it.
- Modification for rotation problems:
Place your hands on the anterior superior iliac spine (ASIS) of both hips and note whether one side is further from the wall than the other. Correct the rotation either to the point where it is symmetrical or your back pain has diminished. If you also have extension or flexion problems, follow the relevant instructions above and maintain the stabilized pelvis as long as you can.