Transverse Abdominal (TA) and Lumbar Multifidus (LM) Co-Contraction
To find TA muscle: Place fingers 1” in and 1” down from hip bones. Can do gentle cough to make sure you are in the correct place.
To turn muscle on: Pull belly button gently in towards spine.
What you should feel: Muscle comes slightly into fingertips.
When you contract the transverse abdominals, the multifidi also contract, and together they act like a corset to stabilize your spine. The pelvic floor muscle also work to provide stabilization from below.
Pain or injury in the low back can turn these muscles off, causing the big muscles (paraspinals) of your back to take over. Strain and spasms in your back can occur when you are relying on these big back muscles to provide support to your spine.
These exercises will help turn your spinal stabilizers on in order to decrease the load on the paraspinals and provide the support your spine needs during daily activities. The goal of the lumbar stabilization program is to retrain these muscles to be active all day long, especially during activities where the demand on your spine increases such as during transitional movements (rolling in bed, sit to stand) or when lifting heavy objects.
Begin with 10 contractions. Hold each contraction for 10 seconds. 5 times per day
Practice varying degrees of contraction (while still being able to breathe):
0% (no contraction), 25%, 50%, 75%, 100% (full contraction)
Amount of contraction depends on intensity of your exercise or daily activity.