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Diana Remaley, LMT
19 Compo Road South
Westport, CT

Bridge Posterior Hip Exercises

A subtle way to help alleviate lower back pain

Low back pain is common. So common, that it’s abbreviated in almost all medical journals (“LBP”). While pain, and causes of pain are different for everyone, it’s worth checking posterior hip health when trying to alleviate tension. This is because the area that we commonly consider our “lower back”, actually includes the very top of the gluteal muscles.

Anatomy Lesson:

The area marked in this image is the small of the back (“lordosis”), making up the lower inward curve we have there. As you can see, not only are the muscles on either side of the spine implicated in this area, but the tops of the gluteal group (Glute maximus, medius and minimus) come up on either side of the spine. So when clients come in holding their lower back, the spinal muscles are certainly involved, but the tops of the glutes are usually tense as well. It’s also worth noting that when one has pain in the lower back, they typically move it less, leading to a pain cycle. That’s where these bridge exercises come in.


The Movements:

Begin lying flat on your back, toes in a straight line down from the hips.



Raise your hips up as high as possible, bending the knees, keeping a straight line from the chest to the knees, forming a “bridge”. If you need to, you can hold your lower back with your hands (but try not to!) Slowly lower your hips until they’re nearly touching the ground, and raise back up. This is one rep. Repeat 10-20 reps in this position.

Still want extra work?  Kick a single leg: 

A more advanced movement, which will affect more of the gluteal muscles, is to begin with your knees in a turned out position: Again, lying flat on your back, bring your toes together and allow your knees to bow out. Keeping the feet touching, raise and slowly lower the hips as before. You should notice the effort shifts from the very back of the hips to the sides of them. Repeat 10-20 reps again.  More advanced:  Kick a leg again: 

The most advanced movement is to combine these two exercises: Begin with the knees in a straight line from the hips, raise the hips, bow the knees out, lower the hips, and repeat. Repeat 10-20 reps again.

Whenever I feel like my lower back isn’t moving as freely as I want it to, or if my hips hurt a little while I’m laying down, I’ll spend the time to do these movements. Hip bridges truly do help your lower back function well. And if you find that you still can’t locate the source of your pain and discomfort, it’s time to make a massage therapy appointment. I’ll see you in my Westport office!

Welcome to My New Office!

19 Compo Road South, still in Westport, CT

I'm finally settled in to my new office!  I've been in the space almost two weeks, and I'm absolutely loving it.  It's bigger, brighter and more private than my old office.  Here's a little virtual tour!

From Compo Road South:

 My private entrance, as seen from the parking lot:

My private reception area, accessed from the main front building door.  You can come early and relax in a truly tranquil space: 

And finally, my new office:

I'm looking forward to many years to come in this fantastic new space!

Come take a look for yourself during your next massage therapy session.

And don't forget - November is CLIENT APPRECIATION MONTH!  During your session, you'll get a special little treat and be entered to win lovely prizes.  I hope to see you soon in my Westport office!

Golfing Stretches, Part 2

Stretching the lower body muscle groups associated with a golf swing

Last time, I explored the upper body musculature associated with golfing.  This time, I explore lower body stretches.  These muscles are bigger and more powerful; meaning they can take more abuse, but are also easier to stretch than smaller groups.  Take the time before and after your golfing outings to stretch - it'll be five minutes well spent!

Latissimus Dorsi ("Lat")

The Lats are actually huge muscles that run from the inside of the arm, down the side of the body, attaching at about the lower back and pelvis. Despite the fact that they're critical for posture and extremely easy to stretch, we don't stop to stretch them that often. This is probably the most aggravated muscle I see in golfers - take lots of time to stretch it completely before and after your game.

To Stretch the Lats:

Standing up straight, with your stomach pulled in, raise one arm up toward the ceiling, as if you were trying to touch it with your fingertips. Keeping that arm up, tilt your entire body toward the other side, tipping over as completely as you can. You can use your other arm to hold on to something if that helps with balance. Tip to the side until you feel the stretch not just under your arm, but in your lower back as well.


Gluteal Group

The glutes are responsible for supporting the body and twisting the legs during a golf swing. You many not feel them burning or being used the same as when doing squats, but they are activated and need to be stretched.

To Stretch the Glutes:

The posterior hip is actually a very complicated area, and I've written many other posts about stretching them more completely. But for the sake of ease, this stretch is the main one. Raise up one knee and rotate your leg so your heel is pointing out. Firmly take hold of your knee and ankle with your hands. Pull your lower leg toward your chest, keeping your lower leg straight and perpendicular to your body. The closer to can get to your chest, the better the stretch.


Calf and Foot

The calf and foot are along for the ride at the end of the golf swing. Keeping them limber is a challenge; they're being used every time we take a step. I've explored many other calf stretches, but this ankle circle is my favorite for mobility.

To Stretch the Calf and Foot:

Reach one foot out in front of your body, toes pointed. Keeping the leg straight, draw a circle using your toes. You want to try to keep the ankle as still as possible, drawing as large a circle as you can possibly reach. Make a circle slowly in one direction, then reverse it and draw a circle in the other direction. Spend plenty of time with this - if you notice a spot that you cannot move toward, pause and intend to move toward that spot more. Flexibility comes with time, and attempting movements. Keep at it!

And if all these stretches simply aren't enough, it's time to book a massage therapy session. I'll see you in my Westport office!

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Diana Remaley, LMT
19 Compo Road South
Westport, CT