Let’s face it; back pain plagues a good chunk of the population — especially those of us who have crossed over from millennial to “geriatric” millennial (*scoff*). But most people report beginning to experience back pain in their mid-twenties — coincidentally, about the time many Americans start working a full-time job. Once you’re in your 30s or 40s, the pain becomes more consistent and possibly more noticeable or painful. It often begins to feel like more chronic pain, and you may fear it’ll never ease up or go away. In fact, no matter who you are, what you look like, or what you do for a living, you’ve undoubtedly experienced some back pain, or will, in your lifetime.
Why does this problem plague pretty much everyone at some point? Well, simple: We all have butts. Yep, you read that right — according to Dr. Betsy Grunch, a spine surgeon on TikTok, most back pain can be linked to our butts.
“So, what can you do to help with this? I’ll give you a hint. It’s basically my six-year-old son’s response to any question I ask him: your butt,” says Dr. Grunch. “Your glute muscles are the answer. Not only does it make you look good in a bathing suit, but it stabilizes your pelvis and strengthens your core.” So, if you’ve ever thought back pain is a pain in the ass, you were quite literally right.
Take note: Dr. Grunch (@ladyspinedoc) is not some TikTok imposter making claims she can’t back up. She’s an actual practicing, board-certified neurosurgeon. So she’s clearly qualified to speak on the matter of back pain. And she explains that a primary culprit of back pain is that most people spend a good chunk of time sitting every day. Why is that a big deal? Sitting for long periods weakens our gluteal muscles, shortens our hamstrings, and weakens our core. That not only causes your initial back pain but can also worsen it over time.
Of course, Dr. Grunch has an easy way to help remedy that pain. It all boils down to one simple exercise she shares on her TikTok page.
“The gluteal bridge is the answer.”
Dr. Grunch suggests one exercise you can do “every single day” to strengthen your glutes and core while helping reduce back pain: the gluteal bridge. You do the gluteal bridge while lying on your back on any firm surface. With your knees bent up, you effectively do slow pelvic thrusts towards the ceiling, lifting your butt off the floor each time. If you’ve ever been to physical therapy for back or leg pain, you’ve most likely done this stretch.
Just three sets of ten bridges daily is enough to strengthen your glutes and core, says Dr. Grunch, thus helping to reduce the ache in your back. As an added bonus, she also says it helps with knee pain. Sounds like the good doctor is solving all Mama’s problems today.
Although, a gentle reminder: While Dr. Grunch says anyone can do this exercise, you can probably think of a few people (perhaps even yourself) who might struggle with it. If you know someone with limited mobility or previous back injuries or issues, it might be best if they consult their doctor or physical therapist first.
Want even more tips and tricks to alleviate back pain? The back pain hashtag on TikTok is full of doctors, chiropractors, personal trainers, and physical therapists who want to help you feel better. From how you sleep to how you sit at your desk, it’s rife with great ideas to fix your aching back.