Activation of Myofascial Slings helps Strengthen Lower Back

Myofasical slings are groups of muscles and ligaments that are present both below and below the pelvis. There role is to aid FORCE closure of the Sacroiliac Joint of the lower back. FORCE closure describes how the sacroiliac joint achieves full stability through the opposite directional pulling of the muscle and ligamentus tissue that overly the Sacroiliac Joint. There are 4 Myofascial Slings and they should be adequately strengthened by specific pilates exercises to ensure good stability at the sacroiliac joint. So if you have lower back pain be it disc related or Sacroliac Joint Dysfunction then knowledge of the 4 ‘Slings’ will help you target certain exercises that help stabilise your lower back.

The Anterior Oblique sling as its name suggests is situated on the abdominal front of the body and involves the External Oblique and Transverse Abdominis muscles of the core region working in conjunction with the groin or adductor muscles of the inner thigh of the opposite leg. This helps to stabilise the Sacroiliac Joint and exercises that target its activation include sidelying leg lifts. An ineffective Oblique Sling can be identified by poor abdominal and adductor (groin) muscle strength.

Deep Longitudinal Sling connects the erector spinae muscles that run vertically along the spine to the outer hamstring known as the Bicep Femoris, this sling runs diagonally from the lower spine above the pelvic to the outer hamstring below the pelvis. Exercises targeting the strengthening of this sling include bringing the hip backwards whilst lying on your stomach, this is key to improving the relationship between the glutes and hamstrings and helps prevent an over-active and injury prone hamstring.

Posterior Oblique Sling involves the latissimus dorsi muscle of the lower spine and glute maximus muscle of the opposite leg. Contraction of the Posterior Oblique Sling forms an ‘X’ across the pelvis with the subsequent compressive forces help to stabilise the sacroiliac joints. A delay in glute maximus activation can lead to hyper mobility in the sacroiliac coupled with hamstring tension.

The Lateral Sling includes for example the glute medius of the left hip and the adductor of the right inner thigh. It prevents abnormal dropping of the hip joint when walking which is often the cause of Hip, knee and Lower back Pain. Sidelying CLAM exercises help stabilise the lateral Sling.

Tomás Ryan is a Registered Physical Therapist with The Irish Association of Physical Therapy (MIAPT) and is based in Thurles.

Contact Number: 0504 26672

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Physiotherapy & Injury Rehabilitation Clinic in Tipperary

0504 26672


The Surgery, Fianna Road, Thurles


Riverside Medical Centre, 7 Upper

Irishtown, Clonmel

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