Strengthening The Back And Spine Exercises
Engaging in exercise and fitness activities helps keep the back healthy by allowing discs to exchange fluids which is how the disc receives its nutrition. A healthy disc will swell with water and squeeze it out, similar to the action of a sponge. This sponge action distributes nutrients to the disc.
In addition, fluid exchange helps to reduce the swelling in the other soft tissues that naturally occurs surrounding injured discs. When there is a lack of exercise, swelling increases and discs become malnourished and degenerated.
Common Forms of Strengthening Exercise
Many options are available that can effectively strengthen the spine and provide relief, and finding one that works and can be maintained is often driven by personal preference, local instructors available, and a process of trial and error in finding pain relief.
Common forms of strengthening exercise:
- Tai chi
- Weight lifting and training
- Resistance bands
- BOSU ball
- Exercise ball
Stretches for Flexibility
Flexibility of the neck, legs and back is instrumental to good spinal health. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds Perform the exercise 2-3 times per day
The muscles in the back of the legs, such as the calves, hamstrings and piriformis are often tight. Flexibility of these muscles is instrumental to good spinal health. Some of the stretches can be performed while standing, while others are accomplished more safely while lying down.
Abdominal bracing exercises are designed to systematically contract the abdominal muscles in order to stiffen and stabilize the spine. An easy way to accomplish this is to:
Lie on your back with your knees bent and shoulder-width apart. Lift your left knee up to meet your left hand and push while providing resistance with your hand.
Hold this position for five seconds, then return to the resting position. Repeat the above using your right leg and right hand. Continue alternating from right to left for 20 reps total.
The bridge exercise is designed to help you strengthen the muscles in your back, buttocks and hamstrings. Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and shoulder-width apart. Employ your back and buttock muscles to gently raise your hips while keeping your shoulders on the floor.
Hold this position for five seconds before returning to a resting position. Repeat these steps for three sets of 10 reps each.
We’re all familiar with the kind of squats that weightlifters use when lifting heavy barbells – but that’s not the safest activity for your spine, especially if you’re recovering from a back injury. Instead of a traditional squat, try this alternative (and leave the barbells at the gym). It will help you safely build core and leg strength that can protect your spine from unnecessary injuries going forward.
Sit on the edge of a proper-height chair or bed. Cross your arms over your chest with your fingers touching your shoulders. Squeeze your buttocks and push on the floor with your legs as you rise to a standing position, all the while keeping your back and neck in line.
Now slowly bring yourself back down to a sitting position, again using the muscles in your legs and buttocks. Perform three sets comprised of 10 squats each.
Hip Crossover Stretch
The hip crossover stretch allows you to gently stretch and release tightness in the piriformis muscle, which is located in the hip and buttock area and frequently contributes to lower back pain.
Performing this stretch:
Lie face up on the floor with your knees bent and about shoulder width apart.
Now cross your right ankle over your left knee. Use your hands to slowly pull your right knee toward your left shoulder.
Hold this position for 30 seconds. You should feel a stretch in your hips and buttocks.
Repeat the above three times on each side
Why Is Yoga So Good For Your Back?
Besides calming your body and mind, yoga is an excellent way to relieve and prevent back pain.