Excercises to Rehabilitate and Stregthen the Lower Back.

Issue: 21 - 06 Jun 2008
 
Can back pain be prevented?
Recurring back pain resulting from improper body mechanics or other non-traumatic causes is often preventable. A combination of exercises that don't jolt or strain the back, maintaining correct posture, and lifting objects properly can help prevent injuries.
 
Many work-related injuries are caused or aggravated by stressors such as heavy lifting, contact stress (repeated or constant contact between soft body tissue and a hard or sharp object, such as resting a wrist against the edge of a hard desk or repeated tasks using a hammering motion), vibration, repetitive motion, and awkward posture. Applying ergonomic principles - designing furniture and tools to protect the body from injury - at home and in the workplace can greatly reduce the risk of back injury and help maintain a healthy back.
 
Quick tips to a healthier back
Following any period of prolonged inactivity, begin a program of regular low-impact exercises. Speed walking, swimming, or stationary bike riding 30 minutes a day can increase muscle strength and flexibility. Yoga can also help stretch and strengthen muscles and improve posture. Always stretch before and after exercise or other strenuous physical activity.
  • Don’t slouch when standing or sitting. When standing, keep your weight balanced on your feet. Your back supports weight most easily when curvature is reduced.
  • At home or work, make sure your work surface is at a comfortable height for you.
  • Sit in a chair with good lumbar support and proper position and height for the task. Keep your shoulders back. Switch sitting positions often and periodically walk around the office or gently stretch muscles to relieve tension. A pillow or rolled-up towel placed behind the small of your back can provide some lumbar support. If you must sit for a long period of time, rest your feet on a low stool or a stack of books.
  • Wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes.
  • Sleep on your back or side with a pillow between your legs. Always sleep on a firm surface.
  • Ask for help when transferring an ill or injured family member from a reclining to a sitting position or when moving the patient from a chair to a bed.
  • Don’t try to lift objects too heavy for you. Lift with your knees, pull in your stomach muscles, and keep your head down and in line with your straight back. Keep the object close to your body. Do not twist when lifting.
  • Maintain proper nutrition and diet to reduce and prevent excessive weight, especially weight around the waistline that taxes lower back muscles. A diet with sufficient daily intake of calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D helps to promote new bone growth. Below is some low-impact exercises designed to strengthen lower back and abdominal muscles.

Lie on your back with both knees bent.
Flatten your back to the floor
Relax up.

Addominal Hallowing: 10 reps, 5 sec hold, 1 set
Lie flat on back with spine in neutral position.
Begin by drawing navel down toward spine.
Hold at final position
 
Hip Flexor Stretch: 2 reps, 30 sec hold, 1 set
Kneel on your involved side.
Stretch your body forward.
Feel stretch in your hip/thigh.
 
Alternate, Opposite Arm & Leg Raise in Quadruped: 10 reps, 1 set
Start on your hands and knees.
Raise your right arm and left leg.
Lower then repeat with left arm and right leg.
 
Bridging, one left straight: 10 reps, 1 set
Lie on your back with your left knee bent.
Extend your right leg and raise your hips.
Lower and repeat with left leg extend.
 
 
QL side support on elbow with bent knees: 10 reps, 5 sec hold, 1 set
Align shoulders, spine and hips.
Stop when spine is straight and hold.
Stop when spine is straight and hold.
 
 
QL side support on elbow with knees straight: 10 reps, 5 sec hold, 1 set
Align shoulders, spine and hips.
Lift pelvis off floor.
Stop when spine is straight and hold.
 
Piriformis Stratch in Sitting: 2 reps, 30 sec hold, 1 set
Bend your knee and place ankle next to straight leg.
Grab the side of your thigh.
Pull knee across body. Sit up straight.
 
Alternate Leg Raise in Quadruped: 10 reps, 1 set
Start on your hands and knees.
Extend right leg straight back.
Lower right leg then extend left leg.
 
Cat/Camel Stratch: 10 reps, 1 set
Start on your hands and knees.
Arch back up toward ceiling.
Then sag back down toward floor.
 
Lower Back Extension Stratch on Elbows: 10 reps, 1 set
Lie on your stomach with elbows by your side.
Press up on your elbows.
Hold the stretch.
 
Arm Raise, alternate in Quadruped: 10 reps, 1 set
Start on your hands and knees.
Raise your right arm.
Lower then repeat with your left arm.
 
Straight Curl-up, Arms Reaching Forward: 10 reps, 1 set
Lie on back with knees bent arms at side.
Curl up raising  your shoulders off the floor.
Lower and repeat.
 
Bridging: 10 reps, 1 set
Lie on your back with your knees bent.
Lift your hips so your back is in a straight line.
Lower and repeat.
 
Summary
Remember the more you strengthen your core muscles the stronger your back will become. If you have a sore back, don’t put off having a myorthotics treatment, the sooner your back is attended to, the quicker it will settle down for you and the less likely that you will need a follow-up treatment.
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