Saturday, November 15, 2008

A Ten Minute Guide to a Better Back

There are hundreds of different exercises that can be used to strengthen and improve the flexibility of the lower back. These exercises have been selected because they are effective, easy to do and focus on important muscular structures. This exercise routine will take about ten minutes to complete. A brief walk is a good warm up. Daily use of this program, even when your back feels good, will help to keep your back healthy and strong.
Regular physical activity is recommended to compliment this back care program. As you do these exercises you will feel some stretching, but it should not be painful. If you are experiencing pain, check with your physician or therapist before continuing to do the exercises.

Low Back Rotation
Slowly lower both knees to the side keeping your lower back flat on the
ground. Hold for 2-3 seconds then gently move the knees to the other
side. Repeat 3-4 times.

Pelvic Tilt (front to back)
Flatten the small of your back against the floor. Your pelvis should be
tilted backward. Hold the position for 2 -3 seconds and then slowly move
the pelvis back in the opposite direction so the lower back is arched. Hold
this position for 2 - 3 seconds. Repeat the full movement three or four
times. This exercise should be done slowly.

Pelvic Tilt (side to side)
Lie on your back and move your right hip up in the direction of your right
shoulder. Hold for 2-3 seconds. Repeat on the other side. The ba
should be flat against the ground during the entire
exercise. Repeat the
full movement slowly 3 - 4 times.

Hamstring Stretch
Place one leg up so that your heel rests against a door frame. Straighten both
knees and adjust your hip so that you feel the hamstring comfortably stretch.
s toward the frame to increase the stretch. After 20 - 30 seconds, scoot your hip
Repeat several times and then stretch the other side.

Hip Stretch (Piriformis Muscle Stretch)
Grasp your knee and ankle. Now pull across your chest toward the opposite
shoulder. You should feel the stretch in your buttock region. Hold the position for
2 - 3 seconds and then repeat using the opposite leg. Do this several times on
each side.

Abdominal Strengthening (crunches)
Support your neck and tighten your stomach muscles. Slowly raise your head and
upper back off the floor so that your shoulder blades are off the floor. Hold the
position for 2 - 3 seconds and then slowly lower your head and shoulders back
down to the floor. Start with 10 - 15 repetitions and gradually in
crease the number
as you get stronger.

Back Extension
Start on your hands and knees and then raise your right leg and left arm,
keeping your back straight. Hold for l0 seconds and return to the starting
position, then raise the opposite arm and leg, again keeping your back straight,
and hold for 1-2 seconds. Repeat 5-10 times on each side.

Sitting Knee Lifts
Sit in a comfortable chair keeping your back straight. Tighten your stomach
muscles to help stabilize the spine. Slowly raise one leg up until the foot is
8 - 10 inches off the ground. Hold for 2 - 3 seconds and then slowly lower the leg.
Repeat using the opposite leg. Start with 5 - 10 repetitions and gradually increase
the number as you get stronger.

Wall Squats
Tighten your stomach muscles and flatten your back against the wall. Slide your
back down the wall until you are halfway to a sitting position. Hold the position for
20 - 30 seconds and then slide back up to the starting position keeping your back
flat against the wall. As you get stronger, slide further down to a sitting position.


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