Back exercises

Bird Dog Back Stabilization Exercise

This exercise focuses on the muscles that stabilize your back. A stable back is the key to controlled movement and needed for every activity and/or sport.

This exercise requires core activation and stabilization with extremity movement. The challenge is to keep your back and pelvis straight and still by engaging your core muscles. The exercise starts with your arms and as you increase your strength and stability you can progress to legs, then combine the two.

Start: On hands and knees directly under the shoulder and hips, respectively. You can place a ball or dowel on the small of your back as a tactile cue. Tighten your abdominals.

With your core engaged lift one arm up while keeping your back perfectly still. Return to start and perform with other arm. Repeat for 10 reps 2-3 sets. 
Progression: with your core engaged, extend one leg back while keeping your back and pelvis perfectly still. Return to start and perform with other leg. Repeat for 10 reps 2-3 sets.

Final progression: With your core engaged, extend one arm and the opposite leg while maintaining a straight spine. Return to start and perform with the other arm and leg.

You want the motion to be slow and controlled.

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Low Back Pain Exercises

A simple and safe exercise that can help you alleviate low back pain. When you are experiencing an acute bout of low back pain, it is important to activate the surrounding musculature as well as hydrate your joints.

You will need to Log Roll to get on to your back and bend your knees to a comfortable position.

Think of your pelvis as a bowl and roll your pelvis back, "spill it out the back," then roll your pelvis forward, "spill it out the front." This movement should be pain-free.Repeat for 10 repetitions. 
Next you can bring one knee to your chest, giving a gentle squeeze to the knee to get a pain-free stretch in your back. Perform with both legs but making sure you move in a slow and controlled manner. Hold each stretch for 15 seconds. Perform 2-3 times per leg.
To perform a double knee to chest to increase the amount of stretch, bring one knee to your chest, then lift to meet the other and pull your knees gently to your chest. Hold for 15 seconds. If this position is comfortable, you can rock side to side or forward and back. 
Move one leg at a time as you bring your legs down. Keep your abdominals engaged to protect your back.

With your knee bent and feet together, slowly leg your knees fall to one side and then to the other. Keep the range of motion limited to stay in the pain-free range.

Hamstring Stretch:
The hamstrings connect to your pelvis and have a major influence on your back. To provide a gentle stretch, bring one knee to your chest, grab behind your knee and extend your leg up. You should not experience an increase in numbness or tingling or low back pain. If you experience any symptoms other than a gentle pull, lessen the stretch by letting your leg down or stop the stretch altogether. Hold for 15 seconds.

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Log Roll Low Back Pain Self Care

The log roll is a strategy that allows you to get into bed or a lying down without causing more pain or discomfort.

It is important to keep your abdominals engaged.

Start by sitting at the edge of your bed. Contract your abs and guide yourself down, pivoting at your hip, so that as your legs come up, your torso lowers down. Then to get onto your back, move knees, hips, shoulders together at the same rate. This will not allow any twisting in your back.

To stay on your back, place a pillow underneath your knees to relieve pressure on your back. If you choose to sleep on your side, place a pillow between the knees to your back in alignment.

To return to sitting, perform everything in reverse. Knees, hips and shoulders move together to get you onto your side. Always keeping your abdominals engaged. Once on your side, swing your legs off the edge of the bed and push through your elbow to get you to an upright position.

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Pressup Cobra Spine Stretch

A great exercise for spine mobility and stretch.

You will start on your stomach, hands at your shoulders, elbows at your side. Press up lifting your sternum and torso while keeping your pelvis on the floor. Hold for 15 seconds. You should not feel any low back pain. If you do, do not extend up as high.

Persons experiencing lumbar-disc issues will often get prescribed "McKenzie back extensions" which is similar; however, you do perform repeated press ups versus holding the stretch. Plus consult with your physical therapist to see if this is appropriate for you.

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Spine Care

Simple anatomy of the spine and strategies for taking care of your own lower back pain.

Low Back Pain Self Tractioning

This is a technique designed to take pressure off the discs in your low back. It uses gravity to gently create a separation and thus less compression onto the nerves which exit between the vertebrae. 
Repeat throughout the day as needed - Hold 30-45 seconds (This should not cause pain but if it does- stop)

Prayer Stretch Spine Stretch

Great stretch for the lower back - also your lats.

Starting position: on all fours. 
Ending position: Reach arms all the way forward, while sitting hips onto your heels into comfortable stretch position.

Modifications: you can put a yoga block under your hips to decrease pressure on your knees.

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Roller Self Massaging II

Great postural stretches with the foam roller for the chest, upper back, and low back

Back Exercises: Scapular Ball 'I' Exercises