Next to good posture and a willingness to maintain your back, the greatest support possible that you can give your back is building strong and flexible supporting muscles using a good exercise program.You may have strong arms and legs but this does not mean your back is in a good and strong and healthy condition.
Your back and abdominal muscles are the greatest support of your spine and can be compared to that of guide wires that keep a tent upright and flexible.If the wires are not strong and taut the tent will bend or collapse and in the case of your spine swayback may result and the increased chance of pain and injury.
Before you start any exercise program a complete evaluation by your doctor is recommended so that the correct exercises may be selected for your specific back problem.Your doctor may advise an initial recovery period especially for recent injuries where pulled or injured muscles need to heal.You may then be referred to a physiotherapist who will devise an exercise plan to help with the healing of the muscles or treat muscles spasm.
In the case of a pinched nerve or misaligned or damaged vertebrae, a chiropractor is often the best option since they are specialists in manipulating the bones into its natural position through using a series of treatments, including heat and pulse, deep massage and bone manipulation methods, followed by an exercise regime.
A few simple but important suggestions for a successful back exercise program
1.If you are recovering from a back injury, follow only the exercises your doctor or health specialist has recommended to avoid possible further injury.
2.Exercise done regularly will more than help to keep a back healthy, strong and fit.Start with 5 reps of each and increase after a couple of days.You can eventually do 20 of each or more according to your progress.
3.Try to exercise regularly, at least 4 times a week.Occasional and irregular exercise may actually be harmful to your back.Reserve approximately 30 minutes in a day if possible, preferably 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes at night.
4.Don’t exercise if you are having pain.Always start slowly and carefully.Don’t overdo it at first but don’t panic if you experience initial discomfort. Consult your doctor if you experience pain while exercising.
5.Do your exercises on a hard surface such as a floor with a carpet or heavy blanket and a soft pillow under your head.
6.Begin your exercises with a warm-up period of 2 to 3 minutes of limbering up and stretches.
Warming up before you exercise
These stretching exercises increase flexibility and movement of the joints of the body and spine.
Knee to chest 1.Assume starting position 2.Clasp hands around right knee and raise to chest 3.Hold count to five 4.Repeat five times 5.Repeat steps 1 to 4 with left leg 6.Repeat 1 to 4 with both legs.(Stretches lower back , buttocks and abdominal muscles)
Leg rolls 1.Assume starting position 2.Turn both knees to left side while rotating your head to the right side 3.Turn both knees to the right side while rotating your head to the left 4.Repeat ten times (Stretches mid and lower back muscles and hips)
Hamstring stretches 1.Assume starting position and straighten one leg. 2.You can put a towel on the straight leg’s foot. 3.Keeping leg straight pull towards the head as far as possible. 4.Hold count to ten and repeat with another leg. 5.Repeat 3 times (Stretches hamstring and buttocks muscles)
We can now go on to the strengthening exercises.
Here are the most common exercises used for spinal flexibility and for strengthening back, buttocks, thigh and abdominal muscles and reducing swayback.Start with 5 reps and increase over time as you progress.
Hip raises 1. Assume starting position. 2.Lift buttocks high off the floor, keeping a straight line from knees to shoulders. 3.Hold count to five and return to starting position. (Stretches and strengthens buttocks and upper thighs)
Half sit up 1. Assume starting position 2.Slowly raise head to chest. Reach and place both hands on thighs. 4.Push hard against thighs hold count to five and relax (Strengthens abdominal and back muscles)
Single leg raises 1. Assume starting position and straighten one leg. 2.Lift leg as high as possible and let down slowly. 3.Do a number of reps and then alternate with the other leg. (Strengthens abdominal muscles and stretches buttocks and hamstrings)
Nose to knee 1.Assume starting position. 2. Pull one knee to chest with both hands. 3.Raise head and touch nose to knee, keep your lower back flat on the floor . 4.Hold count to five. 5.Do your reps and then repeat with another leg. (Strengthens abdominal muscles and stretches hip muscles)
Hands and knees 1.Assume position on your hands and knees with knees directly under your hips and hands under shoulders. 2.Drop your head down and press your back upwards. 3.Tighten your buttocks and abdominal muscles. 4.Hold count to ten and relax. (Strengthens abdominal and buttock’s muscles and stretches lower and mid back muscles)
Keep it regular
After finishing your exercise routine you can round off by doing a few knee to chest stretches.You may choose to do all the above exercise or do more of those that work better for you.
Try to find time in your busy schedule to keep to a regular routine so that this exercise program may be at its most effective.Avoid skipping too many days in between your routine as this can compromise the effectiveness of the exercises .Remember the more regularly you exercise, the sooner you’re back is going to become more flexible and stronger, and the better you will begin to feel.