Working the obliques, or side abdominal, and back muscles to stop back pain

WHO'LL STOP THE PAIN?

Who is most likely to provide relief from back pain? An orthopet? A neurologist? How about a neurosurgeon? The answer-at least in one survey of 492 back-pain. sufferers-is none of the below.

Practitioners Moderate to Dramatic
Long-Term Relief (%)
Temporary
Relief(%)
Yoga instructors
Physiatrists
Physical therapists
Acupuncturists
Chiropractors
Osteopathic physicians
Neurosurgeons
Orthopedists
Family practitioners
Massage therapists
Neurologists
96
86
65
36
28
28
26
23
20
10
4
4
0
0
32
28
15
8
9
14
63
4

Start with five reps, increasing by fives as they get easy.

Twist curl. This works the obliques, or side abdominal muscles.

lie on the floor with your knees bent. Fold your arms across your chest. Slowly curl your right shoulder off the floor toward the left knee until your left shoulder leaves floor. Hold for ten seconds, breathing deeply. Repeat, but with your left shoulder toward your right knee. Do three of each.

Spinal extension. This strengthens the lumbar extensor muscles of the lower back.

Lie face down on your stomach with your elbows bent and your fingers lightly touching your ears. Lift your upper body off the floor, exhaling. Hold for ten seconds. Do 5 reps to start, then add 2 a week until you can do 15 to 20.

Advanced spinal extension. Start this exercise when you can do 15 to 20 spinal extensions.

Use the same position as in the spinal extension, but with your arms extended straight out in front of you. Do five reps to start, increasing by twos as they become easy.

Leg extension. This strengthens the quadriceps.

Sit on a surface that allows your legs to dangle straight down from the knee without touching the ground. Wearing ankle weights, straighten one leg in a slow, controlled motion. Repeat with the other leg. The weight should be heavy enough to slightly fatigue muscles after 12 reps. Increase to 15 reps after the first week. After 2 weeks at 15 reps, boost the weight by five pounds.

Back Spasm/Pain

Exercises for better back care

General Instructions
Your best back support is derived from your own back muscles! Faithful performance of back exercises often avoids the necessity of an external brace or corset. Back muscles can give you all the support needed if you strengthen them by routine performance of prescribed exercise.

Exercises
Follow the exercise routine prescribed by your doctors. Gradually increase the frequency of your exercises as your condition improves, but stop when fatigued. If your muscles are tight, take a warm shower or tub bath before performing your back exercises. If the pain diminishes as you repeat an exercise then the exercise is the correct one for your condition. On the other hand if you repeat an exercise and the pain worsens, this exercise should be discontinued. Exercise on a rug or mat. Put a small pillow under your neck. Wear loose clothing. Stop doing any exercise that causes pain until you have checked with your doctor.

Helpful hints for a healthy back

Standing and Walking

standing

Try to point toes straight ahead when walking; put most of your weight on your heels; hold your chest forward and elevate the front of the pelvis as if walking up an incline. Stand as if you are trying to touch the ceiling with the top of your head, eyes straight ahead. All the elements of good posture will flow from these simple maneuvers.

Coughing/Sneezing

coughing_sneezing

Stand upright and bend backwards as you cough or sneeze.

Sleeping

sleeping

Sleep on a firm mattress. With acute back pain, lie on your back with a pillow under your knees and head. Often times, rolling a towel lengthwise and fastening it around your waist can increase the comfort of your back while sleeping.

Working – Standing

working_standing

Try to avoid fatigue caused by work requiring long periods of standing. Flex hips and knees by placing a foot on a stool or bench. Avoid standing with excessive lordosis (too much of a hollow in the low back). This position strains the small joints of the back causing fatigue. Performing the pelvic tilt while standing also relieves fatigue.

Driving

driving

Use a firm seat with a padded pillow or special seat support. Sit close to the wheel with knees bent. On long trips. stop every one to two hours and walk to relieve tension and relax muscles. Often times arching backwards after prolonged sitting helps to alleviate low back pain.

Sitting

sitting

Sit in a firm back chair that offers support to the lumbar area of the spine (low back). Often times a small roll placed between the chair and your low back helps to maintain the hollow (lordosis) of the low back. Secretaries should adjust posture and chairs accordingly. Take exercise breaks from desk work by getting up, moving around and performing a few back exercises in the standing position.

Lifting

lifting

Bend your knees; squat and lift with your thigh muscles, not your back. Maintain back lordosis (hollow in low back). Move slowly and avoid sudden movements. Try to avoid lifting loads in front of you above the waist line. Avoid bending over to lift heavy objects from car trunks, as this places a strain on low back muscles.

Working – Stooping

working_stooping

If working in a stooped position for prolonged periods, then interrupt posture on regular basis by standing upright and bend backwards 6 times. If possible try to avoid working in a stooped position for prolonged periods.

Exercise

Flexion General Comment – Stay as active as possible. Muscles tighten and stay in spasm if they are not allowed to stretch.

1. Pelvic Tilt


pelvic_til

Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on floor. Press the small of your back against the floor and tighten your stomach and buttock muscles. Do not push with your feet all the pull sbould come from your abdominal muscles. This should cause the lower end of the pelvis to rotate forward and flatten your back against the floor. Hold for six seconds; relax for six seconds. Repeat six times. When learning this exercise it is often helpful to place a hand in hollow of your back to feel the small of your back pressing in towards the floor.

4. Knee Raising

knee-raising

Lie on your back with knees bent. Feet flat on the floor. Grasp both knees and pull them as close to your chest as possible. Hold for three seconds then lower them slowly until both feet are on the floor. Be sure to keep the small of your back flat against the floor as your legs return to the starting position and relax. Repeat six times

a

extensions_a

a) Lie on your stomach on the floor, arms at your side and head turned to one side. Now make a conscious effort to relax the muscles in your low back. This position should be done before you begin each exercise session. Hold for a few minutes

2. Cross-Arm Knee Pushing

cross-arm-knee-pushing

Lie on your back with knees bent. Feet flat on the floor. Adopt the pelvic tilt (Exercise #1). Bend your right hip and knee to form a ninety degree angle. (Position A.) Place left hand on right knee keeping your arm straight. Raise your head and tuck in your chin. Now push your leg with your arm to create a good abdominal contraction. Count to six and relax. Repeat process six times with same arm and leg. Now change to other arm and leg and repeat whole sequence. Note: This is an isometric exercise. There should be no movement.

5. Head Raising

head_raising

Lie on your back, feet flat on floor. Adopt pelvic tilt (Exercise #1). Hold your arms straight up in air. Tuck chin against chest. Now lift head towards your knees, rolling up as if to sit up. Keeping feet flat on floor, raise yourself until shoulder blades clear the floor. Hold for six seconds, recline for six seconds, then repeat six times.

b

extensions_b

b) Starting position, as for exercise #7a. Put your elbows under your shoulders and support your upper body on your forearms. Should you notice a reduction in pain, then hold for 5 minutes. If pain increases then discontinue. If this exercise has . been successful in decreasing your pain, then move on to exercise 7c

3. The Curl

the-curl

Lie on your back with knees bent. Feet flat on the floor. Adopt the pelvic tilt (Exercise #1). Bring your knees to your chest. Tuck your chin down onto your chest. Keep your arms straight at your sides and slightly raised. Curl yourself up, aiming your forehead for your knees. Repeat six times.

6 .Leg Raising

Leg_raising

Lie on your back with one hip and knee bent and one leg straight on floor. Adopt pelvic tilt (Exercise #1). Keeping knee of straight leg tight, raise this leg slowly to level of bent knee then lower it slowly to the floor. Repeat exercise six times with each leg.

c

extensions_c

c) Starting position. Lie on your stomach, chin resting on the floor (1). Then put hands under your shoulders. Now straighten your elbows and push up upper part of body as far as pain permits (2). Keep the pelvis, hips and legs completely relaxed. Try to extend your back as much as possible with your arms as straight as possible. Hold position for 2 seconds. Return to starting position. Repeat 10 times

7. Extension General Comment – Recent clinical experience at the Canadian Back Institute has demonstrated that the following extension exercises are often helpful in alleviating discogenic pain. Repeat these exercises at two hour intervals, six to eight times per day.

d

extensions_d

d) Starting Position. Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place hands in hollow of your back, fingers pointing backwards (1). Now bend backwards, at the waist, as far as you can, keeping knees straight (2). Hold position for 2 seconds, return to starting position. Repeat 6 times.

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