7 of the Best Spinal Exercises to Protect Your Back
A question we get asked regularly is what exercises or stretches can I do to help my back and my spine. To start the year strong, we've put together some incredible content for you. Here are our seven exercises, the best exercises your chiropractor recommends for your back – your spine, hips and pelvis. They are simple and don’t cost you anything except a small amount of time.
Your spine is composed of four segments, your neck, called your cervical spine, your mid back called your thoracic spine, your low back, called your lumbar spine, and then your pelvis. Your hips attach into your pelvis via a ball and socket joint. Our seven exercises, one for everyday of the week, covers all these areas of your back.
You’ve probably already worked out that the idea is to do one of these exercises for each day of the week. We've got one for if you're sitting down at work, ones for if you want to lie down at home while the ads are on in the TV. And we've got one that you can do walking up and down your hallway. You don't need any equipment. You just need your body. So, enjoy. This is for you.
Walking with big arm swings - walking for 10 minutes.
This is really just what it says, walk and swing those arms. You want them to come up really high so they are parallell to the ground. This way your entire spine will become toned. It is also a great way to build you heart rate up and help build the connection of the left and right hemispheres of your brain.
Shoulder Blade Squeeze - Repeat 10xs holding for 10 seconds.
Firstly, stand tall with the top of your head pulling to the sky. Now. imagine you have a pea between your shoulder blades and you have to try and hold it there and then pull it to the ground just a little. Releast after 10 seconds and repeat. This is both a stretch and a strengtheing exercise. So simple, yet so effective. It will assist your upper back and shoulder pain plus help prevent that hunced little old man or lady look that our lifestyles tend to put us into
The Walking Lunge - Do 20 Steps in total
Find a hallway or use your driveway for this exercise. You are going to be lunging from leg to leg along it. Take a big step forward. Both legs should be bent at the bottom of the lunge, with the front knee just over or behind the same ankle. Push off your back foot and step forward. Remember to keep your torso in an upright position with each step you take. Continue to walk 10 steps on each leg, 20 in total. This is a great exercise for hip mobility, knee stability and lower body strength.
Pelvic Stretch (Buttock or Piriformis Stretch) - Repeat 10 xs for 10 seconds each side.
Lie on you back and bring your left knee toward your chest on a 30° angle towards your right shoulder. Hold for 10 seconds then release and repeat with your right leg bringing it toward your chest on a 30° angle towards your left shoulder. You should feel the stretch in your buttock. This exercise is fantastic for athletes, netballers and footballers as the piriformis muscle works hard during these activities and can cause lots of problems if it’s not looked after well.
Side Neck Stretch – 10xs for 10 seconds each side.
You can use a chair or get comfortable cross legged on the ground. Make sure you are sitting up tall then tilt your head to the right. Using your right hand to pull your head over a little and help the stretch holding it for 10 seconds. Release and do the left side. To make this stretch a little stronger, with the opposite hand hold onto the side of your thigh or the chair as you pull the neck over. This exercise is fantastic to do whilst you are at a desk or waiting at a traffic light or waiting for your truck to unload. It can help with neck pain and stiffness.
Back Extension – 10xs
Grab a towel, yoga mat or space on your carpet and lie on your stomach. Reach your arms out in front like you are superman (or superwoman!). Then lift your arms and your legs up at the same time, then lower both together. Repeat 10 times in total.
The back extension is strengthening our entire spine as we gently encourage it into extension, a position most of our lifestyles don’t tend to go into very often. By strengthening our extensors it immediately puts our body out of stress /fright flight (sympathetic drive) and into relax, rest and repair (parasympathetic state). As a bonus we prevent the hunched over posture and become more upright.
Hip Flexor (and Thigh) Stretch – 10xs for 10 seconds on each side
Lie on your right side. Bend your left knee grabbing your ankle and pull it towards your buttocks. As you bend the leg back you should feel the stretch in your thigh and if you gently pull the hip back a little too, the hip flexors will feel be stretched as well. Repeat on the other side.
We hope you enjoy stretching and strengthening your back. If any of these exercises hurt, please stop doing them. If your problems persist see a health professional.
At House of Chiropractic we are helping people daily with all sorts of spinal, pelvic and hip problems. Feel free to give us a call on 02 6009 0999 so we can help you too.