Home > Pain Prevention > The Fitness Back Pain Connection Part 4

The Fitness Back Pain Connection Part 4

We’ve already taken a closer look at some of the more specific stretching exercises to help prevent back pain. Now let’s examine which exercises can strengthen the numerous muscles and ligaments that our spinal column relies upon for support. Before starting exercise, it’s always a good idea to do some light stretching and engage in some light aerobic activity. This is to get the body warmed up and ready to move which, in turn, makes the muscles more receptive and responsive to strenuous activity. These are some good exercises for strengthening your back and the other core muscles.

Bridge exercise for abs and core muscles

The Bridge is a great way to work the core muscles that support the lower back and spine.

Before you begin, be especially careful not to overdo it when exercising back muscles because it’s easy to strain the back or aggravate an existing condition, like a herniated disc. Strengthening the back doesn’t happen by using a tremendous amount of weight, nor does it happen over night. It’s a gradual process that requires patience, and for those who dedicate themselves, it is well worth it. If you have a history of back pain or are currently having problems, it’s also best to consult your physician before you get started, just to make sure that you are ready for strength exercises.


The Bridge – Strengthens the buttocks, abs, and low back.

Lie flat on your back with your knees bent at 90-degrees and your feet flat on the floor. Now tighten your abs and raise your buttocks off the floor. Keep your abs tight. Your body should be a straight line, from your shoulders to you knees. Hold for a count of 5-10 seconds. Slowly lower your buttocks to the floor and repeat for 5-7 times.

The Side Plank – Exercise for strengthening the obliques (side abdominal muscles).

Lie on your side and place your elbow and forearm on the floor. Tighten your abs and push up until your shoulder is over your elbow. Keep your body – feet knees, hips, shoulders, and head – aligned and in a straight line. Hold this position for 10 seconds and then switch sides. Repeat 2-3 times for each side.

The Wall Squat – Strengthens the back, hips, and quads.

Stand with your back firmly against the wall and your heels about 18 inches from the wall, with your feet shoulder-width apart. Now tighten your abs and slowly slide down the wall into a crouch with your knees bent at about 90 degrees. Stay in this position for a 5 count, then slowly slide back up the wall. Repeat 5-7 times.

Reverse Crunch – Strengthens the lower abs.

Lie flat on your back with your feet in the air and your knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Place your hands under you buttocks for support and make sure that the small of your low back remains flat on the floor. Tighten your lower abs and lift your buttocks a few inches off your hands. Hold for a one count and then lower back down. Try doing 5-15 repetitions.

Backward Leg Swing – Exercise for strengthening the gluteal muscles. Strengthening these muscles can prevent the sciatica symptoms associated with Piriformis Syndrome.

Stand behind a chair and hold onto it for support. Tighten your abs and swing one leg back diagonally until you feel your buttocks tighten. Keep your muscles as tense as you can and swing your leg back a couple more inches. Now return your leg to the floor. Repeat the flexing movement 10 times and then switch sides. Try 2-3 sets for each side.

Opposite Arm and Leg Extensions – Balancing exercise for strengthening muscles along the side of the spine, back of shoulders, and buttocks.

Begin on all fours with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Keep your back flat and keep your abs and buttocks tight. Lift one arm up and forward so that it becomes parallel with your back. While keeping that arm extended, lift the opposite leg in the same manner. Keep your head face down and your head aligned with your spine. Try to keep your body flat as if forming a tabletop. Maintain your balance for a count of 10 and switch sides. Remember to regulate your breathing. Try doing 2-3 reps per side.


Following an exercise plan and staying with it is one way you can actively steer your life towards more tangible wellness. These are simple, effective exercises that can have a tremendous impact on how well you move and how great you feel.

At Living Well Medical in NYC, we have a wonderful piece of technology called the SpineForce that helps train the often-underutilized deep spinal muscles. What makes this device so amazing is that it actually responds to the user’s postural strengths and weaknesses while it helps rebuild critical core muscle groups, ultimately assisting in the prevention of injury. For people who are already suffering from a painful back condition, the SpineForce can actually speed the recovery process by stimulating blood flow and strengthening the core muscles typically associated with back pain.

At our NYC office, the SpineForce is just one part of a greater treatment program for treating patients who are in pain. If you’re suffering and are not sure whether you can safely perform exercises, give us a call and we’ll get you the help you need. Be sure to check out my personal website for more information.

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