Therapists and doctors have been having patients perform exercises for back pain for years. These exercises help to strengthen the injured muscles and realign the spine, helping to relieve the pain associated with back injuries. Two added benefits of these exercises are also that your posture will be improved, and since you’re performing exercises you can lose weight while performing them.
Multiple Muscle Groups are Worked
Many exercises that are prescribed by therapists and doctors work more than one muscle group. For example, in an exercise known as “The Cat and The Camel,” the patient is instructed to kneel on all fours with arms shoulder-width apart. You will then arch your back as much as possible, while throwing your head as far back as you can. You will then hold this position for ten to twenty seconds, immediately going into a reverse arch, or sway-backed position, and hang your head as low as you can. This exercise works all of the muscles in the back, as well as the neck, shoulders, buttocks and abdominal regions. As your strength returns and builds, the time spent holding these two positions will be increased until you are holding each position for sixty seconds.
Posture Related Exercises
Many back injuries and back pain complaints can be traced back to improper posture. There is an exercise to combat this. Most therapists call it the “Neutral Position Exercise.” In this exercise you are instructed to sit in a chair and straighten your spine as much as possible, retaining the small inward curvature at the base of the spine. Once the proper neutral position is found, you will hold this position for ten to twenty seconds. There will be an approximate thirty-second rest period, after which you will find and hold the neutral position for the allotted time frame again. This exercise works all of the muscles in your back, and to an extent, your abdominals, also.
Another posture related exercise is called the “Lower Back Push.” In this exercise you sit in a straight backed chair and push your lower back into the lower portion of the chair back. This exercise also works many different muscles at once.
Effects of Stretched and Strengthened Muscles
All this exercising and strengthening of your back muscles, especially the lower back muscles, will cause them to be more elastic and help pull your spine into a healthier position. Also, certain exercises, like the “Neutral Position” will teach you how to sit properly and more comfortably. Placing your back into a position that you think feels good, is bad for it, while keeping it in the proper position for spinal alignment will feel better over time and keep it from being further injured.
When you exercise, you burn calories and fat. Losing body fat, especially stomach fat, will also help your posture because that excess weight will cease to pull your back out of position and alignment.