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Back Problems Message Board

Back Problems Board Index

Hey onthemendnow, :wave:

Sure, I do about 30 minutes to one hours worth of exercises a day. Of course, do what is comfortable and if you're concerned about the safety of things like this dont do it until you have cleared it with your specialist. I have given these a lot of thought though to ensure that the spine is not compromised (being on my second lot of surgery and all) so i consider them safe when performed slowly and correctly.

The aim is to ever so gently strengthen the muscles around the spine so as to protect them whilst the bone is attempting to fuse. Working on the abdominals and the gluteals (so long as you are being really careful to maintain very good posture whilst performing the exercises) is the best thing you can do to train your body to use those surrounding muscles as opposed to the spinal structures to move.

The first exercises i do are for the abdominals. Laying on your back a mat on the floor or your bed (the floor is a bit risky in terms of getting back up) have your knees bent with your feet on the floor. Contract your abdominals and pelvic floor muscles and maintain the contraction whilst breathing normally, and slide one foot down and back up. The aim is to use your transverse abdominals (the very deepest abdominals that wrap around the spine) to stabilise your spine and hips so that you should be able to move your leg up and back without there being any weight transfer onto the other leg and there should be no movement whatsoever through the spine. This is tricky to master and it's sometimes hard to tell if you're contracting the transverse because you cant see it and you cant really feel it. You just have to be very tuned into the movement and you know that if you are moving whilst shifting the leg that the transverse abdominals are not too strong. If you find there is a lot of movement then only shift the leg out a little way and back. The aim is to have 10 full leg extensions on each side. The transverse abdominals can never been seen so they dont have the 'look' that the '6 pack' or rectus abdominals do. The truth is the rectus abdominals dont have too much function at all except for where large burst of short lived energy is required such as lifting something heavy or sneezing etc.. It is the deep abdominals or the transverse abdominals that have the ability (once trained) to stay contracted all day and thus reduce the load on the spine thus relieveing back pain. It takes time to train the transverse abdominals so be patient and remember..if you maintain a habit of training the transverse abdominals for 3 months, they will 'learn' to automatically switch on and protect the back. You can also contract the transverse abdominals when you are sitting or standing by pulling them in at the same time contracting your pelvic floor, this acts as a human internal corset to protect the back.

The next lot of exercises I do is for the glutes which also play a very important role in stabilising the spine. Laying on your right side with the right leg bent and the left leg extended, preferably on a hardish surface such as a mat on the floor, contract your abdominals and pelvic floor to brace your spine. Then lift the left leg to a comfortable height..say about 20cms. (If you lift the leg too high you may risk arching your spine to get the height and yo wan to keep your spine as still as possible). Then lower the entire leg toward the ground and back up to the 20cm height. Do this movement slowly and for 10 repetitions. Make sure you are constantly aware of the position of your spine, that your abdominals are braced and that your left arm is supporting the weight by having it out in front of you. Ten reps is enough to start with on each leg. Once you feel that your back is coping with the intensity of the exercise and that youre alignment is good you can progress. There are a few sections to each glute. There is the front aspect or anterior, the rear aspect or posterior and the middle or belly of the glute. To cover all aspects this exercise is performed with the leg at slightly different positions. What i have described above would work the belly or middle of the glute. To work the anterior aspect you then move the extended leg slightly forward from the original position and perfrom 10 reps at that stage. Again you must constantly monitor your abdominal bracing and spinal position. To work the posterior aspect you move the leg slightly behind the original position, and perform 10 reps there. The posterior aspect is perhaps the most concerning because for those with lordosis it can throw the position of your neutral spine. At this stage i do not bother with the posterior aspect because it's simply not worth it.

Hamstring stretches are a must. I'm sure you've been told about that so I wont go into it here but you're more than welcome to other advice. Other exercises to consider are squats and lunges. These can be compromising exercises to do even for someone with a healthy back. The best option here is to ensure you are between two rails for support or if you have a fitball that is sound as well.


P.S - sorry for the rant once i start and cant stop... :o

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