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Spinal Strength and Conditioning

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8 Elements of a Spinal Strength and Conditioning Program

stockfresh_2686575_back-pain-in-human-body_sizeM_8022bawebA strong, well-conditioned back will protect the spine and resist more stress, than one that has not been accustomed to exercise. Flexibility and strengthening back exercises not only aids in avoiding injury, or lessens the effect of injury if the spine is distressed, it can help lessen the pain of many back conditions.

Therefore strengthening the muscles that hold the spine straight and upright is vital to spinal health and conditioning.

Many back exercises can help strengthen the spinal column and the supporting vital tissue and muscle structure. These back exercises focus not only on the back, but also the abdominal (stomach) muscles and gluteus (buttocks) and hip muscles.

The most well-known back strengthening exercises are generally first learned by working with a physical therapist who can demonstrate the exercises and correct a patient’s form to ensure strengthening and/or back pain relief is achieved.  The two forms of physical therapy exercise may also be combined when appropriate.

After an injury or surgery, an exercise conditioning program will help you return to daily activities and enjoy a more energetic, vigorous lifestyle.  A return to sports and other recreational activities will be optimised by obtaining a conditioning program that has been prepared by a skilled professional.

A general conditioning program provides a wide range of training activities. The program must be safe and effective for you, and should be performed under your doctor’s direction. Liaising with your doctor or healthcare professional about which exercises to do, will best help you meet your rehabilitation goals.

8 Elements of a Spinal Strength Conditioning Program

1. Strength

Strengthening the muscles that support your spine will help keep your back and upper body firm. To prevent further injury, ensure you keep these muscles strong, which can also relieve back pain.

2. Flexibility

Stretching the muscles that you strengthen is important to restore your range of motion and prevent injury. To keep your muscles long and flexible, and help reduce muscle soreness, a gentle stretch following strengthening exercises.

3. Target Muscles

The muscle groups targeted in a conditioning program include:

•      Cervical spine (neck)

•      Trapezius (neck and upper back)

•      Latissimus dorsi (side and middle back)

•      Back extensors and erector spinae (middle and lower back)

•      Quadratus lumborum (lower back)

•      Abdominals
4. Length of program

A spine conditioning program should be continued under the direction of your healthcare professional. Continuing the exercises two to three days a week will preserve strength and range of motion in your back.  These exercises can be continued as a maintenance program for lifelong defence and health of your shoulders.
5. Warm up

Warm up with a short period of low weight bearing activity, such as walking or bicycle riding.
6. Stretch

After the warm-up, do stretching exercises before moving on to the strengthening exercises. When you have completed strengthening exercises, repeat the stretching exercises to end your program.
7. Do not ignore pain

Do not exercise if you are feeling pain. Consult your healthcare professional if you have any discomfort while exercising.
8. Ask questions:

If you are not sure how to do an exercise, or how often to do it, contact your healthcare professional.

 

Low back exercises concentrate on strengthening the core muscles, to ensure the spine is stable. Preventative rehabilitation programs focusing on strengthening lumbar muscles combined with core stability and proprioception will reduce the risk of low back pain if performed well and regularly.

There is now an abundance of research supporting the need for individuals to exercise to maintain adequate muscle strength, bone density and cardiovascular fitness to maintain a healthy lifestyle and to ensure that you maintain spinal strength.
If you’d like some guidance on a spinal strength and conditioning program then please get in touch. One of our practitioners can help provide you with the guidance and expertise you need to create a program, tailored to you. Click here to book in now.