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The best way to prevent injury is by having strong, flexible muscles and joints which resist strain and injury. With some simple cases of back pain, certain exercises can help relieve some pain episodes. Remember, never do any exercise that causes increased pain.
Back Exercise Menu
- Press Up: Sphinx
- Standing Extension & Piriformis Stretch
- Cat & Dog
- Knee to Chest
- Body Flexion
- Runner's Stretch
- Advanced Reach
Start by lying on your stomach. Begin to raise your upper body slowly, while keeping your pelvis flat to the floor. Try to create an arch in your low back. Go up only as far as you can without discomfort. Work up to the Sphinx position, where your forearms are in contact with the ground. Then over time begin to press up. If you are flexible, you may be able to straighten your arms fully over time. Hold for 10 seconds, then repeat.
Start by lying on your stomach with face down. Raise your shoulders and hold yourself up with your arms extended in front of you. Hold for 30 seconds, then return to starting position. Repeat exercise ten times.
Standing Back Extension (above left) - This exercise can be done at work or any other place where doing a press up on the floor is practical. Start with hands on low back. Slowly arch backward as far as you can without discomfort. Hold only for 3 seconds, and return to starting position. Repeat 5 times.
Lie down with your right knee up, and both arms stretching outward at 45 degree angles away from your body. Slowly let your right knee fall across your body to the ground. Keep your shoulders as flat as possible. Hold for 30 seconds. Return to starting position. Raise your left knee and let it fall across your body to the right side. Hold for 30 seconds. Return to starting position. Do the exercise ten times, alternating knees.
Start on all fours. Create an arch in your low back by raising your abdomen toward the sky, while at the same time bowing your head. Hold for 30 seconds. Go back to starting position.
Arch your back the opposite direction by lowering your abdomen toward the ground, while at the same time raising your head. Hold for 30 seconds. Go back to starting position. Repeat exercise 20 times.
Start with both legs and heals together flat on the ground. Raise your right knee upward and pull it toward your chest with your hands. Hold for 30 seconds, then return to starting position. Repeat with other leg. Do ten repetitions with each leg, alternating between right and left leg.
Start on your knees with hands across abdomen. Slowly lean forward and let your body curl forward, keeping your head off the ground. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat several times.
Start in a sitting position with legs extended and feet together. With your hands flat against the ground, slowly extend forward as far as you can comfortably. Hold for 30 seconds and relax. Repeat stretch ten times.
This exercise is more difficult than it looks. Start on all fours. Raise your right leg backward, and raise your left arm up reaching in front of you. Hold for 10 seconds. Go back to starting position. Repeat position with left leg and right arm. Do the exercise 10 times alternating legs/arms.
Start by lying on your stomach with your hands behind your back. Then raise your chest and feet off the ground. Hold for 5 seconds.
NOTE: We recognize that people will diagnose and treat themselves. We have provided this medical information to make you more knowledgeable about nonsurgical aspects of care, the role of exercise in your long-term recovery, and injury prevention. In some cases exercise may be inappropriate. Remember, if you diagnose or treat yourself, you assume the responsibility for your actions. You should never do any exercise that causes increased pain. You should never do any exercise that places body weight on a weakened or injured limb or back.
Scott B. Phillips, MD is a neurological spine surgeon based in San Antonio who specializes in minimally invasive spine surgery, artificial disc replacement, carpal tunnel surgery, spinal cord stimulator implants and other brain disorders, including brain tumor and chiari decompression. Patients travel from Bexar County, San Marcos and South Texas, including Corpus Christi, Kingsville, McAllen and Brownsville for treatment of back pain, neck pain, brain tumor, carpal tunnel and epilepsy-related neurological problems. Dr. Scott Phillips provides a second opinion for back surgery and neck surgery, and emphasizes non-surgical treatment options in advance of spine surgery. Where surgery is necessary because of a herniated disc or spinal instability, Dr. Phillips uses minimally invasive spine surgery techniques and advanced technology like the artificial disc to help patients relieve pain symptoms and get back to activity. This spine neurosurgeon expertise enables many patients to have outpatient spine surgery and be home the same day. This educational web site at AlamoBrainandSpine.com has home remedies for back pain, neck pain and herniated disc. This site also has our philosophy of care about controversial treatments like laser spine surgery.