Of all musculoskeletal complaints seen by doctors, back pain is by far the most common. The more sedentary you are (desk job, hours in front of a TV or even working on your computer), the weaker the structures that support your frame. This in turn increases the likelihood of back injuries. Many have turned to core strengthening exercises that train not only your back, but also your abdomen, buttocks and hips, in order to enhance stability so you are more likely to prevent injury. Here are a few you can try in the comfort of your home. If any of these cause pain or discomfort, please discontinue and consult your chiropractor.
1) Bird Dog – While on your hands and knees with your hands directly beneath your shoulders, stretch out your right arm and your left leg so they are parallel with the floor. Hold for 20-30 seconds, then repeat with the opposite arm and leg. Keep your head aligned with your back by looking at the floor or just slightly ahead.
2) Bridge – Lie on your back with your legs bent and your feet close to your buttocks (your knees should be approximately above your ankles). Keep your arms on the floor close to your sides and, tightening your buttocks, slowly lift your hips off the floor until a straight line is formed between your knees and your neck. Hold for 30 seconds, return your hips slowly to the floor, rest for 30 seconds, and repeat twice.
3) Forward Plank – Lie on your stomach and raise up on your elbows with your forearms flat on the floor in front of you with your fingers interlaced (forming a sort of triangle between your hands and shoulders), and your elbows directly below your shoulders. Then tighten your abdominal muscles and rise up on your toes, bringing your hips off the floor, forming a straight line between your head and heels. Hold for 20-30 seconds and repeat twice.
4) Side Plank – Lie on your side with one foot resting on top of the other. With your elbow under your shoulder and your forearm in front of you, raise your hips off the floor until a straight line is formed between your head and feet. Be sure to keep your hips from falling to the front or back. Hold for 20-30 seconds and repeat twice.
5) Superman – Lie on your stomach with your arms stretched out in front of you and lift your head, arms and legs off the floor until only your ribcage and hips are touching the floor. Hold for 20-30 seconds and repeat twice.
Back strengthening exercises are important for core stability, but they are not a substitute for regular chiropractic spinal check ups aimed to alleviate stress on your nerves. The nerves are the “wires” in your body that electrically control the function of every cell, tissue, organ and system in the body, including the muscles, tendons and ligaments you rely on for core strength. Consider booking a chiropractic check up to prepare your spine for winter activities like skiing, skating or even shoveling the snow.