Stabilizer for the Back

Performing exercises to elongate and strengthen the support muscles of the spine can help prevent back pain and injury. When muscles in the legs and back are tight and/or weak it can cause lower back pain. Muscle strain (muscles that are torn or overstretched) is a problem that most adults experience at some point in their lives.

Another important step in injury prevention, and one that people don’t think of, is balance. Staying agile and stable on your feet can prevent a person from unintentional twisting or jerking in the muscles that can cause muscle strains or even ligament sprains (ligaments that are torn when there is a quick movement in the spine and the muscles cannot react quickly enough to stabilize).

This Stabilizer exercise is a quadruple threat in back maintenance – working the back, abdominal and leg muscles and balance at the same time:

On the floor in a hands and knees position place your knees shoulder width apart and align your hips so that your back and legs are at a right angle. Place your hands in front of you and make sure your shoulders are positioned so that your back and arms are also at a right angle. Your arms should be should width apart. Put your palms flat against the ground; your arms should be engaged to support your weight but don’t lock your elbows. Engage your abdominal muscles and make sure that there is very little arch or dip in your lower back. Lift your right arm and extend it in front of you imagining a level line from your back and along your arm. Hold the head up, but look directly down at the floor. On the opposite side, lift and straighten your left leg, also creating a level line. Hold this position for 10-15 seconds while breathing regularly. Slowly lower your arm and leg. Alternate sides by lifting the left arm and then the right leg. Don’t continue if you feel pain.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Roy Sharp 01.04.09 at 5:12 pm

The best thing for a bad back is inversion therapy. There are several causes for back pain, the most being spasms in muscles of the core. The hips, thighs, butt, lower back and most importantly the abs are what cause back pain. When you hang upside down it allows the muscles of the abs to relax, stretch and loosen. As they do they release their grip on the muscles of the lower back and as this happens those muscles quit tugging on the lower back and pelvis pulling them out of alignment. When these muscles are all stretched and relaxed your lower back and pelvis are allowed to go back into natural alignment and as this happens you eliminate sciatica and lower back pain. It’s the spasms in the muscles that give you problems. Inversion therapy cures this. It worked for me and I’ve had back issues my whole life. Hope this helps you and happy new year!!!

Rob 01.11.10 at 10:45 am

I have a Teeter inversion table at home. I have pain that ranges from moderate to severe and it seems to move around. Lately it has been L5-S1 issues. My new years resolution is to use the inversion table for 10 minutes a day even if I feel ok. It has really helped me in the past. Sometimes I feel my vertibre seperate and your disk slip back in.

It’s worth a try. Just don’t over do it. I can get myself completely inverted, but sometime this is too hard on L5-S1. I can’t say this is a cure yet. I will chime back in after a month of using the table every day.

Rick 07.22.10 at 1:45 pm

I tried my friends inversion table last week while visiting Cape Cod. I used it 3 days straight and the pain I had in my right hip went away for the first time in 7 years! I overdid it considering I went totally vertical 180 degrees from the start, consequently I have been having muscle spasms in my quads and glutes for a week now. Been to the chiropractor three times and needed to take Flexeril, which did nothing…As soon as the spasms stop I’ll be buying an Inversion table but I’ll be starting at 60 degrees!

Lower Back Pain Exercises 10.17.10 at 4:00 am

There are SO many different types of back pain.

Inversion therapy does feel really nice on the spine.

But for me, I had a recurring moderate disc herniation (basically a “thrown out” back from repetitive overuse with poor posture – rounded lower back).

These exercises really helped: (check youtube for detailed instructions)

1. MacKenzie Pressups – 10 repetitions
2. Hip extensions – 8 reps, 5 sec hold for each
3. Birddog – 4 reps, 10 sec hold for each
4. Side bridges – 5 reps, 10 sec hold on each side

These exercises were recommended by a PT I am familiar with for this kind of injury. They could potentially do harm if you have another type of lower back injury, like an extension injury or spondylolisthesis.

Good luck!

-Ian

Tim 10.21.11 at 4:49 pm

I completely agree that strengthening the core muscles and keeping limber are crucial parts of preventing back pain. Dr. Root wrote about this in his book “No More Aching Back”. In it he suggested some exercises and stretches that cured me of back pain, and the Chiropractor. I bought several copies and used to give them away to friends who experienced back pain. It has worked well for them!

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