While staying home and social distancing is important right now, it is also important to make sure you are exercising daily to stay healthy, flexible, and to provide support from your back.
Always check with your doctor before starting any exercise routine or program. Once cleared by your doctor, try these exercises to stretch your back muscles, strengthen your core, and keep you moving while at home.
It is a good idea to walk before doing any exercise, especially back exercises. Take a short 10 to 15 minute walk to get your blood flowing and to loosen up your muscles. Going outside to walk will help to break up your day and get you out of the house.
Once warmed up, try a simple cat camel stretch to loosen up your entire back and pelvis. Begin by getting on your hands and knees on the floor. Place a mat or towel under you for comfort. Take a deep breath in and round your back like a cat. Then exhale, dropping your stomach towards the floor and creating a valley between your upper and lower back. Slowly repeat this movement several times.
A strong core doesn’t just look good. When the core muscles are in shape, they can assist in protecting the back from injury. To strengthen your stomach muscles, try a partial crunch by lying on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat. Push your lower back into the floor while tightening your stomach muscles. Put your hands behind your head, take a breath in, and then exhale while lifting your head and shoulders a few inches off the floor. Hold for a second or two, and then go back to the starting position. Repeat several times.
Instead of sitting on the couch to watch the evening news, try wall sits to alleviate pressure on the low back and strengthen your leg muscles. Lean against a wall with a flat back and slide down the wall until your knees are bent about 90°. Make sure your back is firmly pressed against the wall. Hold this position for a few seconds, and then rise to standing. Repeat 8 to 12 times.
An exercise that should feel really good and stretch your lower back is called child’s pose in yoga. To start, tuck your legs underneath you and sit back on your heels. Then, bend forward at the waist and extend your arms on the floor in front of you. Creep your fingers and hands forward to create length or stretch in your lower back. Once fully extended, hold for 60 seconds or longer. When done, sit up. Repeat this stretch 3 times.
These simple exercises will help to keep you moving and provide additional support for your back while you are staying safe at home.
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