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We have recently added over 30 new articles to our patient resource library including a general excercise section and a new patient guide about Transient Synovitis of the Hip in Children.

Featured Article: 5 Simple Ways to Strengthen Your Back to Reduce Pain and Injuries

5 Simple Ways to Strengthen Your Back to Reduce Pain And Injuries

The back is one of the most used and abused parts of the body.  It is subjected to all sorts of twists, turns, and is put into almost impossible positions day after day.  The back and spine are especially important since they give support to all the other body parts.  If your back is not strong and healthy, you aren’t going very far!

There are exercises you can do, both alone and with a Physical Therapist that will strengthen your back.  These work for anyone trying to prevent back problems, those with a back injury and also those with ongoing back pain [1, 2].  The things you can do to keep your back in good condition or return it to proper form after an injury include:

●      Stretch and strengthen back muscles.  There are several ways of doing this so let your Physical Therapist show you the best ones for you.  Make a habit of stretching these muscles once or twice a day.  Strengthening the muscles surrounding your spine will also help with any back pain [3].    

●      Strengthen your abdominal muscles.  A strong core will help alleviate back pain.  There are also several ways to do this, so get the guidance of a Physical Therapist to learn the best techniques for your situation.  Results can often be felt quickly.  A recent study demonstrated that middle aged individuals who took a beginner Pilates class were able to significantly increase their abdominal strength and hamstring flexibility in as little as 12 weeks  [4].   

●      Walk.  Muscles need to be used regularly so they stay strong.  Simple movements like walking are perfect for keeping the back healthy since it uses many muscles in the body, including the back and abdominals. Even with a back injury, most people can take a walk daily without too much discomfort.  If walking aggravates your back pain then it may be best to be assessed by a Physical Therapist. 

●      Do gentle exercises such as Tai Chi, Pilates and Yoga.  These exercises all involve a lot of stretching, which increases blood flow.  They are also low impact and will strengthen core muscles, all of which can keep your back healthy and you happy [5].

●      Get Physical Therapy.  Working with a trained and certified Physical Therapist can help you prevent back problems or heal your back after an injury.  He/she will assess your fitness level and design the best course of action for you.  Plus your Physical Therapist will also be able to monitor your improvement and update your program as you progress.  A Physical Therapist can help release tight back muscles and manually manipulate your back joints to give you the most benefit [6].

If you suffer from back pain, or even if you just want to keep your back healthy to prevent future pain, following an appropriate exercise program will help.  What you do is not so important, as long as you are doing it safely and appropriately [7-9].  

A licensed, trained Physical Therapist will be able to assess your back, and create a program that is perfect for you.  The professional Physical Therapists at Stellar Physical Therapy would be happy to talk to you today and answer any questions or concerns you may have.

References

1.  Rainville J, Hartigan C, Jouve C, Martinez E. The influence of intense exercise-based physical therapy program on back pain anticipated before and induced by physical activities. Spine J. 2004 Mar-Apr;4(2):176-83.

2.  Oesch P, Kool J, Hagen KB, Bachmann S. Effectiveness of exercise on work disability in patients with non-acute non-specific low back pain: Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. J Rehabil Med. 2010

Mar;42(3):193-205.

3.  Mannion AF, Taimela S, Müntener M, Dvorak J. Active therapy for chronic low back pain part 1. Effects on back muscle activation, fatigability, and strength. Spine. 2001 Apr 15;26(8):897-908.

4. Fenwick CM, Brown SH, McGill SM. Comparison of different rowing exercises: trunk muscle activation and lumbar spine motion, load, and stiffness. J Strength Cond Res. 2009 Aug;23(5):1408-17.

5. Tanimoto M, Sanada K, Yamamoto K, Kawano H, Gando Y, Tabata I, Ishii N, Miyachi M. Effects of whole-body low-intensity resistance training with slow movement and tonic force generation on muscular size and strength in young men. J Strength Cond Res. 2008 Nov;22(6):1926-38.

6.  Kloubec JA. Pilates for improvement of muscle endurance, flexibility, balance, and posture. J Strength Cond Res. 2010 Mar;24(3):661-7.

7.  Groessl EJ, Weingart KR, Aschbacher K, Pada L, Baxi S. Yoga for veterans with chronic low-back pain. J Altern Complement Med. 2008 Nov;14(9):1123-9.

8.  Goren A, Yildiz N, Topuz O, Findikoglu G, Ardic F. Efficacy of exercise and ultrasound in patients with lumbar spinal stenosis: a prospective randomized controlled trial. Clin Rehabil. 2010 Jul;24(7):623-31.

9.  Sertpoyraz F, Eyigor S, Karapolat H, Capaci K, Kirazli Y. Comparison of isokinetic exercise versus standard exercise training in patients with chronic low back pain: a randomized controlled study. Clin Rehabil. 2009 Mar;23(3):238-47.

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