Tens of millions of Americans experience infrequent or chronic back pain, and spine issues are one of the most common reasons that patients set up sessions with our team. We love helping patients overcome debilitating spine pain so that they can get back to doing all the physical activities they love. If you have a bad back or lingering spine discomfort, consider syncing up with a physical therapist or checking out some of these PT exercises that can help your bad back recover.
Improving Your Spine With Physical Therapy
Before we walk you through some of the types of physical therapy exercises and activities that we typically recommend for patients who are dealing with back pain, we want to note that spine injuries can vary significantly from person to person. Your spine is incredibly complex, meaning that your underlying issue could be with a vertebra, a disc, a nerve, a ligament, a muscle or another structure entirely. Although these exercises may prove beneficial, your best bet is to connect with a physical therapist who can assess your spine in person and develop a specific diagnosis. This will help guide them in charting a treatment plan that is tailored to your individual needs. Odds are some of the following activities will be on your list.
- Planks – Planks help to target your back extensors, erector spinae, abdominals and quadratus lumborum. You’ll start by lying on the grounds with your forearms on the floor and your elbows directly below your shoulders. Lift your hips off the floor and tighten your abdominal muscles as you are now being held up by your toes and your forearms. Keep your spine and butt in a line as you hold this position for 30-60 seconds. Give yourself a 30-second break and then complete a few more.
- Hip Bridges – Hip bridges will strengthen your lower back extensor, erector spinae, gluteal muscles and your hamstrings. You’ll start on your back on the ground with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Lift your pelvis off the ground, forming a straight line from your shoulders to your knees, tightening your abs and your gluteal muscles in the process. Hold this position for 15-30 seconds, then slowly lower your hips, give them a short break and repeat.
- Bird Dogs – Bird dogs will help improve your back extensors, erector spinae and gluteal muscles, and it’s another exercise that you can perform at home without any special equipment. You’ll start on your hands and knees with your shoulders directly over your hands and your hips directly over your knees. Raise one arm straight out until it is shoulder-height and level with your body. Find your balance and then slowly lift and extend the leg on the opposite side of your body. This position will require you to tighten your abdominal muscles, your buttocks and your thighs as you work to maintain your balance. Hold for 15-30 seconds, then bring your arm and leg down and perform the position with your other arm and leg.
- Knee To Chest – You’ll feel this exercise in your quadratus lumborum and your lower back. Begin on your back on the floor, then slowly lift one leg up as if you’re trying to bring your knee to your chest. Once you can’t bring your knee up any further, grab your knee or shin and pull it closer to your chest, keeping your back flat on the floor as you do it. Hold for 10 seconds, then switch and perform the exercise with your other leg. Do this exercise 5-10 times for each leg.
These are just a few of the basic exercises and stretches that we recommend to patients dealing with mild to moderate back pain, but we’d be more than happy to develop an individualized PT program based on your specific needs. To finally overcome your back pain, reach out to the team at OrthoRehab Specialists today at (612) 339-2041.
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