Here are four very different exercises to maintain a healthy spine. You can also perform these exercises to prevent back pain, to reduce the risk of reoccuring back pain and as rehabilitation exercises to help decrease the quantity of flair ups and quality of life.
The exercises are in the attachment at the end of this blog.
Here are some reasons why these exercises are good for the spine.
Dural / Superficial Back Line Stretch
Stretching the superficial fascial back line is important because of its vast connections throughout the body. The superficial back line goes from the base of your feet up the back of your legs and just lateral to the spinal column then into your eyebrows. Stretching it will increase movement in the dural tube, and whole posterior chain, decreasing the stress on your hamstrings and the lower back, and decreasing the chances of plantar fasciitis and headaches.
Stretching the superficial fascial back line as mentioned above will maintain and increase the movement in the dural tube. The Dura surrounds and protects your spinal cord. It attaches in only two areas in the spine, at the sacrum S2 and the cervical spine C2, the eyes also can have a pull on the dura. With trauma or long periods of time in a compromised position the dura can get snagged on surrounding tissues and not move as well creating more pull in the spine, it usually makes you feel like your back is stiff.
The spinal traction exercise is to increase nutrition to your spine. Your discs get compressed all day with walking and even worse with sitting. This stretch is to help your back regenerate and for the discs to get 'plump' with fluids again before the morning. Our discs only get nutrition via osmosis, they do not have a blood supply only the surrounding fluids can give the discs the nutrition needed for regeneration. Therefore we can help the disc increase its surrounding fluids by applying gentle traction on our body. More is not better, hanging from a bar doesn't work as well as this gentle exercise.
The spinal rotation exercise is performed to increase the range of motion in the thoracic spine and through the rib cage. We have approximately 2-4 joints per rib and about 80 joints for the whole rib cage. We want them to be moving well. More sedentary lives, our computer jobs and our forward posture really restrict the motions in the joints of the rib cage, which usually manifest as shoulder issues. Performing a repetitive seated twisting motion for 20 to 60 times per day with a perfectly straight spine will help you increase your thoracic mobility. A stiff rib on the spine can give awful pain, it can feel like a stabbing knife, or show up as numb hands or an achy upper back. Smokers, people with a pulmonary dysfunction or past lung infection can have a very restricted ribcage.
The rib cage is filled by the lungs, which in them selves are very sensitive. The lungs are surrounded by fluid, then a pleural membrane and finally come the ribcage; with any insult, injury or infection to one of these three structures the lung capacity and rib cage movement can be seriously impaired. With something of the sort the best suggestion would be to come and see a manual therapist or myself at Equinox Health Clinic this would be the most efficient way to increase movement through these internal structures.
Spinal extension is an exercise, which has to be performed with caution. It is too easy to compress the spinal process or facet joints of your vertebrae in extension. This will not stretch you and will only irritate the bony processes. To perform this exercise safely your tailbone has to be 'tucked in' creating a posterior pelvic tilt, and a flat back. This is to stretch your superficial frontal fascial line, it will lengthen your abs, through your chest into your neck. We tend to close in our chest area with pain, stress and over use our anterior muscles with normal daily activities, making this exercise an important part of daily stretching.
I hope that through the stretches explained in the attachment and this blog that the exercises, uses and guidelines will help you maintain spinal health. If any questions arise please feel free to contact us.
Prevent. Perform. Recover.