Spinal rehabilitation for treating chronic pain problems

LOW BACK PAIN EXERCISE GUIDE

Regular exercises to restore the strength of your back and a gradual return to everyday activities are important for your full recovery. Your orthopaedic surgeon and physical therapist may recommend that you exercise 10 to 30 minutes a day 1 to 3 times a day during your early recovery. They may suggest some of the following exercises. This guide can help you better understand your exercise and activity program, which should be supervised by your therapist and orthopaedic surgeon (AAOS, 2015).

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AEROBIC EXERCISE

It’s important to consistently perform aerobic exercises. Aerobic exercises are those that engage and enhance our circulatory and respiratory systems. We recommend specific regimens where you can and must maintain your spine in neutral position while stabilizing with abdominal muscles to protect the low back.

  1. Stationary bike for 20 to 30 minutes.
  2. Treadmill for 20 to 30 minutes.

REHABILITATION EXERCISES

Initial Exercise Program

Ankle Pumps
ankle pumps

  • Lie on your back.
  • Move ankles up and down. Repeat 10 times.
  • Repeat 10 times.

 

Heel Slides
heel slides

  • Lie on your back.
  • Slowly bend and straighten knee.
  • Repeat 10 times.

 

Abdominal Contraction
abdominal contraction

  • Lie on your back with knees bent and hands resting below ribs.
  • Tighten abdominal muscles to squeeze ribs down toward back.
  • Be sure not to hold breath.
  • Hold 5 seconds.
  • Relax.
  • Repeat 10 times.

 

Wall Squats
wall squats

  • Stand with back leaning against wall.
  • Walk feet 12 inches in front of body.
  • Keep abdominal muscles tight while slowly bending both knees 45 degrees.
  • Hold 5 seconds.
  • Slowly return to upright position.
  • Repeat 10 times.

 

Heel Raises
heel raises

  • Stand with weight even on both feet.
  • Slowly raise heels up and down.
  • Repeat 10 times.

 

Straight Leg Raises
straight leg raises

  • Lie on your back with one leg straight and one knee bent.
  • Tighten abdominal muscles to stabilize low back.
  • Slowly lift leg straight up about 6 to 12 inches and hold 1 to 5 seconds.
  • Lower leg slowly.
  • Repeat 10 times.

Intermediate Exercise Program

Single Knee to Chest Stretch
single knee to chest stretch

  • Lie on your back with both knees bent.
  • Hold thigh behind knee and bring one knee up to chest.
  • Hold 20 seconds.
  • Relax.
  • Repeat 5 times on each side.

 

Hamstring Stretch
hamstring stretch

  • Lie on your back with legs bent.
  • Hold one thigh behind knee.
  • Slowly straighten knee until a stretch is felt in back of thigh.
  • Hold 20 seconds.
  • Relax.
  • Repeat 5 times on each side.

 

Advanced Exercise Program

Hip Flexor Stretch
hip flexor stretch

  • Lie on your back near edge of bed, holding knees to chest.
  • Slowly lower one leg down, keeping knee bent, until a stretch is felt across top of the hip/thigh.
  • Hold 20 seconds.
  • Relax.
  • Repeat 5 times on each side.

 

Piriformis Stretch
piriforms stretch

  • Lie on back with both knees bent.
  • Cross one leg on top of the other.
  • Pull opposite knee to chest until a stretch is felt in the buttock/hip area.
  • Hold 20 seconds.
  • Relax.
  • Repeat 5 times each side.

 

Lumbar Stabilization Exercise With Swiss Ball
lumbar stabilization exercise with swiss ball

  • Lie on stomach over ball.
  • ” Walk ” hands out in front of ball until ball is under legs. Reverse to starting position.
  • ” Walk ” hands out in front of ball until ball is under legs and slowly raise alternating arms over head.
  • ” Walk ” hands out in front of ball and slowly perform push-ups.

SPINE CONDITIONING PROGRAM

For an example of spine conditioning program, such as what you might design with your doctor, see one approved by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons here.

Schedule a Consultation with Dr. Hamid Mir

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