Back Pain

Hi, I'm Doctor Jo, a licensed Physical Therapist and Doctor of Physical Therapy. I hope you enjoy my video demos of stretches & exercises for common injuries and syndromes. If you have a question, just ask. Be safe. Have fun. And I hope you feel better soon.

Top 3 Back Stretches

When you are in a hurry and you only have a few minutes to stretch out your back, try these three simple back pain stretches. These will help anything from general back pain, back strain, back sprain, or stiffness.

The first stretch is a cat stretch. You will get on all fours, or quadruped. The cat stretch is performed by tucking your chin in and arching your back. You can hold this for 30 seconds and do it three times. The second stretch is the prayer stretch. Bring your butt back onto your heels, and keep your arms straight out. Relax your head down to the ground. The third and last stretch is prone pushups or props. Get on your stomach in prone. This will help you stretch your spine into extension. You can prop up on your elbows and hold it for a few minutes. If that is not enough stretch, you can push up onto your hands, but try to keep your hips on the ground as shown in the video to maximize the stretch in your lower back.

 

Prevent Back Pain with Core Exercises, Quadruped

Core exercises are very important to make the back stronger. Using a swiss ball is a great way to strengthen the core, but not everyone has access to a swiss ball. Some people are also slightly nervous to use one! Here are some great core exercises for your back without having to use any equipment!

Get on your hands and knees in a quadruped position or all fours. Try to keep your back straight like a tabletop, and try to keep your neck in a neutral position so you don't strain anything. Now lift one arm up and bring in straight forward. Alternate your arms, doing 10 on each side. If that is easy, then do the same thing with your legs, and alternate each side 10 times. If it is still easy, then lift your opposite arm and leg and the same time. If that is still too easy for you, then lift the same side arm and leg together. This one is really difficult, so if you can't keep your form, don't try it quite yet!

 

Stretches for Rhomboid Muscles

The rhomboid muscles are the muscles that pull our shoulder blades together toward the spine. These muscles tend to get overworked and fatigued pretty easily. Often they are the sites of painful trigger points. This video will show you some ways to stretch these rhomboid muscles.

For the first stretch, bring your arm straight across your body. With your other arm, bend it at the elbow, and place it on the elbow to be stretched. It will look almost like a figure four. Hold it for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times.

Next, bring both arms straight out in front of you. Clasp your hands together, and punch forward. Tuck in your chin and arch your back as well. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times. Now with your legs straight out in front of you, cross over the opposite leg of the arm you want to stretch. Twist your trunk toward the leg, and place the elbow of the arm that you want to stretch on the opposite knee. Push forward with your elbow, and hold for 30 seconds repeating 3 times.

Finally, get on all fours or in quadruped. Cross your hands, and then arch your back like a cat. Hold this for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times.

 

Log Roll to Get Out of Bed without Back Stress

If you have ever injured your back, you know that something as simple as getting out of bed can be difficult and painful. One great technique we use in therapy is called the log roll. This is used to help take the stress off your back when getting up from a lying position.

First, you want to roll over onto your side, and scoot your body close to the edge of the bed. Then bend your knees and pull your legs up towards your chest until they are almost off the edge of the bed. You are going to use your legs like a pendulum to swing your body upwards. At the same time you are dropping your legs down off the bed, use your top arm to push up from the bed. If done correctly, it should be a very easy and smooth motion without pain.

 

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