Back Pain

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

Back Strengthening Exercises with Swiss Ball

Purchase Basic Swiss Ball WorksheetThis video will show you some back strengthening exercises with a Swiss ball. Many different things can cause back pain. You can get back strains or sprains, and it can even be more severe like a herniated disc or spinal stenosis. You might even be diagnosed with big scary words like spondylosis or spondylolisthesis. It is very important to have good posture while performing these exercises. The Swiss ball or therapy ball is a great way to work your core muscle and gain good trunk stability. It doesn't take much to get a good workout on one of these!  Make sure you are holding your abdominal muscles in or contracting them while you are exercising, or you might fall off the ball. Sitting on it with good posture is a workout in itself.

The first exercises are going to be doing a series of pelvic tilts. You want to make sure you are moving just at your hips. If you upper body is moving, you are not doing it right. Have your feet about shoulder width apart, and make sure your knees and hips are bent at about 90 degrees. You can hold onto the ball for balance to start or put the ball against a wall. First you will just rotate your hips front to back, or anterior to posterior. Then you will do the tilts from side to side, or lateral tilts. Finally, you will rotate them around in circles, or a hula-hoop motion. Make sure to do each direction. You can start out with just 10 to 15 of each of these. They will feel easy when you do them, but make sure not to overdo it because you won't feel the soreness until later.

Next you are going to do some combination moves. Now you are going to gently lift one foot off the ground, or a hip flexion movement. Try not to go fast, the Swiss ball is about balance and control, and if you go fast, you lose the benefits of it. Alternate your feet about 10 times on each side. Next you are going to kick your leg out, or a knee extension movement. If those become easy, you can add your arms into the exercises to make it harder. First try lifting your opposite arm with your leg, alternating back and forth. Then try lifting the same side arm and leg together for increased difficulty. Finally, you can lie down on the ball with your knees bent, and then lift your knees as seen in the video.

 

Moderate Swiss Ball Exercises

One of the best ways to strengthen your core and make your back stronger is to use a Swiss Ball. Once you have mastered some of the easy Swiss ball exercises, try some of these moderate level Swiss ball exercises.

You are going to start off with a basic crunch. Roll your body forward until your hips come slightly off the ball and your lower back is touching the ball. Try not to strain your neck while doing these exercises. Roll back slowly and controlled, and roll back up. Just start out with 5-10 and work your way up. Now roll down to where your shoulders are on the ball into a tabletop position. Squat down bending your knees and come back up into the tabletop position. This is working your hamstring muscles. Try to keep the ball as still as possible. If the ball is moving around a lot, you are probably not ready for these exercises yet.

Next, you are going to come off the ball, and kneel down propping your elbows on the ball. This is like a prayer position. Tuck your bottom in so you are in a straight line. If that is easy, then you can push up onto your toes into a plank position. Start off with 5-10 seconds and work your way up. Now you are going to do a walk out or roll out. Put the ball close to you on your knees. Roll onto the ball and continue rolling through and walking your body out with your hands. Just try rolling out to your knees first, and then you can make your way to your toes.

 

Advanced Swiss Ball Exercises

Buy Swiss Ball WorksheetIf you've already mastered the basic Swiss Ball exercises and the moderate Swiss Ball exercises, then you are ready for these more advanced Swiss Ball exercises to strengthen your core and back muscles. Start off lying on your back. Put your legs on the ball, and keep your back and head down on the floor. Bridge up by lifting your hips off the floor into a straight line. Try not to arch your back, and pause for about 3-5 seconds. If that becomes easy, you can try the bridging with one leg.

Next, you are going to roll the ball toward you while in a bridge position. Try to keep the ball in a straight line and bend your knees up towards your chest pulling the ball to you. If that is easy, then try with one leg. The last exercise is going to be plank push-ups. Roll out on the ball with your feet on the ball and your hands flat on the ground. Keep your back straight like you are in a tabletop position. Now drop down on one elbow, then the other elbow, and then back up. 

 

 

 

 

 

Back Extension Stretches

Buy Back Extension WorksheetThis video will show you some back extension and rotation stretches. If you are having low back pain, or if you have been diagnosed with a herniated disc or bulging disc, these stretches will help relieve the pain. This will also help if you have a numbness or tingling going down one of your legs. Start off on your stomach, or 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. 

Next try some gentle rotation stretches on your back with your knees bent in hooklying. Gently rotate your bent legs from side to side. You can hold them on each side for 30 seconds or you can continuously rotate them back and forth. Again, try to keep your lower back on the ground. If you need more of a stretch, then you can bring your top leg up and over to rotate your whole lower body to one side and then the other. This will be done for 30 seconds, 3 times on each side.

The last one can be performed standing up. Put your hands on your hips and lean back. Try not to bend your knees, just at your lower back. Again, this will be done for 30 seconds, 3 times. 

These stretches should not hurt. If they hurt, you are either pushing too hard, or not exactly doing it right. If there is sharp pain with any exercises or stretches, stop immediately and talk with your doctor or therapist.

 

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