Spine and Stability

Disclaimer: The exercises below are for information purposes only.  Although the exercises here are suitable for most of our patients, they have undergone a full examination and will only be prescribed these exercises if they will help their recovery.  In some cases these examples may not help or if performed incorrectly could make your condition worse. Do not attempt these exercises unless they have been prescribed for you.

 

 

Cervical retractions

Start Position – Sit or stand with your head in a neutral position.

Exercise – Imagine that someone is pushing you on the chin and moving your head and neck straight back. You should feel the back of your neck lengthen. Relax slowly back into a neutral position.

Pointers – Initially it might be easier if you actually place your finger on your chin to give you some feedback. Your chin should neither move down towards your chest, nor rise up towards the ceiling during the movement.  Do not move your head forward past the neutral position poking your chin out as you relax.

Repeat as directed by your physiotherapist.

Lower Abdominal contractions

Also known as transversus abdominals or (TABs) these muscles are responsible for help to stabilise your spine.

Start Position – Lie on your back with your knees bent. To find your TABs find the bony points of your pelvis to either side then move an inch in and an inch down.

Exercise – Activate your TABs and pelvic floor muscles and hold for ten seconds. You should feel the muscles under your fingers contract and activate.

Pointers – You should feel like you are lifting your pelvic floor muscles up towards your spine, you should not try to squeeze or push.  You should not tighten the upper abdominal muscles and should be able to breathe normally. Try talking when holding the contraction to ensure the upper abdominal muscles are relaxed.

Repeat as directed by your physiotherapist.

Bent knee fall out

Start Position -Lie on your back with your knees bent. Place your fingers lightly over the front points of your pelvis. Activate your lower stomach muscles.

Exercise -Allow one leg to drop to the side as you exhale. There should be no rotational movement of your spine or pelvis. This can be felt as either the upright leg follows the leg dropping to the side or the pressure will increase under your finger on the opposite side to the falling leg. Once you start to feel movement stop the exercise and return to the start position.Repeat the movement with the other leg.

Pointers – Imagining that there is a tray with a drink on it, balanced on your stomach, that you must not spill, can often help.  Remember this exercise is not about how far you can move but rather how far you can control the movement.

Repeat as directed by your physiotherapist.

Heel slides

Start Position – Lie on your back with your knees bent. Place your fingers lightly over the front points of your pelvis. Activate your lower stomach muscles.

Exercise -Slide one heel down the floor to straighten your leg.  There should be no arching of your back or rotational movement of the pelvic. This can be felt as your back moving away from the floor, or movement of the pelvis beneath your finger on the same side as the sliding leg. Once you start to feel movement stop the exercise and return to the start position.Repeat the movement with the other leg.

Pointers -Remember this exercise is not about how far you can move but rather how far you can control the movement.

Repeat as directed by your physiotherapist.

Double leg bridge

Start Position- Lie on your back with your knees bent. Activate your lower stomach muscles.

Exercise- Raise your pelvis off the bed until your hips are in a straight line between your knees and your shoulders. Hold for ten seconds then relax back down.

Pointers – This movement is not a lift and drop of the spine but must be seen more or a curling and uncurling of the pelvis. The movement should be lead by the tailbone of the pelvis, it is often described as imagining you have a tail and tucking it between your legs. As you lower the pelvis is seen as uncurling from this position.

Repeat as directed by your physiotherapist.

Superman

Start Position – Start in four point kneeling. Activate your lower stomach muscles. Ensure that your head and spine are in a neutral position.

Exercise –  Raise one arm in front of you keeping your back still. Hold the arm out for five seconds then return the arm to the floor and repeat the movement with the other arm.

Pointers – Imagine that there is a tray with a drink on it balanced on your back that you must not spill.

Progression- If you are able to maintain a neutral posture then progress to lifting one leg behind you and hold for five seconds. Your back should remain still. Return the leg to the starting position and repeat with your other leg.

Progression 2 -If you are able to maintain a neutral posture then progress to lifting one leg and the opposite arm simultaneously. Again your back should remain still. Repeat with the opposite arm and leg.

Repeat as directed by your physiotherapist.

The Walkout

Start Position - Sit on the gym ball. Gently draw in your stomach muscles and sit up tall.

Exercise – Slowly roll down the ball to a horizontzl position, so your head is resting on the ball Do not let your hips drop below the height of your knees by keeping your buttock muscles activated. Hold this position for 10 seconds and then get back into the starting position trying to maintain a straight back on the return. Repeat as directed by your physiotherapist.

Progression – When in the horizontal position try to slowly lift alternate legs without any movement of the trunk

Repeat as directed by your physiotherapist.