Recovering from a back injury is no easy task, but with the right exercises and physical therapy plan, you can improve your mobility and quality of life. Here’s a guide from a2z Health Group to help you get started on the road to recovery.
One of the most important aspects of any physical therapy routine is stretching. The process of stretching helps keep your muscles flexible and reduces stiffness. It also helps loosen up tight muscles that may be causing discomfort or limiting your range of motion.
Try these stretches for improved mobility after a back injury:
- Hamstring Stretch – Lie on your back with one leg extended straight out in front of you and the other leg bent at the knee. Loop a towel around the ball of your foot and gently pull it towards you until you feel a light stretch in your hamstring muscle. Hold this position for 30 seconds, then switch legs. Repeat 3 times on each side.
- Gluteal Stretch – Lie on your back with both knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Cross one ankle over the opposite thigh just above the knee joint and hug that same knee toward your chest until you feel a light stretch in your hip area. Hold this position for 30 seconds, then switch sides. Repeat 3 times on each side.
- Cat-Cow Stretch – Get into an all-fours position with hands directly below shoulders and knees directly below hips (like a tabletop). Inhale deeply while arching your spine so that it creates an arch from head to tailbone (this is ‘cat’ pose). Then exhale deeply while arching your spine in the opposite direction so that it creates an arch from tailbone to head (this is ‘cow’ pose). Repeat 10 times.
In addition to stretching, strengthening exercises can also help improve mobility after a back injury. Try these exercises to strengthen core muscles which will help support proper alignment of vertebrae while moving around:
- Planks – Start in an all-fours position with hands directly below shoulders and knees directly below hips (like a tabletop). Keep abdominal muscles engaged throughout exercise by drawing them inward towards spine as you lower down onto forearms one at a time so that elbows are directly beneath shoulders (like plank position). Hold this position for 30 seconds, then release slowly back into tabletop position before repeating 2 more times.
- Superman Lifts – Lie face down on stomach with arms extended out straight in front of head, palms facing down. Engage abdominal muscles by drawing them inward towards spine throughout entire exercise. Simultaneously lift arms, legs, chest off ground as high as possible without straining or sacrificing proper form. Hold this ‘superman’ pose for 2-3 seconds before releasing slowly back onto ground. Repeat 8-10 times per set, resting as needed between sets if necessary.
Try these stretches and strengthening exercised today
When recovering from any type of back injury, it’s important to ensure proper form when attempting any physical therapy exercises at home or elsewhere. This is especially true when dealing with more serious injuries such as disc herniation or sciatica nerve compression issues which require specialised treatment regimens tailored specifically to meet individual needs. With time, patience and dedication, you can significantly improve mobility after any type of lower back injury. Good luck!