PDF Exercise Packets
Exercise clips and videos
Core, Lower back and Lower Body
One of the main reasons we see patients with back and neck pain is because the fundamental muscles that create power for movement are weak, such as the core, gluts, legs and upper back. This is an excellent starter series to increase core stability, glut and lower back strength.
Another excellent series of exercises to improve core stability and coordination, balance and brain-body communication. Highly recommended for patients prone to falls and balance issues.
This is a great exercise for patients who suffer from lower back pain. The purpose of this exercises is to strengthen the butt, legs and core while increasing stability to the lower back, which can have drastic effects on posture and pain. Perform these by themselves or as a pre-training exercise before your lower body workout.
The Bosu Ball is an excellent way to continue your training of the thighs, gluts and core once you are comfortable with the more basic and fundamental moves like the wall squat. The bosu ball provides an unstable surface which forces your body to react and adapt rapid change and helps with proprioception (joint awareness), balance and coordination. This exercises should be done in sets of 3-5 using 8-12 repetitions. Dumbbells or kettle bells can be added later to your progression for a more challenging workout.
Position yourself on all fours with hands directly beneath your shoulders and knees directly beneath your hips with your back straight. Use your abdominal muscles to push your back towards the ceiling, arching it like a cat. You should notice your head will point down towards the floor. Next, drop your back so that your lower back extends. Your head should raise when doing this. Make sure to keep your elbows straight the entire time, the only movement should be in your spine. Repeat this 12-15 times.
Lie face down elbows bent to 90 degrees, legs straight and chin tucked. Tighten your butt muscles and lift your arms and legs off the ground. Make a strong contraction between your shoulder blades and in your buttocks. Do not squeeze your lower back. Hold this for about 4-5 long breaths then release. You may be tempted to hold your breath when clenching. DON’T! Control your breathing while holding this position.
DOUBLE LEG LIFTS
Using a stability ball, lay face down with your hands on the floor in front of the ball. Raise both legs off of the floor until your body is horizontal and hold the position for about 10 seconds. Lower your legs back down to the floor and repeat 5-10 times.
While seated in a chair, reach one arm across your stomach and grasp the opposite side of the chair. Look over the shoulder while rotating the low- and mid-back. Hold for 15-30 seconds.
Neck, Upper Back and Upper Body
The brugger works the opposite muscles associated with poor posture. For neck pain sufferers this exercise is a must. When performing a brugger, remember to do your maximal pain free range of motion so as not to cause injury or strain. I usually recommend 3-4 repetitions for about 6 seconds each to my patients.
The row is a great for the muscles of the upper back and promote good posture. If you already workout regularly either in the gym or at home this exercise is easy to implement. Form is very important here. For best results, make sure your head stays in a neutral position, chin tucked. You also want to be sure to sit down into the squat, not bending from the waist. Before you start, get into position with your arms hanging in front of you. Your hands should be touching your knees. When performing the move, pay special attention to the area between your shoulder blades. Make every rep count with solid contractions between the shoulder blades while keeping your head neutral and chin tucked. Start out with 2-3 sets of 6-10 with a firm squeeze at the top.
Wall angels are an exercise that doesn’t require any equipment and can be done at home each day to improve posture and reduce neck pain. I can’ stress form enough. If you do find it to be difficult at first, you can make this move easier by moving your feet further from the wall or even lying on the floor with your knees bent, however you just want to make sure it is done properly. This is a control move, so do it slowly, concentrating on the contractions and keeping your arms, elbows, ribs and back in contact with the wall or floor. Do 10 repetitions a few times each day at first to stimulate the muscles. Over time, this can make a real difference in your posture.
Isometric Neck Flexion/Extension
These exercises are easy to perform and focus on neck strength and stability. Unfortunately, I was unable to track down a suitable video demonstrating this, but the explanation is simple enough. This can be performed on the floor or against a wall if you prefer. You will need a small pillow or rolled up towel. For Isometric extension, lie on your back with the rolled up towel or pillow behind your head. Tuck your chin in tight and gently push your head back. Hold this for about 6 seconds and repeat 4-5 times. For Isometric neck flexion, lie on your back, tuck your chin and lift your head a few inches from the floor. Hold this for about 6 seconds and repeat 4-5 times.
External/Internal Shoulder rotation
Start by lying on your right side with your right arm folded under your head. Your upper left arm should be parallel to your torso, bent at the elbow so that you r forearm is lying across your stomach with your hand on the floor. By rotating your shoulder, raise your forearm so that it is perpendicular to the side of your body. Switch to your other side and repeat. This exercise can also be performed with a dumbbell. For internal rotation lie on your right side, like in the external shoulder rotation, but keep your right hand free this time. Keep your right arm next to your body and bend at the elbow. Rotate your shoulder to move your forearm. It will start flat on the floor, and then you will rotate it into your body so that your forearm is flat across your stomach. Repeat this motion 10-15 and use a dumbbell if you prefer.
STABILITY BALL PUSH-UPS
Start with the ball under your stomach and your hands on the floor in front of you. Roll forward slowly until your shins are balancing on the stability ball. Now perform pushups as your normally would by bending at the elbow.
SIDE LUMBAR BRIDGE
Lie on one side with your legs straight. Support the upper body by keeping the elbow directly beneath the shoulder. Being careful not to let the top hip rotate forward, engage the abdominals and use the torso to lift the hips. Hold this position for 10 to 15 seconds, maintaining a neutral neck and spine position.