Strengthening 

Core Strengthening
Many popular forms of exercise focus on core strengthening, or building the muscles that provide support for your body. Pilates, yoga and martial arts all provide well-rounded core strengthening programs. Simple exercises can be done at home as well.

Some specific core strengthening exercises are described below. If any of the following suggested exercises increases your back pain after five repetitions, or causes acute pain, you should stop doing it.

Transverse Core Strengthening
This strengthens the muscles that cross from your ribs across your waist and helps support you in an upright position. Stand with feet shoulder width apart and toes turned in very slightly. Hold a ball directly in front of you. Keep your abdominal muscles tight and feet flat on the floor; rotate from side to side. Repeat 10 times. Check with your physician; if you are able to use progressively heavier balls, you will experience more benefit from this exercise...

  

Sagittal Core Strengthening
You can stretch and strengthen the low back muscles that help you stand and lift. Stand with feet shoulder width apart, about 18” in front of a wall (with your back to the wall). Tighten your abdominal muscles, then reach through your legs to touch the wall, keeping hips and knees bent. Use your hips to push your body back to a standing position, then extend your arms and reach over your head and slightly backward. Repeat 10 times...

  

Abdominal Crunch
Draw abdominal wall inward, exhale as you lift chest area. This can be done with quick short movements, or slow full movements. Repeat 10-15 times, to fatigue...

 

Abdominal Exercise
Lay on your back with both knees bent. Draw abdominal wall in. Maintaining abdominal wall drawn in, extend one leg (if your abdominal wall lifts up or your back arches, your leg is too close to the floor). Return leg and extend other leg. Repeat to fatigue, about 10-15 repetitions at a slow and controlled pace...



Resistance Training
Resistance training is exercise done against something providing resistance. It can be done with weights (hand-held or training machines) or using isometric techniques. Common household items (like small canned goods) can be used instead of hand weights. Ask your doctor or physical therapist to prescribe an exercise program that matches your abilities.

Neck Press
This is an isometric exercise to strengthen your neck. Press your palm against your forehead, then use your neck muscles to push against your palm. Hold for ten seconds and repeat six times. Then press your palm against your temple and use your neck muscles to push against your palm, holding for ten seconds and repeating six times on each side. Then cup both hands behind your head and use your neck muscles to press back into your hands. Hold for ten seconds, and repeat six times...

  

Side Bridge
On your side with knees bent at 90 degrees, prop up on your elbow, elongate neck away from shoulder, and draw your abdominal wall in. Continue to breathe. Lift hips away from table keeping your head, shoulders and hips in a straight line. Hold for 10 seconds working towards 30 seconds. Repeat 1-5 times or to fatigue...

Prone Bridge/Plank
Prop up onto elbows and knees. Keep shoulders, hips and knees in a straight line. Hold 10 seconds, working towards 30 seconds. Repeat 5 times...