VIDEO: 3 Exercises to Maintain Back Health

Clinical Expertise

Jul 6, 2021

Medical Reviewer: David Salinas, DPT, AIB-VR
Last Updated: January 13, 2023

Video Transcript

Hi, my name is David Salinas and I’m a physical therapist with Brooks Rehabilitation.

I’m just gonna be showing you three exercises that you can try at home to try and maintain a healthy back especially if you’re experiencing some back pain.

So these first two exercises that I’ll be showing you are really gonna be beneficial for just helping to stretch out the back to get it moving and to try to encourage the low back and the pelvis to move opposite of each other which is necessary to do while you’re walking.

The first exercise, lower trunk rotations, you’re just going to let your hips drop to one side, hold for five seconds in this position, and then bring them back to midline and then drop them down to the opposite side. You should feel a gentle stretch in the back while you’re doing this, that’s completely normal. If you feel any pain, then try to stop before you get to that position, and then when you come back the next time see if you can go a little further than you did the first time.

The second exercise is gonna be pulling the knees in towards the chest.

There’s really two ways you can do this.

The first one will be pulling both knees into the chest at the same time holding for five seconds just like we did with the last exercise. If that’s uncomfortable to pull both knees up at the same time, you can try just pulling one knee up at a time and see if that’s more comfortable for you. If you have any knee problems and it hurts for you to pull on your knee that way, what you can do is just slide your hands underneath the knee and then pull back towards the chest and that should prevent some of that pressure you get with pushing your knee down.

The last exercise is gonna be working specifically on your transverse abdominis muscle, which is one of your core muscles that helps stabilize the lumbar spine. The way we’re gonna activate this muscle is just simply by pulling your belly button down towards the spine. You’re gonna hold that position for five seconds.

If you’re pulling your belly button down so hard that you can’t breathe, then you’re pulling too hard. So it’s not a really really hard contraction, you’re just trying to get that muscle activated by pulling that belly button down towards the spine. As you get more comfortable with pulling that belly button down and activating that transverse abdominis, you can start to incorporate it into other exercises.

So for example, you can contract that transverse abdominis while you’re holding it, march both of your legs up and back down, and then relax. Or, you can contract that transverse abdominis straighten that leg all the way back out and then bring it back up and then alternate to the other leg while maintaining that contraction the whole time. So you really can do a lot with that transverse abdominis contraction to start to use it in your daily activities.

So these are just a couple of exercises to get you started, I hope this helps, thank you very much.

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Medical Reviewer

David Salinas, DPT, AIB-VR

Physical Therapist
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