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Spine Mobility Exercises
Today’s post is going to build on our previous post on spinal health. We will be talking about a few exercises that are great at increasing spine mobility.
Spine mobility is very important to the health of your spine.
As chiropractors, we often ask patients to bend over, lean back and turn during our physical exams. During this range of motion exercise, we are often trying to figure out whether this recreates your pain but more importantly we are often looking at how you do the movement. We are assessing whether the proper areas are moving at the correct time, moving too little, too much or not moving at all. Most of the patients that we see are experiencing their back pain either because they are moving too little or too much in areas of their spine. This results in extra pressure on their joints and muscles which leads to pain.
We like to recommend exercises to our patients in conjunction with chiropractic treatment to help our patients manage their pain and maintain their new mobility. Here are few of our favourite exercises to help patients increase their spinal mobility.
This is a great exercise that helps stretch the lower back, hips and legs. You want to start by kneeling on your hands and knees. Your knees and arms should be about hip width apart. As you exhale, slowly lower your buttocks towards your heels. As your body folds over your thighs, lengthen your body by stretching both arms farther ahead while keeping your buttocks in contact with your heels.
Cat and Camel
The cat and camel back exercise is a gentle exercise that stretches and strengthens the muscles that stabilize the spine. Get onto your hands and knees, with your knees spaced hip-width apart and your hands directly beneath your shoulders. Tighten your abdominal muscles and arch your spine upward toward the ceiling. Hold the position for 10 seconds, then slowly relax your back. Allow your stomach to fall toward the floor, bring your shoulders together and stretch your back downwards into a swayback position. Hold for 10 seconds, then return to the starting position. Repeat the entire sequence at least three more times.
Quadruped Thoracic Rotation
This exercise is fantastic for introducing mobility into your mid back (thoracic spine). To start, get yourself into a quadruped position with your knees under your hips and your hands under your shoulders with the spine in a neutral position. Place one hand on the upper back or back of the neck. Do not pull down or put pressure onto the neck with your hand.
Next, begin to rotate leading with your eyes, head and shoulder as far as possible down toward your supporting hand. Then reverse the motion leading with your eyes, head and shoulder rotating upwards as far as possible. Maintain position of the opposite arm with elbow extended while moving in both directions and keep your lumbar, thoracic and cervical spine aligned during rotation(1).
Check out the video to see how it’s done (2).
This exercise is great at introducing extension to your spine. Start by lying on the floor on your stomach. Stretch your legs on the floor and spread your hands on the floor under your shoulders. Press your feet, thighs and pelvis into the floor. Begin to straighten your arms and lift your chest off the floor. Pull your shoulder blades back and lift your chest through your sternum. Hold the pose anywhere from 15 to 30 seconds, breathing easily.
Some of these exercises may re-create or make your pain worse if done incorrectly. Make sure to check with your chiropractor to make sure these exercises are safe for you. As always, we encourage your feedback and any questions you may have. To book an appointment call us at 519-376-5657 or book online.
- Quadruped t-spine Rotation. Functional Movement Systems. https://www.functionalmovement.com/exercises/30/quadruped_t-spine_rotation
- My Rehab Connection. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8IiwVfCxNc