I know we are all struggling to get everything done every day. Life is busy. But, the back pain you have needs attention too. OK, so here is my favorite exercise that is designed to help the back on many levels. Pretty simply, it goes like this…
- Stand in the “athletic ready” position, feet shoulder width apart, slightly flexed forward at the hips, back straight
- Wrap your arms around your shoulders, one over and one under to really wrap up the thoracic spine.
- Then from the ground, using your feet to push and grip, rotate the shoulders in a short arc going back and forth relatively fast in a pain free range of motion.
- Continue for 3 to 5 minutes.
- Do this every hour.
OK, so now that you have done so, and feel good, what is actually going on?
First of all, the athletic ready position is a weight bearing posture that gives you proprioceptive input from many joints and muscles.
Second, the spine is protected from over rotation in the lumbar spine because facet joints allow only one degree of rotation per segment.
Third, the localized motion into rotation back and forth causes the deep spinal muscles to contract and relax rapidly improving blood flow and allowing those muscles to relax rather than guard.
All this leads to a happy back. I call this exercise “Aspirin for the back”.
Now it is possible to reduce the load by half sitting on a table or counter. You can also reduce the load by moving through a smaller range of motion. And you can reduce the load by moving more slowly.