David J BenEliyahu DC, DABCSP, DAAPM -Selden Chiropractor
With a new year upon us there is no better time than the present to begin appropriate exercises to help rehabilitate your back.
Here are some great suggestions for beginning an exercise plan:
Swimming and water exercises are a great way to exercise your neck and back. It is especially gentle on your joints and muscles because when you are in the water it reduces gravity and about 80% of your body weight. Water therapy is especially useful when land based exercise are not an option due to the intensity of back pain. As such water therapy or swimming is particularly good for these conditions:
- Muscle strains
- Back and Neck Pain
You do not have to actually ‘swim’ (crawl, back stroke, breast stroke, etc.) when in the water. You can use a Styrofoam noodle or an aqua vest and simply float into the deep end and replicate a skiing or running motion. Or just simply walk around the pool, and then hold onto the side of the pool and do some kicking motions.
Biking is a good low impact form of exercise that is both gentle and less jarring on the back. Some people feel more comfortable leaning forward such as in spinal stenosis. However, some people feel more pain when sitting for a period of time such as in herniated lumbar discs. The best bike to use whether in the gym or at home is a ‘recumbent’ bike, which helps to put you in a reclining position. People with arthritis benefit most from this type of bike
Taking summer walks in a few times a week is an excellent way to both enjoy the summer days and exercise. Its best to walk with a good pair of running shoes, which provide excellent foot support, and skeletal shock absorption. It is also best to walk in the early part of the morning, or later part of the day to avoid the heat and humidity. If walking is hard on your knees and hips, you can add trekking poles to your walking routine.
Walking as well as swimming and biking provides many health benefits including;
- Strengthens bones, and muscles in the feet, legs, hips, and torso.
- Nourishes the spinal structures
- Improves flexibility and posture
- Helps improve sleep, which helps reduce back pain
- Helps maintain a good body weight, which also reduce stress on the back
- Helps improve balance and coordination
- Helps reduce depression and anxiety
- Helps manage diabetes, and hypertension
Yoga and Tai Chi:
Yoga and Tai Chi are both excellent low impact activities for those people with back or neck pain. In the summer classes can be found at parks and the beach. Check your local town’s website for schedules. Yoga helps reduce muscle tension by performing gentle stretching and strengthening movements. It also helps with mental tension and anxiety. Tai Chi Involves more movement that does not involve any impact or jarring exercises that can negatively impact the spine. It is a slow, flowing, and deliberate motion.
Safety Tips for when you exercise:
*Always check with your healthcare provider before starting an exercise plan or routine
- It is especially important to stay hydrated when exercising
- It is best to exercise in the early morning or latter part of the day
- Drink 2-4 cups of water per hour when exercising outside (bring a water bottle whenever possible)
- Include a ten-minute stretching warm-up and cool down when you exercise
~ Guest written by David BenEliyahu, DC Selden, New York
Learn more about Dr. David BenEliyahu and his practice on his website