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Stretches And Exercises 2017-08-01T17:34:37+00:00

Exercise For Sciatica From A Herniated Disc

Leg pain or sciatica from a herniated disc is commonly caused by disc material protruding backwards and irritating or compressing a nerve root, which in turn causes pain to radiate along the sciatic nerve. It also could be because of muscle spasm.

Specific exercises for leg pain and other symptoms from a lumbar herniated disc are prescribed according to which positions will cause the patient’s symptoms to move from the leg (or foot) and into the lower back.

For many patients, getting the pain to move up from the leg to the lower back is accomplished by getting into a backwards bending position, called extension exercises or press-ups.

Exercise For Sciatica* The low back is gently placed into extension by lying on the stomach (prone position) and propping the upper body up on the elbows, keeping hips on the floor. This should be started slowly and carefully, since some patients cannot tolerate this position at first.
* Hold the press-up position initially for five seconds, and gradually work up to 25 seconds per repetition. Aim to complete 10 repetitions

After practicing this exercise, the spine specialist may recommend a more advanced form of the extension:

Exercise For Sciatica 2* From the prone position (lying flat on the stomach), press up on the hands while the pelvis remains in contact with the floor. Keep the lower back and buttocks relaxed for a gentle stretch.
* This position is typically held for 1 second, repeated 10 times.

If the patient is unable to lie flat, a similar exercise can be done while standing by arching backward slowly with hands on hips. However, the prone position described above is usually preferred.

Exercise For Sciatica 3These extension exercises are done regularly, about every two hours. More importantly, the spine specialist may recommend that the patient with this condition should avoid getting into a forward flexed (bent over) position. This tends to counteract the effects of the extension exercises. The specialist may ask the patient to correct any forward flexed positions immediately by doing an extension exercise.

Advanced Sciatica Exercises for Abdominal Muscles and Back Muscles

As the patient’s pain works out of the lower extremity (leg) and centralizes in the low back, the exercises typically are advanced to strengthen the low back and abdominal muscles to prevent recurrences of sciatic pain caused by a herniated disc.

Low back muscle strengthening exercises:

Exercise For Sciatica 4* Upper back extension. In the prone position with hands clasped behind the lower back, raise the head and chest slightly against gravity while looking at the floor (stay low). Begin by holding position for 5 seconds, and gradually work up to 20 seconds. Aim to complete 8-10 repetitions.

Exercise For Sciatica 5* In the prone position with the head and chest lowered to the floor, lightly raise an arm and opposite leg slowly, with the knee locked, 2 to 3 inches from the floor. Begin by holding position for 5 seconds, and complete 8 to 10 repetitions. As strength builds, aim to hold position for 20 seconds.

Abdominal muscle strengthening exercises:

Exercise For Sciatica 6* Curl-ups. For the upper abdominal, the patient should lie on the back with knees bent, arms folded across the chest, and the pelvis tilted to flatten the back. Then curl-up lifting the head and core muscle shoulders from the floor. Hold for two to four seconds, then slowly lower to starting position. As strength builds, aim to complete two sets of ten curls.

Do not attempt to lift the head up too high, and bring the head and chest towards the ceiling. For patients with neck pain, place the hands behind the head to support the neck.

Exercise For Sciatica 7* For the lower abdominal, tighten the lower stomach muscles and slowly raise the straight leg 8 to 12 inches from the floor leg raise keeping the low back held flat against the floor. Hold leg raise for eight to 10 seconds, then slowly lower to starting position. As strength builds, aim to complete two sets of ten lifts.
* Water exercises are also excellent to strengthen the lower abdominal muscles, and even just walking in waist-deep water can be helpful.

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Beginner Core Stability Exercises

The following are a set of low level stretches and exercises designed to stress and activate the core muscles in various positions. The idea of these exercises is not how many you can do but how well you can do them. During these exercises aim to achieve only limb movement, concentrating on keeping the rest of your body as still as possible without tensing any other muscles.

This is the key of core control and stability. For example, if the exercise only incorporates arm movement, then no other part of the body should move. This is harder than most people think. These exercises are designed to teach correct control of the core muscles during different movements.

These exercise descriptions are for guidance only. Should you have any question or concerns, please consult with Dr. Zavosh by contacting us here.

Foot Lift

  1. Lie flat on your back with your knees and hips bent up so there is a small space between the hollow of your back and the floor.
  2. Inhale to prepare, and while exhaling, engage your core.
  3. Inhale again and as you exhale raise one foot a couple of inches off the floor, keeping the knee bent.
  4. Inhale and bring your foot back to the floor.
  5. Repeat this on alternate legs.

Knee Extension

  1. Lie flat on your back with your knees and hips bent up so there is a small space between the hollow of your back and the floor.
  2. Inhale to prepare, and while exhaling, engage your core.
  3. Inhale again and as you exhale raise one foot just off the floor and straighten the leg out.
  4. Inhale, bend the knee and place the foot back on the floor.
  5. Repeat this on alternate legs.

Single Leg Fall

  1. Lie flat on your back with your knees and hips bent up so that there is a small space between the hollow of your back and the floor.
  2. Inhale to prepare and while exhaling engage your core.
  3. Inhale again and as you exhale allow your left leg to fall out. Keep you heel and outer surface of your foot on the floor and your knee bent.
  4. No other movement except that of the hip should occur. Try and minimize any hip rolling or arching of the back.
  5. Inhale and bring your leg back to the center.
  6. Exhale and let your right leg fall out to the side.
  7. Repeat 5-10 times each leg.

Hip Flexion

  1. Lie flat on your back with your knees and hips bent up so that there is a small space between the hollow of your back and the floor.
  2. Inhale to prepare and while exhaling engage your core.
  3. Inhale again and as you exhale raise one leg up, keeping the knee bent, so your knee moves towards your chest.
  4. Inhale and while you exhale lower your leg down to the resting position again.
  5. Take care not to allow your pelvis to rock or your back to arch. Your midsection should be solid and not move with leg. movements.
  6. Alternate legs.
  7. Repeat 5-10 times each leg.

Toe Pointing

  1. While sitting on the mat stabilize yourself with your arms out behind you, hands on the floor.
  2. Bend your knees up so that your feet are on the floor. Your body and your arms should be at 45 degrees with the floor and 90 degrees to each other. You should now be sitting on your tail bone.
  3. Take a breath to prepare and set your core.
  4. Raise one foot off the floor and point your toes away from you.
  5. Make small circles with your foot. Imagine that you are drawing circles on the ceiling with your toes.
  6. Start with very small circles at first and gradually increase their size.
  7. Make 3-5 circles and bring your leg back to the rest position.
  8. Repeat 5-10 times in each direction
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Intermediate Core Stability Exercises

The following guidelines are for information purposes only. We recommend seeking professional advice before beginning exercises.

Once you are able to do the beginners core exercises with good core control, attempt these exercises below. For a revision on how to set your core see the introduction to core page. As with the beginners core exercises the aim of these is optimal control of movement. Follow the instructions and pointers as close as possible. As always we advise consulting with Dr. Zavosh before starting any new exercise program by contacting us here.

The Clam

  1. Lie on your side. Rest your head on your arm or hand as shown.
  2. Bend hips to approximately 45 degrees and bend your knees at 90 degrees. Make sure one hip is lying above the other. You should now be well aligned- your feet should be in line with your back.
  3. Take a deep breath in and as you exhale set your core muscles.
  4. Inhale and whilst exhaling float the upper leg upwards while keeping your feet in contact with one another.
  5. Inhale and as you exhale bring the leg down to the starting position.
  6. Repeat 5- 10 times each leg. If done correctly you should feel the muscles around the back of the hip bone (gluteus medius and minimus) working hard.
  7. Focus on not allowing the alignment of the body to be disrupted with leg movement.

The Bridge

  1. Lie flat on your back with your knees and hips bent up so that there is a small space between the hollow of your back and the floor.
  2. Inhale to prepare and set your core.
  3. As you exhale gently lift your tailbone off the mat and continue to peel your back off the ground so that you come to rest with your back in line with your thighs.
  4. Inhale and as you exhale, lower yourself down on to the mat- again try and roll so that your tailbone comes onto the mat last.
  5. Repeat 5-10 times

Single Leg Stretch

This exercise tests your hand/foot coordination while testing your core with movements in opposite directions.

  1. Lie flat on your back with one knee and hip bent up whilst the other is straight and flat on the floor. Start with both arms stretched out above the head, on the floor.
  2. Inhale to prepare and while exhaling engage your core
  3. Inhale again and as you exhale, raise the straight leg up, bending the knee towards the chest whilst at the same time bringing both arms forward over your head to meet your knee.
  4. Inhale again return the arms to the start position whilst straightening the leg
  5. Repeat 5-10 times and then change legs.

Pointers:

* Try not to allow any arching of the back when you bring your hands over your head.
* Try to maintain fluid movements with your breathing so that your feet and arms move in unison. Steady and rhythmic breathing in time is the key to this exercise.

Reverse Straight Leg Raise

This is another exercise that is carried out on your front and is aimed to stress the posterior (back) muscles, in particular the gluteals, while engaging the core

  1. Lie on your front with your forehead resting on a pillow or your hands. Place a pillow under your stomach if this is uncomfortable.
  2. Your legs should be straight out on the floor.
  3. Inhale to prepare and as you exhale set your core.
  4. While keeping your back straight float one leg up off the ground and hold for a breath.
  5. Bring the leg down to the mat and repeat with the opposite leg.

Pointers:

* There is a large tendency with this exercise to arch the back. Keep the back as straight as possible allowing only movement of the leg to occur.

Hip Flexion with Knee Extension

  1. Lie flat on your back with your knees and hips bent up so that there is a small space between the hollow of your back and the floor.
  2. Inhale to prepare and while exhaling engage your core.
  3. Inhale again and as you exhale lift one foot off the floor, bringing the knee towards the chest.
  4. When you reach 90 degrees of hip flexion, straighten the knee.
  5. Return back to the start position by bending the knee and then extending the hip until the foot is on the floor again.
  6. Repeat 5-10 times, alternating legs.
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Advanced Core Stability Exercises

The following exercises are for information purposes only. We recommend seeking professional advice or talking to your chiropractor before beginning the exercises.

Below are a set of advanced exercises designed to test and strengthen your core muscles. Make sure that you are able to fully and safely complete the beginner and intermediate core stability exercises before attempting the following set. Focus on control of movement rather than speed. The harder the exercise the more easy it is to cheat and so you must remain vigilant to gain the most out of these stretches and exercises.

As a rule of thumb, the more difficult you find these exercises the greater the chance is that you are doing them correctly. Naturally with practice these will get easier. Incorporating these exercises into your training regime regularly can augment your current sporting level greatly. As always we recommend that you consult with Dr. Zavosh by contacting us here before starting any new training program.

Have a great workout!

Side Kick

This is a superb exercise for challenging your balance and core whilst on your side

  1. Lie on your side resting your head on your arm/hand. Stabilize yourself with your upper hand on the mat in front of you.
  2. Position your legs at about 45 degrees to the rest of your body. You can bend the lower one to help support you.
  3. Inhale and as you exhale engage your core muscles
  4. Now float your upper leg upwards and while keeping your leg straight, kick it out in front of you slowly.
  5. You can gradually increase the speed as your control improves.
  6. Take the leg out as far as is comfortable. You should feel this extremely challenging on your balance.

Pointers:

* Make sure you keep your back aligned throughout the exercise
* Avoid rocking back and forth. If it is too difficult only take the upper leg out a small distance.
* To make this exercise more difficult place your upper hand on your waist.

Abduction

  1. Lie on your side resting your head on your hand/arm. Stabilize yourself with your upper hand on the mat in front of you.
  2. Keep both legs straight and together, one on top of the other.
  3. Inhale and as you exhale engage your core muscles
  4. Now raise your upper leg away from the lower one, as far as you are comfortable.
  5. Bring it back down to the start position and repeat 5- 10 times each leg.

Pointers:

* Make sure you keep your back aligned throughout the exercise
* To make this exercise more difficult rest your upper hand on your waist.

Front Crawl

This exercise specifically works the posterior muscles such as the Latissimus dorsi and gluteals to help align the body correctly.

  1. Lie on your front with your forehead resting on a pillow. Place a pillow under your stomach if this is uncomfortable.
  2. Your arms should be directly pointing away from your feet on either side of your head.
  3. Inhale and set your core muscles
  4. Contract the buttocks (gluteal) muscles.
  5. As you exhale, lift one leg off the ground a few inches, making sure that your knee is straight and your toes are pointing away from your body.
  6. At the same time lift the opposite arm so that it hovers about 3 inches off the ground.
  7. Hold for a breath and as you exhale float the leg and arm down and repeat with the opposite side
  8. Repeat 5-10 times

Pointers:

* Try and keep your back as straight as possible – watch out for over-arching as you lift your leg above the ground.

Plank Exercise

  1. Start in a push up position and raise yourself so that your elbows are completely straight. Your hands should be facing directly forwards and you should be up on your toes.
  2. Inhale and engage your core.
  3. As you exhale, float one leg upwards so that it is in line with your back. Your toes on the raised leg should be pointing away from you and you should be in a position so that the back of your body represents a plank.
  4. Return the leg to the start position after one breath and repeat with the opposite leg.
  5. Repeat 5-10 times each leg.

Pointers:

* Assume a proper push up position. Your back should not be arched in any way.
* When taking your leg off the floor do not arch your back. You should feel your gluteal muscles kick in rather than putting strain on your back

Plank Progression

This is a highly challenging exercise that should only be attempted after achieving the initial plank exercise

  1. Start in a push up position and raise yourself so that your elbows are completely straight. Your hands should be facing directly forwards and you should be up on your toes.
  2. Inhale and engage your core.
  3. As you exhale float one leg upwards so that it is in line with your back. Your toes on the raised leg should be pointing away from you and you should be in a position so that the back of your body represents a plank.
  4. Now raise your opposite arm up and point your fingers away from the body.
  5. Hold for a breath and return to the start position. Repeat with the opposite leg and arm
  6. Repeat 5-10 times each side

Pointers:

* Eliminate rocking – focus on your core muscles to maintain a static posture

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Flat Belly Fast Without Crunches

Four moves that will help you to get abs in six weeks! How to get a flat belly fast without crunches.

Flat Belly Without Crunches

(Courtesy of Woman’s Health)

Relying on crunches alone to trim your waistline is about as useful as wishing for a flatter stomach. To get results, you need to train your core to stabilize your whole body, explains Mike Robertson, co-owner of Indianapolis Fitness and Sports Training.

This workout activates your entire core muscles and strengthens your back and butt muscles (slouchy shoulders and weak gluteal muscles contribute to an unflattering pooch). Do three sets of each move (10 to 12 reps per side) three days a week to see a better result fast.

Squat, holding a medicine ball next to your right hip (a). Keep your arms straight and raise the ball up and across your body until you’re standing and the ball is above your left shoulder (b). Lower back to start. That’s one rep.

Hold a dumbbell and raise your right arm, keeping your elbow close to your ear (a).

Step forward with your left foot, lowering until your thigh is parallel to the floor (b).

Push off your left foot to stand up. And that’s one rep.

Get into a pushup position (a). Shift your weight to your left hand and rotate your body, raising your right arm into the air so that your arms and torso form a T (b).

Hold for two or three seconds, then return to start. And that’s one rep. Hold a dumbbell in your right hand, bend your knees, and lean forward from your hips (a).

Brace your abs and pull the weight up to chest height without rotating your torso (b).

Return to start. And that’s one rep.

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