NECK AND SHOULDER EXERCISES
BAND PULL APARTS AND PULL DOWNS
Band Pull Aparts and Pull Downs are exercises to strengthen the shoulder and neck muscles that are involved in ones posture. By performing these exercises the proper postural muscles become engaged relieving the tension and compression on the cervical spine. To execute the exercises grasp the ends of the band and pull it apart either in front of ones chest or behind the head keeping the arms straight. Band pull aparts should be done 2 times a week, 3×10 in front and 3×10 behind the head. (Bands available at Susquehanna Spine and Joint Center)
The Triple Threat is a favorite at Susquehanna Spine, it is a simple exercise that incorporates all the rotator cuff and scapula muscles. This exercise is also used to treat neck pain by addressing dysfunctional muscles. To perform fix a band to a stationary object and grab inside the band a shoulder width apart. Then pull the band apart keeping the elbows bent, externally rotate shoulders so band is behind head and press over head. The Triple Threat should be done 2 times a week, 3×10.
BAND NECK EXTENSION
The Band Neck Extension is performed by fixing the band between two stationary objects at head level. Place the band behind the head and push into it without lifting the chin. This exercise is meant to be done light with high volumes, about 30 to 50 repetitions for 3 sets. The reason for the high volume is to pump blood into the posterior cervical muscles and connective tissue to promote healing and inflammation reduction.
EXTERNAL SHOULDER ROTATION
Start by lying on your right side with your right arm folded under your head. Your upper left arm should be parallel to your torso, bent at the elbow so that your forearm is lying across your stomach with your hand on the floor. By rotating your shoulder, raise your forearm so that it is perpendicular to the side of your body. Switch to your other side and repeat. This exercise can also be performed with a dumbbell.
INTERNAL SHOULDER ROTATION
Lay on your right side, like in the external shoulder rotation, but keep your right hand free this time. Keep your right arm next to your body and bend at the elbow. Rotate your shoulder to move your forearm. It will start flat on the floor, and then you will rotate it into your body so that your forearm is flat across your stomach. Repeat this motion 10-15 and use a dumbbell if you prefer.
Stand facing the wall and hold the stability ball at forehead height. Use your neck muscles to push your forehead into the stability ball. Relax and repeat.
Stand facing away from the wall and hold the stability ball behind your head. Push back of head into the ball.
Stand sideways to the wall. Hold the stability ball above your shoulder at the side of your head. Push side of heads laterally into the ball.
CORE / LUMBAR/ ABDOMINAL
BAND CORE FLEXION AND EXTENSION
Band Core Flexion and Extension are a great initial exercises to start the rehab process of an injured back. The exercise does not load the lumbar spine and can be modified to keep the patient in the pain free range of motion. Fix a band to a stationary object and wrap band around the front of chest or back of shoulders. Then simple bend forward keeping the low back straight for flexion or start in the bent over postion and return to neutral for the extension. 3 sets of 20 for each exercise should be performed 2 times a week.
PARTIAL SIT UP
Partial sit ups are recommended for people with back pain. The same muscle groups are worked out without putting stress on the lower back. You will start just like a regular sit up with your back on the floor, both feet on the floor, and your knees bent. Raise your head, neck, and shoulders off of the floor and hold that position for 5 seconds. This exercise will strengthen your core and is simple to do. Repeat as many times as you can, with a goal of increasing your reps each day.
Start this exercise flat on your back with your arms extended out to the side. Bend your knees and lift your feet off of the ground. You will now rotate your hips to the side so that your legs become parallel with the floor. Rotate from side to side for 5-10 repetitions. This is another core exercise that strengthens your abdominal muscles.
LOW BACK EXTENSION
Start by laying flat on your stomach with your hands to your side. Lift your head and upper body off of the ground by using the muscles in your lower back. Hold this position for 4-5 seconds and then lower yourself back down. Repeat 10-15 times.
Position yourself on all fours with hands directly beneath your shoulders and knees directly beneath your hips with your back straight. Use your abdominal muscles to push your back towards the ceiling, arching it like a cat. You should notice your head will point down towards the floor. Next, drop your back so that your lower back extends. Your head should raise when doing this. Make sure to keep your elbows straight the entire time, the only movement should be in your spine. Repeat this 12-15 times.
This exercise is best performed with a stability ball. Lay with your stomach on the stability ball with your hands behind your head. Tighten your abdominal muscles and use your lower back muscles by contracting your glutes to lift your shoulders and chest off the ball.
Lie face down with your arms extended above your head. Tighten your abdominal muscles and lift your arms and legs off the ground. It should like you are in a Superman like flying position. Hold this for about 30 seconds and then release. You may be tempted to hold your breath when clenching your abdominal muscles. DON’T! Control your breathing while holding this position.
DOUBLE LEG LIFTS
Using a stability ball, lay face down with your hands on the floor in front of the ball. Raise both legs off of the floor until your body is horizontal and hold the position for about 10 seconds. Lower your legs back down to the floor and repeat 5-10 times.
While seated in a chair, reach one arm across your stomach and grasp the opposite side of the chair. Look over the shoulder while rotating the low- and mid-back. Hold for 15-30 seconds.
SIDE LUMBAR BRIDGE
Lie on one side with your legs straight. Support the upper body by keeping the elbow directly beneath the shoulder. Being careful not to let the top hip rotate forward, engage the abdominals and use the torso to lift the hips. Hold this position for 10 to 15 seconds, maintaining a neutral neck and spine position.
SINGLE-LEG REVERSE CURL
Lie on your back with one knee flexed and foot flat on the floor and the other leg straight out slightly raised off the ground. Extend arms flat along body and maintain neutral alignment in the cervical spine.
Lift the working knee and leg in an upward diagonal direction over the belly button. Pause, then slowly lower the leg to the starting position. Repeat with other leg.
CRUNCH W/ STABILITY BALL
Lay down with your back on the stability ball and your hands behind your head or folded across your chest. Maintain a backwards-pelvic tilt and raise shoulder blades off the ball, return to the starting position, and repeat.