Fitzwilliam Hospital's Senior Physiotherapist Emma Cranfield, has compiled six simple exercises that can be performed to strengthen your core and back muscles so that back injury and degeneration can be minimised. These exercises offer a range of stretches to mobilise a stiff spine and also introduce people to the idea of engaging the deep stabilising muscles that need to work alongside our muscles that move our spine.
The general rule would be if you feel a stretch initially but this eases, then do continue the exercise. If you experience any pain during the exercises it is always recommended that you seek out medical advice.
These exercises are ideal for those with general back ache or any degenerative changes in their spine. “Exercise is a vital part of improving and maintaining normal, comfortable back function”, says Emma Cranfield, “Don’t fear twisting and bending – it’s essential to keep moving. Gradually increase how much you are doing, and stay on the go to build up your fundamental core muscles and minimise the chances of back pain and injury”
“A lot of back pain is due to postural alignment problems, and if you catch it soon enough and correct the problem with exercise and strengthening, you can avoid future pain. By doing gentle exercises that engage your core muscles you are building a core muscle foundation”, says Emma, “I would recommend undertaking 3x 20 minute sessions a week to see the best results, whatever your age”.
Emma Cranfield is a musculoskeletal physiotherapist practising at the Fitzwilliam hospital in Peterborough, qualified in 2002 from the University of East London with a BSc (Hons) in physiotherapy. She is a credentialed McKenzie therapist, APPI (Australian physiotherapy and Pilates) Pilates trained instructor and registered with the Acupuncture association of physiotherapists. Emma has also competed in age group triathlons internationally and competed at the world Ironman triathlon championships.