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Guidelines to a Healthy Spine

Increase Core Stability

Target the postural muscles thatsupport and stabilize the spine. (Erector Spinae, Rectus Abdominis).Utilize a variety of working positions in shallow water and body positions in the deep. The more correct posture can be maintained while working against inertia currents the more the musculature that supports the spine will remain naturally engaged. Train pelvic movement to bring the hip-bones toward the ribcage – incorporate a pelvic rock and tilting.


Increase Upper Back Strength

Maintain good neck alignment throughout the entire exercise program. Target the Rhomboid & Middle Trapezius group to strengthen as well as the Latissimus Dorsi (back muscles)
& Lower Trapezius muscles to stabilize the back.
Cue for good body alignment - posture, posture, posture!

Increase Flexibility ie. Stretching

Stretch the muscles to improve and maintain a flexible spine (Erector Spinae, Gluteus Maximus, and Piriformis). Perform a variety of stretches during and again at the end of a program.

1) Low back,

2) Figure 4 Glute stretch,

3) knee tuck stretch,

4) upper back &  elephant trunk, diagonal reaches) as well as perform back extension and mobility exercises.

Use Cardiovascular Exercise

To lubricate the lower spine  (incorporate rocking moves with large ROM either stationary or using travel patterns). CV training will  increase the endorphins in the system to provide energy and reduce pain.


Incorporate the Balance of Four

To maintain good lower body alignment forthe pelvic girdle there are 4 key muscles that support a level pelvic floor. Stretch the Iliopsoas (hip flexor muscles). Strengthen the Quadratus Lumborum(or low back muscles) the Transverse Abdominis and the Gluteus Maximus.


Listento your body; back muscles fatigue quickly!

When sitting or standing for any length of time, try not to stay in one position for too long. If possible change positions frequently. If unable to change a sitting position (such as when driving) try a few “buttock pops” (tighten the Gluteus Maximus muscles to lift the body slightly). If standing to work in one position try placing one foot higher than the other using a box or step.  Change sides from time to time. This is the reason for a foot rail at a bar.


Use correct Lifting techniques

Bend the knees whenpicking an object up off the floor. Keep the object close to the body when carrying. Turn the body as a unit before placing an object to the side. Bend the knees slightly to prepare the body for the weight change in lifting an object down from a shelf.


Ergonomics: the positioning of yourself inthe environment

Check the height of the seatrelative to the height of the desk. Check your workstation – is the placement of the computer/printer/ telephone machine etc. within easy reach? Check your car seat – If morethan one person is driving the same car can the driver’s seat be repositionedfor each individual, or it is left constantly in the same position? Check the sitting arrangements in your house – is your favorite chair the correct height/depth for you to sit comfortably? Check your sleeping area – flip the mattress once a month. Invest in a mattress with the correct support value for your body frame,(height and weight).


Decrease your Stress Level

Don’t sweat the small stuff. Be prepared and happy to allow people to help you. Learn to trust other people to do their job. Designate duties. Try to plan your driving to off-peak hours. If you have to travel in the rush hour – check out the least stressful manner – riding a bike, taking the bus or train, or sharing a car-pool may be the answer. Take time for yourself!  Get a weekly massage. Use the water in off-class time to give yourself relaxation and playtime.  Look after #1 -Stay hydrated – drink water to prevent fatigue.


Maintain a healthy weight:

We all know that excessweight places stress on the joints.
Vertical stress (the load of excess weight)places more stress on the spine.
It is said that 10 pound of excess fat on thefront of the body (beer belly) places approximately 100 pounds of stress on the spine!


By Amit Bidaye, B.Sc.,PT,
WaterART Master Trainer 

Check out the DVD063 Programming for Common Back Problems 

Full PDF ARTICLE download

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