Strengthen Your Core and Support Your Back

It’s easy to get caught up in the frenzy when finding a medical cure for your back pain. In fact, searching out medical solutions has become synonymous with pain, and it’s often forgotten that there are other options available in order to help you feel your best. Here at the Spine Institue of North America, we want all of our patients to find pain relief and reclaim their life. By the time many patients come to us, it’s hard to be active and even accomplish everyday activities like unloading the dishwasher or driving your grandchild to school. That’s because back pain can be some of the worst chronic pain you ever experience. We understand that you need help, and we’re just the doctors to do just that.

In addition to working with our spinal specialists in order to come up with a promising back pain treatment plan for your specific needs, there may be things you can do for yourself as well. When you put yourself first, you’ll find that there are specific things you can do to care for yourself. For example, let’s say we help you find relief from your lower back pain with the help of a steroid epidural injection. One of followup lifestyle changes you will want to make is to add specific back and core strengthening exercises into your daily routine. This can help to not only stop the pain, but to keep it from coming back in the long run. When it comes to back pain, no matter your age and no matter your diagnosis, core and back strengthening with the right exercises and stretches can help you to feel better.

Before starting any exercise plan, especially when you have pain or other specific health conditions, consult with your doctor or one of the doctors here at the Spine Institute of North America. We’ll help you reclaim your life once again with comprehensive and leading-edge treatment plans. In the meantime, consider some of these exercises that can help strengthen your core and back muscles in order to better support your spine.

Glute Bridges

One of the best exercises that you can do to help strengthen your back and core is glute bridges. If you’ve ever seen gymnasts or kids do a bridge, you’re probably thinking that this is a little much. These bridges are a bit different.

For the glute bridges, you lay flat on your back and bring your heels up towards your buttocks. Leaving your shoulders on the ground, you then raise up your hips in order to make a straight plank from your shoulders to your knees. If someone were to view you from the side, you’d look like an acute triangle. Hold this position for the count of 15, lower, and repeat. To make this harder, you can try marching in place while holding the bridge position.

Modified Crunches

If you have lower back pain or sciatica problems, then crunches are probably pretty painful. There is a form of a modified crunch that helps to take some strain off of the sciatica and sacroiliac joints in your lower back. Find a chair or couch and sit on the floor next to it. You will then lay on the floor with your feet up on the couch and your knees forming a 90 degree angle over the couch cushions. From this position, you will attempt a normal crunch, keeping the motion minimal and really focusing on squeezing the lower abdominals. Start with just two sets of 10 and work up to more.

Russian Twists

This particular exercise will take some time to master and possibly even build up to, but it’s a really great abdominal exercise. Russian Twists are done sitting on the ground. You’ll get comfy sitting down and then for the exercise, lean back a little bit, lift your feet, and balance on your tailbone. Once you’re in this position, pretend you’re holding a tray. Serve the tray to the right and then to the left. Each time you serve the tray on both sides counts as one repetition. You can do a certain number or track your progress by the amount of time you can continuously do this exercise.


A great exercise to help strengthen your back muscles is the Superman exercise. This is a relatively easy exercise where you lay on your stomach and simply lift your arms and legs off the ground at the same time. Hold this position for a designated count. To make it slightly more difficult, you can do the swimmer modification where you kick your feet in a flutter kick at the same time.

Warrior 1 and 2

There are many beneficial exercises that come straight from yoga. In fact, if you can join a beginners yoga class in order to really help you get moving and do a lot of good for your body. But if not, then doing Warrior 1 and Warrior 2 at home can’t hurt. For this yoga position, you will take a medium to low lunge stance. Let your back foot rest perpendicular to the rest of your body and push forward. Raise your hands up over your head and stretch upward, focusing on holding a solid position. This is Warrior 1.

For Warrior 2, simply move into Warrior 1 and then let your arms come down into a “T” position. However, you’re going to have the matching arm to the leg in front reaching forward and the matching arm to the leg in back reaching backward. Focus on opening up your shoulders and keep your arms parallel to the floor. Hold these positions for a designated amount of time.

Plank with Knee Up

Planks are excellent exercises to help build both abdominal and back strength. There are many ways to do planks, and you can modify them to fit your needs. What matters is that you focus on engaging your whole core evenly in order to reap the benefits. For this particular modification, start on your hands and knees, and using your arms to support yourself, walk your feet backwards into a standard plank. While you hold this position and focus on holding your shoulders firm, lift one leg and, focusing on your abdominals, bring one knee up towards your nose, and then release it back. Repeat this with your other leg. There is also a modification where you can extend the opposite arm and contract it with the leg that you are bringing up towards your chest. Keep the movements slow and even.

Here at the Spine Institute of North America, we focus on helping you heal and live the life that you want free of back pain. Let us help you. Schedule an appointment at one of our New Jersey locations today.

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