It is well known that core and postural muscles provide spinal stability. So we need to keep these muscles active and strong. They say it takes 90 days to develop permanent muscle change. This means that it is very important that you are consistent with your daily spinal hygiene.
By strengthening the core and postural muscles in both the neck and back we can decrease stress on the spine, therefore, maintaining the health of our nervous system.
How do we do this now?
Starting with the cervical spine perform a resisted isometric exercise:
• Hold your head straight in the best posture you can throughout the exercise. The amount of pressure, the time held and the repetitions can all be increased as your neck strengthens.
• Place your hands behind your head. Keeping your head still apply pressure with the hands and resist with the head. Hold for 2 – 3 seconds then gently release. Do up to 5 repetitions.
• Place your hands on either side of your head. Apply pressure and resistance on the right side for 2 – 3 seconds then gently release. Now repeat on the left side for 2 – 3 seconds.
• Place your hands on your forehead. Taking care to keep the correct neck position and without dipping the head forward apply pressure with the hands and resistance with the head. Hold for 2 – 3 seconds.
For the lumbar spine we will use a physio ball / balance cushion:
• Sitting upright and balanced on the cushion or ball you will do 4 movements. Bend your spine forwards and back – imagine putting a C shape in your spine, 10 times.
• The second movement is side to side, dropping the left side of your pelvis to the chair and lifting the right side. The right shoulder will drop a little to the right hip to create the C shape. Now repeat to the other side doing 10 repetitions.
• The third movement is rotation to the left. Rotate your waist anticlockwise around in circles as if you were using a hula hoop. Do 10 repetitions.
• The forth movement is rotation to the right. Rotate your waist in a clockwise direction. Do 10 repetitions.
The balance cushion is also a great tool to use on your office chair if you sit a lot during the day. It will help activate core muscles while you work.
To view a video of Dr Susan showing you exactly how to do these, click on the following link: http://www.fourwayschiro.co.za/videos/spinal-hygiene-video-2-strengthening