Category Archives for "strengthening core"

Sleeping Tips for Back Pain

Back pain can make it tough to sit and/or lie down for extended periods of time. Here are some tips that can help improve your sleep quality over time, while suffering with back pain.  

Stretching Before Going To Bed
Research has shown that intensive stretching or yoga and help reduce low back pain. Stretching before bed can also reduce stress and help improve sleep quality. Check out https://insyncphysio.com/health-benefits-of-yoga/ for additional benefits yoga can provide for you.  
Exercise Your Core
Getting regular physical activity can improve the quality of your sleep. Building flexibility and strength in your core muscles can reduce the chances of back strains and muscle spasms throughout the night. Check out https://insyncphysio.com/core-stability-why-does-it-matter/ to learn more about core stability and ways to improve it. 

Get A Good Pillow And Mattress
Studies show a medium-firm mattress is the most beneficial to most people. A mattress too soft can cause you to sink too deep into the mattress, thus causing joint pain. Test out different types of pillows and mattresses and find the correct one for you.  

Find The Right Sleeping Position
Try not to sleep on your stomach, as this can cause you to arch your back. For most people, the best position is to lie on your side in a fetal position. Another popular position is to lie on your back, but place a pillow under your knees to help maintain the natural curve of your spine. If you are unable to find a good sleeping position, you may want to refer to a specialist or physiotherapist for further help. 

Good Sleep Hygiene
Back pain can disrupt sleep, but many other factors can add to the poor sleep routine, such as bad habits. Try avoiding stimulants in the evening, and avoid heavy exercise right before going to bed. Take time to wind down by relaxing, taking a warm bath, or reading before going to sleep. Removing distractions such as computers and TV’s can also aid in good sleep hygiene. 

If you have any pain during exercises, or are unsure about what you are doing, please consult your local physiotherapist before continuing.

Resistance Band Exercises for the Lower Body

Resistance bands are cheap, portable, and versatile. With a simple resistance band, you can easily do a full body workout. Here are some exercises for the lower body. 

Supinated Clamshell
Loop a band around your legs just above your knees. Lie on your back with hips and knees flexed to 90 degrees. Pull the knees apart while contracting your glutes and hold the position for a few seconds. Slowly return to starting position and repeat.

Knee Raises
Loop a band between the middle of your foot, and hold the band with one foot while lifting the other. Keeping your foot flexed, raise your knee up to hip level, making sure the band is still looped across the top of the raised foot. Pause at the top, and lower your leg back down to starting position. Repeat on the other side. 

Lateral Band Walk
Place feet shoulder-width apart to create tension on the band. From a half-squat position, take small steps from side to side, while keeping the band taught. 

Glute Bridge
Tie a band around your legs right above your knees. Lie on your back with your feet on the floor, bending your knees to 90 degrees. Lift your hips until your shoulders, hips and knees align, contracting your glutes through the entire movement. Increase the difficulty of this movement by repeating the movement on one leg, while sticking the other one straight out.

If you have any pain during exercises, or are unsure about what you are doing, please consult your local physiotherapist before continuing.

Core Stability – Why does it matter?

What is the core, and why is it important?
The core is the center of our body, and its function is to stabilize the trunk while the arms and legs move. The core consists of muscles that stabilize the hips, torso, and shoulders, therefore having a strong core can help us prevent major injuries, while improving balance and stability. Building a strong core can make it easier to do most physical activities, whether it just be daily tasks or sport performance. Weak core muscles can lead to poor posture, low back pain, and muscle injuries, therefore it is crucial to build a strong core alongside your daily exercise routine. 

Benefits of core strength/stability include:

  • Injury prevention
  • Low back pain prevention
  • Improved posture
  • Balance and stability doing every day tasks such as housework
  • Improved athletic performance. 

Exercises for core stability strengthening

If you have any pain during exercises, or are unsure about what you are doing, please consult your local physiotherapist before continuing.

Healthwise Staff (2017). Fitness: Increasing Core Stability.
Retrieved from https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/health-topics/zt1226

Building a Stronger Core to Prevent Low Back Pain

Up to 80% of individuals will experience some lower back pain at least once in their lifetime. Lower back pain (LBP) results in high costs and places a burden on society. These costs include diagnostic, treatment, and indirect costs associated with work disability. A number of conditions can lead to low back pain such as infections, tumours, fractures or dislocations of the spine. However, lifting heavy loads is generally thought to be a key predictor of LBP. An important element in prevention of LBP is to correctly stabilize the trunk during lifting by pre-activating the abdominal wall muscles. By doing so, the spine will increase in stiffness to reduce the effect of undesired spinal perturbations. Exercises aimed at bracing the abdominal muscles may reduce the risk of LBP.

There are two ways of stabilizing the abdominal muscles: an abdominal hollow or abdominal brace. An abdominal hollow begins by drawing in the lower abdomen (transversus abdominus) while maintaining relaxation of the other surrounding abdominal muscles such as the obliques. At the same time, small muscles of the lower back (close to the spine) such as the multifidus are contracted while the larger back muscles are relaxed. With contraction of the lower abdomen and small back muscles, intra-abdominal pressure is increased and the fascia surrounding the spine increases in tension. Combined, these contribute to provide intersegmental stability.

An abdominal brace is performed by activating all of the abdominal and lower back muscles, rather than specific muscle recruitment. By tensing the entire trunk without drawing the muscles in or pushing them out, global activation of the ab and back muscles may provide increased stability in all directions in various movement patterns.

Both the abdominal hollow and brace can help increase the stiffness of the spine to minimize lower back pain. The use of either one will depend on the desired movement pattern and the goals of the individuals in stabilizing their core. Strengthening the core muscles is also essential in reducing the amount of loading on the lower back muscles. Watch these videos below:

Back Pain, Lower Back Treatment “Building Core Strength”:

Back, Sacro-Iliac-Joint Pain & Dysfunction: Core Stability Foam Roller:

Strengthening Hips, Pelvis and Low Back For Ultimate Frisbee: “Psoas March”:

InSync Physiotherapy is a multi-award winning health clinic helping you in Sports Injuries, Physiotherapy, Exercise Rehabilitation, Massage Therapy, Acupuncture & IMS.

5 Ways To Gently Begin Strengthening Your Core

Your core muscles help strengthen and stabilize your spine and pelvis, which is why developing a powerful core is the first step to making your whole body stronger. Start firming up your core with these gentle Pilates-based exercises, which will give you a solid foundation for all other movements. Perform 15 repetitions of each exercise, most days of the week.

Pelvic Bowl

Lie flat on back with knees bent and feet gripping floor, arms facing down at sides. Raise right hipbone as high as you can toward ceiling. Hold momentarily. Slowly shift and raise left hipbone. Gently sway from right to left, as if you have a bowl of soup between your hip bones and you’re gently rocking it without spilling. Counting right and left as 1 rep, perform 15 repetitions.

Pelvic Tilts

Lie flat on back with knees bent and feet gripping floor. Lift hips up toward ceiling in bridge position, and place thumbs on ribcage with middle fingers on hipbones. Tilt pelvis toward ground, expanding distance between fingers and thumbs. Next, tilt pelvis upward, decreasing distance between fingers and thumbs. The two movements from downward to upward should complete 1 breath cycle. Perform 15 cycles.

Spinal Impressions

Sit upright with arms out in front of shoulders, elbows slightly bent. Round back softly, and slowly roll backward, imprinting lower back (lumbar spine) then mid-back (thoracic spine), and lastly upper back (cervical spine) down into cushioned mat. Once rounded all the way down and head and neck rest on mat, grab behind hamstrings to assist yourself back to upright seated position. Perform 15 repetitions.

Modified Hundreds

Lie flat on back with arms at sides and knees bent to 90 degrees, hovering knees directly over hips and shins parallel to ground. Engage abs to lift head, neck, and shoulders off floor. Lift arms, depress shoulders away from ears, and reach fingertips away from you. Begin pulsing arms down and up. Complete 5 pulses on an inhale, then 5 pulses on an exhale. Perform 3 breath cycles like this.

Cat/Cow

Start on all fours on mat with knees hips-width apart and hands directly beneath shoulders. Exhale and round back toward ceiling like a cat, head drooping down. Pull navel in toward spine. Hold momentarily. Inhale and drop belly down toward floor, lifting head high. Allow ribcage to expand and chest to stretch. Hold. Perform 15 cycles.

InSync Physiotherapy is a multi-award winning health clinic helping you in Sports Injuries, Physiotherapy, Exercise Rehabilitation, Massage Therapy, Acupuncture & IMS.