4 Ways To Use An Exercise Ball To Combat Pain

A patient suffering from back pain may find it difficult to exercise, but a new trend for these patients is working out with an exercise ball.  What most people do not know is that exercise balls are often incorporated into physical therapy for those who suffer from back pain. They help to strengthen the core muscles around the spine and also help to improve balance. If back pain makes it difficult for you to participate in other exercise programs, these exercise ball workouts may be perfect for you.  If you have a known spinal condition, you shouldn’t begin a new exercise program without consulting a spinal specialist first. Here are 4 exercises that would be great for a beginner:

Pelvic Tilts- Pelvic tilts stretch the lumbar spine and help to strengthen the muscles in the lower back and pelvis. To begin this exercise, sit on the ball with your legs shoulder width apart and feet flat on the floor. Start with the spine in a neutral position, then contract your abdominal muscles so that the pelvis tilts forward slightly. The ball should roll slightly as you tilt your pelvis. Return back to the starting position,

Hip Circles- This exercise can help increase the range of motion in the lower back. It begins by sitting on the ball with legs shoulder width apart, placing your hands on your thighs. Sit up straight and bring your shoulder blades together and down to open up the chest. Roll your pelvis in small circles, gradually widening the circles, then switch directions.

Spinal Rotation- Sit on the exercise ball and extend your arms straight out in front of you. Move your arms and turn your head to the right, while twisting the spine in the direction of arm movement. Repeat on the opposite side, and repeat 5 times on each side.

Lumbar Extension- Position the stomach area over the exercise ball, with your legs straight and spread apart, toes flexed on the ground for stability purposes. Place your hands on the sides of the ball for balance. Slowly lift your head and chest up from the ball as much as you can comfortably, squeezing the shoulder blades as you lift up. The exercise is not effective if you use your arms to help lift up. Return to the starting position, and repeat 5 times.

Dr. Anthony Virella is a Board-Certified, Fellowship trained Neurological Spine Surgeon with advanced training in the management of complex spinal disorders. He attended medical school at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and is a graduate of the UCLA Neurosurgery Residency Program. Dr. Virella completed his complex spine in-folding resident fellowship at the world renowned Cleveland Clinic Foundation with Dr. Edward C. Benzel, M.D. Additional work included a second fellowship in Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery at the UCLA Comprehensive Spine Center. Dr. Virella is a nationally recognized specialist in the field of complex and Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery and has offices located in Westlake Village, Simi Valley, and Valencia.  Call us at 805.449.0088 to schedule an appointment in Valencia, Simi Valley or Westlake Village today.