This week we’re focusing on back strengthening exercises that offer some relief and rehabilitation benefits to people with kyphosis, commonly known as hunchback posture. These exercises are useful for people who need to strengthen their back muscles due to an existing physical condition or due to their sedentary lifestyle that has brought them to this point. I have experienced firsthand the value of using exercise to relieve pain and to restore a better range of motion and strength in the areas concerned – There is no denying exercise is good for you!
Minor back problems occurring from hunching may only require stretches and regular exercise to offer some relief. Extended activity sitting at a desk or doing some other activity where you sit or stand in one place for a long time are often cited as the cause of this type of negative posture.
Back strengthening exercises for more serious conditions such as degenerative disease or trauma to the back require more care and specially designed moves than those mentioned above for every day back stress. They may also require the use of a back posture corrective brace. Before starting any kind of exercise regimen for these kinds of conditions consult your doctor or a licensed exercise physiologist.
Exercises To Correct Hunchback Posture (Kyphosis)
Useful Back Stretches
Below is a selection of some back stretches that may help with pain caused from being seated for long periods, most of these can be done at work! See our lower back pain exercises post for some step by step instructions.
Seated Lower Back Stretch
A seated lower back stretch is performed by sitting upright in a stable chair with arms hanging down to the side. The movement is performed by simply bending forward and touching your hands to the floor (or taking them to the lowest level possible), holding the movement for a few seconds, then returning to an upright position. This can easily be done during your workday if you sit long hours.
Seated Spinal Twist
The seated spinal twist is performed again, from a seated position in a stable chair with firm seat. With arms crossed in front of the body, keeping the legs and hips still, turn the upper body slowly as far as you can to one side and hold the movement for 5 seconds. Return
slowly to the front and repeat to the other side.
Stretch & Reach
The stretch and reach is done from a standing position with arms extended downward and palms pressed together in front of the body. Perform the movement by pulling your straight arms, palms still together up and over your head while bending slightly backwards at the waist. At this point, the hands and arms should be outstretched above and slightly behind your head. Hold the movement for 5 seconds then slowly return to the starting position.
These are all movements designed primarily to keep the back flexible and in a condition of full mobility.
Another stretch that can offer some relief for lower back pain is the hip flexor stretch, check out our guide on how to stretch your hip flexors for more information.
Back Strengthening Exercises
Some of the back strengthening exercises that may be used for rehabilitating a degenerative or injured back are as follows:
Stiff Legged Deadlifts
Stiff legged deadlifts are performed by standing straight up arms down to the side. Bend forward at the waist until the upper body is parallel to the floor.
Hold the movement for a few seconds and return to the upright beginning position. Dumbbells in each hand or a barbell may be added for extra weight to increase resistance.
Standard squats work the lower back as well as the supporting abdominal and upper leg (core) muscles. Supporting movements are often very important in the recovery of a back injury. Squats without weights should be performed by standing straight up arms crossed in front of the chest. With back straight, and head up, bend at the knees until the thighs are parallel to the floor. Hold the position for a couple of seconds and slowly return to the standing position.
With arms down at the sides, dumbbells may be added for increased resistance.
Finally performing the seated low back stretch mentioned above with dumbbells added for resistance makes a great and safe strengthening exercise for back recovery.
These exercises can be done by anyone, anywhere with minimal equipment as rehab exercises for back pain. Whatever your situation, always consult your exercise physiologist before undertaking any kind of exercise. Not doing so may compound your problem and result in further serious injury. If you’re in doubt, give us a call to schedule an appointment today!