4 Ways to Strengthen Your Spinal Muscles

Ways to Strengthen Your Back Muscles in Los Angeles, CA

The muscle groups around the spine provide the bulk of the direct and indirect support that minimizes stress on the vertebrae and its adjacent discs and joints. Back and abdominal muscles can weaken with age or prolonged periods of inactivity, so it’s important to take steps to keep these muscles strong to reduce the risk of back pain and nerve-related irritation. Otherwise you may be at higher risk of spinal injuries that could result in the need for spinal fusion or one of the many alternatives to spinal fusion surgery. Here are four ways you can keep your spinal muscles strong.

1. Adopt a Targeted Workout Routine

Exercises like toe touches, leg lifts, and sit-ups have the potential to do more harm than good, especially if you have a history of back pain. Instead, adopt a targeted workout routine that works the same muscle groups in a way that’s less stressful on your spine. Exercises that safely build core muscle strength include:

  • Wall sits (for quadriceps muscles) with your back against the wall and feet shoulder-width apart
  • Seated rows to strengthen muscles that help with extension (latissimus dorsi, or “lats”)
  • Overhead cleans or squats to increase torso mobility
  • Hamstring stretches

Pay attention to proper form when doing any workout routine and stop if you experience sudden discomfort. Get approval from your doctor first if you have an existing spine condition or chronic back pain.

2. Explore Gentler Forms of Exercise

If a regular workout routine isn’t an option because of back issues, consider “non-exercise” forms of exercise with similar benefits. For instance, water aerobics targets key muscle groups without much stress due to the buoyancy of water. Even activities like going for a daily walk can strengthen spine-supporting muscles and increase your flexibility and mobility. You may also find yourself more motivated to stay active if you focus more on activities you enjoy. Other forms of exercise that may be beneficial yet gentle on your spine include:

  • Classic yoga poses to target large muscles around the spine and hamstrings
  • Cycling on flat, even surfaces
  • Pilates
  • Swimming (with side or back strokes instead of front strokes)

3. Make Healthy Dietary Choices

The foods you eat on a daily basis also help determine the strength of your spine muscles because of the way certain nutrients affect things like tissue healing, muscle development, and bone strength. All B vitamins, vitamins C, D, and K, and copper, magnesium, calcium, and zinc are among the vitamins and minerals your spine and its supporting muscles need most. A healthy diet that’s good for your spine includes:

  • Lean proteins (meat, fish, nuts, beans, and soy foods)
  • Green, leafy veggies (spinach, kale, and broccoli)
  • Low-fat or nonfat dairy products
  • Plenty of water

4. Watch Your Posture

The way you sit, stand, twist, and bend throughout your day determines how much stress is placed on your spine muscles and for how long. Placing too much stress on any muscles for a long period can lead to stiffness and discomfort and trigger muscle spasms. Be mindful of your posture by:

  • Avoiding sitting in the same position for too long
  • Minimizing “tech neck” when you use your smartphone or iPad
  • Wearing comfortable, supportive shoes and watching heel height
  • Paying attention to your position while watching TV or relaxing
  • Sleeping in positions that retain your spine’s natural alignment

If you are experiencing severe chronic pain in your back or neck, there are several solutions to consider. At The Spine Institute Center, we specialize in a wide array of fusion and non-fusion procedures, from spinal decompression to extreme lateral interbody fusion. Trust in Dr. Hyun Bae and his team of expert surgeons to determine the best plan of action for alleviating your pain. Call 310-828-7757 today to schedule an in-person evaluation.