Affecting about 10 million Americans, osteoporosis is a progressive disease that diminishes the quality of bones and joints, including ones that make up the various parts of the spine. People with this condition are more susceptible to developing small compression fractures within spinal bones. However, one study found that people who get into the habit of strengthening their back’s extensor muscles—large spine-supporting muscles that allow people to stand and lift—are less likely to be affected by osteoporosis-related fractures, which could require medical intervention such as kyphoplasty surgery. Beverly Hills patients who want to prevent these types of fractures can benefit from the following exercises.
Back Extension Exercises for Beginners
With any type of exercise, it’s best to do some quick warm-ups—such as side reaches and hip rotations—before you do the actual exercise, as this will relax your spine-supporting muscles before you stimulate them. If you’re just getting started with exercises targeting your back’s extensor muscles, start with simple beginner exercises. With this exercise, you’ll be bending your spine forward. Here’s what you’ll do:
- Rest flat on your stomach
- Place your forearms on the floor adjacent to your body, but keep them close to your sides
- Lift your chest while relaxing your lower body (hips, legs, and feet) on the floor
- Keep your elbows just under your shoulders
- Lower your body to the ground again
Goal: Hold about 5 seconds when just starting and strive for 30-second holds with each rep. Shoot for about 10 reps.
Intermediate Back Extension Exercises
Once you get comfortable with beginner-level back extension exercises, step up your exercise game a bit with intermediate-level exercises. This exercise is designed to give you a more extensive stretch. Here’s how to do it:
- Get facedown on your belly
- Rest your hands next to you so they’re in a push-up position
- Push up with your arms as if you’re getting ready to do a push-up by straightening your elbows
- Instead of doing a full push-up, lift only your upper body from the floor
- Keep your lower body against the floor as you raise your upper body
- Arch your spine while attempting to relax your lower body
Goal: Hold for a few seconds, or whatever’s comfortable for you. Try for about 10 reps.
Advanced Back Extension Exercises
When you’re ready for something even more stimulating, move up to advanced back extension exercises. Here’s an exercise that targets upper back muscles you can try:
- Rest on your stomach again, but place a pillow underneath your hips
- Move your arms back and up—and if you’re able to do so, grip your hands together for added extensor muscle stimulation
- Lift your head and chest off the floor (or exercise mat)
Goal: Hold for about 5 seconds while keeping your focus on the floor. Strive for 20-second holds. Shoot for 8-10 reps.
Modification: Follow the steps above while also lifting your legs off the floor.
You don’t need to have osteoporosis to perform these exercises. They can be done for preventative purposes and to increase the strength of the muscles that support your spine in some way. If you do have osteoporosis or existing issues with back pain, check with your doctor or Beverly Hills spine surgeon first. If you’re just getting started with exercises of this nature, also consider working with a physical therapist or trainer to make sure you get the form and technique right. A therapist or trainer can also suggest appropriate modifications.
If you have spine pain you suspect may be due to osteoporosis, call on the spinal health specialists at The Spine Institute. Our industry-leading physicians are pioneers in the use of innovative methods and cutting-edge technology to alleviate neck and back pain. To schedule a consultation, call one of our friendly representatives today at 310-828-7757.