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Strengthening Exercises

These instructions are only intended as a guide. It is important to keep in mind, those who self-diagnose and self-treat with home exercises do so at their own risk. Before beginning any exercises, learn how simple movements can alleviate back pain by visiting the anatomy library pages of this web site.

Here are some exercises you can do at home to help improve flexibility and help reduce the risk of back pain and injury.

Knee Twist Knee Twist  

Lie on back with knees bent. While trying to keep your lower back flat, slowly let both knees fall together toward the floor. Hold for ten seconds, then go back to start position with knees up. Repeat other side. Repeat exercise ten times.

Arm Circles Arm Circles

Start with hands straight out by sides. Slowly make circles with each outstretched arm, about one foot in diameter. Continue the circular motion of the outstretched arms for ten seconds. Repeat exercise ten times.

Side Bend Side Bend

Stand straight up with hands above head. Slowly reach your hands to the right and hold for ten seconds, then straight up and pause, then go to the left and hold for ten seconds, then straight up again and pause. Repeat the stretch ten times.

Hamstring Stretch Hamstring Stretch

Place a belt or rope around the arch of your foot. Straighten your leg. Slowly begin to pull your leg to a straight up position. Depending upon your flexibility, having your leg point straight up may be a realistic goal. For those who have good flexibility, you may be able to go past vertical during your stretch.

Standing Rotation Standing Rotation

If you play rotational sports like tennis and golf, it's a good idea to include rotational stretches like the one shown. Hold a raquet, golf club or broom across your shoulders as shown. Without moving your feet, slowly rotate your shoulders to the left, then back to the right. Do this stretching exercise for five minutes before playing.

Correct Lifting Technique Correct Lifting Technique

Start with one knee on the ground. Maneuver the object as close to you as possible. Raise the object with your ARMS up to mid thigh, then stand up while keeping your back straight. Remember: Don't bend at the waist. Use the power of your legs to lift.

Abdominal Double Knee Up Abdominal Double Knee Up

Starting position: Lay on your back with knees bent and hands behind your head. Raise both knees upward as far as you can, using the strength of your stomach muscles. Hold for five seconds. Go back to starting position. Repeat exercise ten times. DO NOT JERK YOUR HEAD OR NECK FORWARD.

Abdominal Crunch Abdominal Crunch

Lie on your back. Try to keep your low back in contact with the ground. Slowly lift your right shoulder up six inches off the ground. Merely raise your shoulders up six inches, hold for one second and lie down. Repeat for ten sit ups, alternating left shoulder and right shoulder. DO NOT do a full sit up. DO NOT put your hands behind your neck to jerk yourself upward.

Book Resources




Exercise Library neurosurgery and spine center in north dakota, wyoming and nebraska

These stretches and exercises can relieve pain symptoms, strengthen the back and neck, and increase flexibility and resistence to future strain. Learn more.

anatomy library  neurosurgery and spine center in north dakota, wyoming and nebraska

Learn what causes your back or neck pain with medical illustrations and narrated animations. Click here.


Numerous patients have shared their life-changing experiences with the physicians at Black Hills Neurosurgery & Spine. Read more.

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