Posted by: Integra Massage | May 29, 2011

Instant Relief From Back Pain

The Seated Spinal Decompression Exercise

This is an effective but very safe spine stretch that will ease out tight back muscles, decompress the vertebrae and discs and take pressure off trapped nerves. It uses the weight of the upper body controlled by the arms the gently elongate the spine. The exercise can be done by almost anyone even if you have acute back pain.  In fact for many people with acute back pain it is one of very few comfortable resting positions. Do not attempt this exercise if you have a suspected fractured vertebra or spinal chord injury.  You should wait after back surgery until the the surgical scar has healed (usually 4-6 weeks) before using this exercise.

The exercise has some of the same benefits as an inversion table, or inverted postures in yoga.  Contrary to the widespread view, inverted postures will not increase risks from stroke or high blood pressure.

Remember the three golden rules of therapeutic exercise:

1. Follow the instructions for the exercise carefully before you do the exercise.  Watch the video a few times as well.
2. move slowly and smoothly
3. pay attention to how your body feels and stay with your comfort zone. dapt the exercise to your limitations.


Starting position

Sit with your back straight.  Feel as if your spine is being gently lengthened by drawing your head up.  Be careful not to tilt your head and neck back.  Shoulders are relaxed. Hands rest on the knees. Feet are flat on the floor, lower legs vertical and knees shoulder width apart.  Relax and remember to breath.

Going down

1. Begin to slowly hinge forward from your hip joint supporting yourself with your forearms on your thighs.  As you do this try to keep your you back straight with the feeling of your spine lengthening all the time.  If it is comfortable for you continue going down until your chest is resting on your thighs.  Try to keep your back straight and do not drop your head down. Rest for a moment in this position.

(If it is uncomfortable for you to go down to the point where your chest in resting on your thighs. Stop at the limit of your comfort zone supporting yourself on your arms and rest for as long as you like in that position. Then go to the return movement, missing out part 2).

2. To deepen the stretch if this is comfortable for you, lower one arm so it is hanging down with the hand resting on the floor.  Then  lower the other arm.  The arms can continue to help to support your back if necessary. If it is comfortable for you, you can slowly drop your head as well.  Rest in this position as long as you like.

Going up

3.  Lift one arm and put it back on your thigh.  Then lift the other arm.  Your upper body is now resting on your arms.

4. Use your arms to slowly raise your upper body back to the starting position.  Push yourself up with your arms.  Do not pull yourself up with your back muscles.

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