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The best way to prevent injury is by having strong, flexible muscles and joints which resist strain and injury. Stretch slowly, and never do any exercise that causes pain. The exercises below can make your core trunk muscles resistant to future attacks of back and neck pain.
Lie on your back with your 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 the exercise ten times.
Lie on your back with feet together, raised up (upper left). Raise your shoulders up slightly so they are four inches off the ground (bottom left). Do not use your hands to jerk your head up. Hold for 3 seconds, then lower. Repeat 10 times.
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.
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.
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.
Start with the feet shoulder width apart. Your hands are outstretched for balance. Lower your body slowly (do not bounce up and down) until the thighs are horizontal. Hold your squat position for five seconds, then stand. Repeat ten times.
This exercise requires a great deal of balance. You may put one hand on a chair back to balance. To do this exercise, stand on your right leg. Extend your left leg out in front of you until it can almost touch the floor, 18 inches in front. Next, slowly begin to swing the left leg to the side so the leg may touch the floor, 18 inches to the side, then back behind you, then back to the starting position. You left leg will have made a large semicircle path from front to back. Repeat 10 times, then switch legs.
Hold a racquet, 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 to loosen up and reduce risk of strain.
Place a towel on the floor. Start on your right foot with your left hand on the floor, as shown in picture one. Next, jump upward from this position, across the towel landing on your left foot and right hand. Get momentum going and hop from side to side for one minute, then rest. Repeat for ten one minute intervals.
Laying supine, cross right leg over left leg. Grip left hamstring and begin to pull toward yourself while raising 90 degrees. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat with opposite leg.
NOTE: We recognize that people will diagnose and treat themselves. We have provided this medical information to make you more knowledgeable about nonsurgical aspects of care, the role of exercise in your long-term recovery, and injury prevention. In some cases exercise may be inappropriate. Remember, if you diagnose or treat yourself, you assume the responsibility for your actions. You should never do any exercise that causes increased pain. You should never do any exercise that places body weight on a weakened or injured limb or back.
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