BASIC EXERCISES TO TREAT BACK PAIN
BACKRACK – HOW DO I USE IT?
Before engaging in any exercises using the Backrack™, it is important to acknowledge why these exercises in particular are beneficial when it comes to treating back pain. The basic principle behind the device is that through the exercises that you have been recommended, your spine will be decompressed through low-moderate pressure that is applied through the wooden nodules on each row of the rack.
These exercises are suitable for everyone, barring a few exceptions. There are some contraindications to using the Backrack™. To be more precise, the Backrack™ should not be used if you have one of the following conditions:
- A vertebral fracture (that is not healed).
- Severe scoliosis (Cobb angle > 45°).
- A malignant, spinal tumour.
- A spinal infection (e.g. meningitis).
If you are in any doubt as to whether the Backrack™ is appropriate for you, please consult your doctor.
However, if you are fit to use the Backrack™, then it is good to note that the exercises appear in order of ascending difficulty (and/or pressure). We therefore recommend that you are comfortable with each manoeuvre, before trying the next one.
Important: Before starting in the neutral position, make sure that the rack is placed on a sturdy surface (such as the floor) and it does not shake. The neutral, or starting, position is suitable for people with moderate-severe back pain. Achieving this position is actually very easy. For a more detailed explanation on how to get in the starting position on the rack, please visit our Getting On section.
When you place yourself in the starting position, a small amount of pressure is applied to the spine, and you are not required to move (the spine rests in a neutral position). However, it might take you a few turns to get into a comfortable position where your spine is neutral.
If you have a bad neck, you can rotate your head to one side. This will shift the weight of your head over to the corresponding side of your neck, increasing the amount of pressure in this region. If you need to reduce the amount of pressure, place a folded towel behind your neck.
SINGLE LEG RAISE
From the neutral position, perform a single leg raise while your back is still laid on the rack. After holding this position for a short period of time (perhaps 30 seconds), return your leg to the floor and raise the other leg. Repeat a few times.
Please make sure that you grasp your leg behind the knee (as shown). This will prevent the knee from being squashed. You can alter the exact point of pressure by varying the angle of your leg, bringing it closer to your chest, as and when you feel comfortable. If you have had a bad (lower) back for a long period of time, your hamstring muscles will be tight. You should therefore approach this exercise carefully and take things slowly. Bring your leg towards your chest in small increments.
DOUBLE LEG RAISE
Use the neutral position as a starting point for this exercise. Instead of just one leg, lift both legs at the same time. After holding this position for a short period of time (perhaps 30 seconds), bring your legs further towards your chest (as shown), and please make sure that you grasp each leg behind the knee.
Again, hold for 30 seconds, and repeat until your legs are as high as possible. There is no need to put your legs down after each lift. Rather, you can lower them until they reach a 90-degree angle.
Also please note that the double leg raise will increase the pressure on your lower spine, as it shifts the weight of both legs over to your lower back.
If you have had a bad (lower) back for a long period of time, your hamstring muscles will be tight. You should therefore approach this exercise carefully and take things slowly. Bring your leg towards your chest in small increments.
Please note that this exercise will increase the pressure on your neck. If you have had a bad (lower) back for a long period of time, you may find that you have weak knees. You should therefore approach this exercise carefully and take things slowly.
Starting from a neutral position lying on the rack, lift your hips so as to allow your weight to be supported by your upper back and neck (as shown in the picture). You can alter the exact point of pressure by varying the angle of your legs.
Hold this tilted position for a few seconds then return to the neutral starting position. Repeat a few times.
It is better to hold the position for a short period of time, and to do a larger number of reps (or repetitions) instead of holding it for a longer period and doing a small number of reps.
Finally, remember to keep breathing throughout the exercise.