The spine is the backbone of the body. Stretching down from the base of the skull to the coccyx (tailbone), it is one of the most important structures in the body as it houses the spinal cord which is responsible for you body’s ability to move, feel, and function. The spine is also responsible for your ability to stand upright, bend, twist, and supports your body in all facets of movement.
The spine is constructed out of 33 bones with only the top 24 having the ability to move. These 24 are segregated into 3 regions: 7 cervical, 12 thoracic, and 5 lumbar (Fig. 1). These regions form what is commonly known as the trunk of your body.
Figure 1: Spine regions and overall structure
EXERCISE: SEATED/TRUNK ROTATION
Our exercise this month is called a seated/trunk rotation. The exercise gently stretches the muscles surrounding the spine, moving it in a rotational manner. This is to stimulate an increase in trunk flexibility and mobility, exercising the entire spinal column particularly the lower/lumbar region.
Please note: If this exercises causes excessive pain or discomfort, cease exercise and seek consultation with your health professional.
How does this exercise relate to Arthritis?
Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) is a condition which causes inflammation and pain in the spine. It affects about 1-2% of Australians and is three times more common in men. As we know, exercise is important to reduce incidence of pain, increase muscular and joint strength, and joint flexibility. This exercise directly caters to those living with AS, moving their affected arthritic sites to stimulate those positive benefits of exercise.
Although the following exercise caters well to this arthritic condition, it is also quite a useful exercise for any individual suffering from back pain, particularly in the lower back. You can perform this exercise standing or in the comfort of any sturdy chair.
If you are unable to follow the full range of motion shown in the exercises that is okay. Only work within your physical capabilities.
For video instructions on the correct way to perform the Back Rotation exercise, click on the image below.