There are two main types of curved spine: kyphosis and lordosis. From a side view, kyphosis is the excessive curvature of the thoracic spine, causing a "C" shape instead of an "S" shape of a normal spine. Lordosis is the excessive curvature of the lumbar spine, which causes the buttocks to lift and the abdominals to protrude. Both postures cause the shoulders to round forward and the chest to tighten.
Doorway Chest Stretch
In kyphosis, the muscles in the back and rear shoulders are lengthened and weak because of the excessive tightness of the muscles in the front of the body. By stretching the chest and its surrounding muscles and joints, you can decrease the amount of tension in those areas and activate your posterior muscles.
Stand between a doorway with your left leg in front of the other with both feet pointing forward. Place both arms bent 90 degrees at the elbow against the door jamb. Keep your spine tall and your shoulders down. Lean your upper body forward and bend your left knee slightly until you feel the stretch in your chest. Hold the stretch until you feel looser. Switch legs and repeat.
Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
This exercise strengthens your buttocks and stretches the connective tissues and muscles that run from the tops of your thigh to your armpit of the same side.
Kneel with your left leg forward. The foot of your kneeling leg should be in line with your knee of the same leg. Keep your hips square so that both legs are in line with the hips. Place your left hand on your left knee for balance. When you tighten your right buttock, your pelvis should tilt slightly back, reducing the extension of your lumbar spine. Raise your right arm overhead and feel a stretch from your upper thighs through your right armpit. Hold this position until you feel looser and repeat on the other side.
Standing Wall Press
This exercise helps you activate and strengthen the deep spine muscles and abdominal muscles while improving your posture. If you cannot touch your head against the wall, place a pillow or cushion behind your neck.
Stand with your back against the wall and your arms by your sides with your knuckles and fingers touching the wall. Once you are in position, push yourself into the wall like you are going to sink into it. Your head, back, buttocks and calves should also be in contact with the wall.
When are you finished, walk around the room or area for 15 to 20 seconds. Maintain the tall posture you had gained, then return to the wall and repeat the exercise three more times.
This exercise improves your spine's ability to rotate without using your hips. Lie on your back and get into a fetal position with your knees tucked at 90 degrees toward your chest, and your palms joined together as if in prayer. Your head should be off the ground.
Slowly bring your top hand over your body and reach to the opposite side of your body. Your shoulder and arm do not have to touch the ground. Rotate your head in the opposite direction while keeping both knees together. Do not let the top leg slip away from the bottom leg. Place a pillow or cushion between your legs and squeeze them together.
Hold for about two deep breaths and return to start position. Repeat the movement pattern until you feel looser. If one side feels tighter than the other, do another set on that side.
- "Pain-Free Program"; Anthony Carey; 2005
- "Low Back Disorders"; Stuart McGill; 2007