We realize that it’s difficult to remember the many therapeutic exercises needed to continue your path to good health. If you are one of our many patients that need to extend their rehabilitation outside of our office, this page is dedicated to you.
We’ve included core strengthening exercises such as the Plank and Superman, as well as general rehabilitation techniques such as Touchdown Squats and the McKenzie posture.
This posture is a type of “End Range Loading” in which the disc is rehabilitated. If the disc is considered to be a “Jelly Donut”, a disc herniation would be as if the jelly were pushing out of the donut. The objective of McKenzie’s postures is to encourage the jelly to move back to the center of the donut by pinching the disc in the back, encouraging the jelly to move toward the belly button.
1) Breathe deeply while holding the posture
2) Sag the belly down allowing the back muscles to relax
3) Ice 20 minutes after performing due to the possibility of low back tenderness
4) Perform 5 times, holding for two long breaths each
The supraspinatus muscle is responsible for the first 15 degrees of abduction—the action of bringing the arm away from the body. When performing, keep the elbow and wrist in a locked position. There is no need to bring the arm all the way out—after the first 15 degrees the deltoid muscle takes over and there is no rotator cuff involved. Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions each and repeat 4-7 days per week for 4-6 months.
Infraspinatus and Teres Minor
These two lower rotator cuff muscles are responsible for external rotation—bringing the hand away from the belly. When performing, remember this key point: The upper arm and elbow should remain “glued” to the rib cage the entire time. Start with the hand on the belly and push away from the belly. Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions each and repeat 4-7 days per week for 4-6 months.
This difficult rotator cuff muscle is located on the underside of the shoulder blade. It is responsible for internal rotation of the arm—bringing the hand into the belly. When performing, remember this key point: The upper arm and elbow should remain “glued” to the rib cage the entire time. Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions each and repeat 4-7 days per week for 4-6 months.
Dr. Hennings didn’t invent the exercise, but he did invent the name! This core exercise focuses on the erector spinae muscle group—the long column-like muscles that run parallel to the spine. Start flat on the belly, and then elevate the chest and knees so that the belly button is the only thing on the ground. Keep breathing the entire time, and hold for about 15 seconds. Repeat 5-8 times.
Another clever name coined by Dr. Hennings, this core exercise focuses on the trapezius and erector spinae muscle groups. Hold both arms straight over head like a referee signaling for a touchdown in football (hold an exercise ball for added difficulty). Squat down to 90 degrees, making sure to keep all weight on the heels (picture sitting in an imaginary chair). Here is the key to the exercise: Naturally, you’ll want to lean forward at the waist (that is, you’ll want to flex forward at the waist)…the key is to resist this flexion and keep your torso as erect as possible (HINT: it’s harder than it looks!).
The perfect exercises to start with for core strength, this exercise is a great all-around way to support the low back. Maintain this posture for 30 seconds without allowing the butt to sag down or stick up in the air (that is, you should be straight as a wooden plank). Work up to 60 seconds when you feel stronger. Feel like a pro? Try elevating one foot about an inch off the ground and then repeat on the other side.