PTD0916_ LeadWhen backing up your car, do you find it difficult to turn around to see what’s behind? Loss of rotational ability in the back is one of the problems we develop as we age. The good news is that exercises to increase range of motion and strength can go a long way to restoring some of that rotational range. Not only that, but being more flexible and strong can help prevent future injuries—a huge bonus.

Here are some of the exercises we might prescribe to help you improve your back’s rotation. These exercises should not cause or increase pain. If you experience any pain, decrease the amount of stretch you are applying to the muscle. Should the exercise still cause pain, discontinue the exercise and call us.

The sternocleidomastoid stretch is a simple stretch that involves turning your head over your shoulder and slowly tilting your head up toward the ceiling.

Shoulder shrugs involve standing in front of a mirror, lifting your shoulders slowly toward your ears and then lowering them.

The anterior deltoid stretch is also performed in front of a mirror with a broomstick held behind you in your hands. Keeping your elbows straight, lift the broomstick as high as you can while maintaining an upright position.

Back flexion involves lying on a floor mat or on the bed, pulling your knees into your chest and then lifting your head toward your knees, as though you are trying to curl up into a ball. Hold this stretch for as long as comfortable, and then release and repeat.

In addition to these stretches, we’ll also recommend some form of regular low-impact cardiovascular exercise (such as walking or stationary biking) to build your endurance. Stretching is best after you have warmed up for your cardiovascular exercise or after you’ve completed it. If your time isn’t limited, you can even stretch gently before your warm-up, as well as before and after your cardiovascular exercise. If even light stretching causes pain, call us or your physician.

After performing such exercises even for a short time, you should notice a significant difference in how easily and far you can turn around while backing up your car. If you suffer from limited range of motion in your back, call us today for an appointment. We will design an individualized exercise program that will make driving more comfortable—and safer—for you.


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