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Home Exercise Program for Low Back Pain PDF: Spinal Twist

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Home Exercise Program for Low Back Pain & Neck Pain PDF

Download our FREE “Home Exercise Program for Low Back Pain PDF Guide” to learn how to do the spinal twist before lying on our foam rollers!

This exercise enables the middle of the spinal discs to return to their fluid state. In this "gelled state", the spine can best be "molded", with the use of the neck and back shaper spinal brace supports. This allows the spinal muscles to relax and for your whole body to prepare for restful sleep

1. Sit down, then arch your lower back and raise your chin. Imagine sitting with a vertical rod positioned through the center of your head, trunk, and hips.

2. Lift your arms to shoulder level with the elbows bent out to the side.

3. Twist your spine while looking with your eyes and leading both ways with your head. Look and turn to the left and then look and turn to the right to equal one motion. Pivot around the imaginary rod, and do not lean or reach out from the center of your body while twisting.

4. Repeat the motion 25 times.


Foam Rolls While Standing

Head Posture with Foam Rolls

Once you're warmed up, try a foam roller for lower back pain. Lying on one of our foam rolls will help return your spine to its optimal condition. You should lie on the neck and back shaper spinal brace supports for no longer than 15-20 minutes right away to promote restoration and/or maintenance of spinal curvature and prepare your spine to sleep.

Both of the Neck and Back rolls come in a variety of diameters (2.75", 3.00", 3.25", 3.50", and 3.75") and densities (soft, medium, and hard).

We recommend starting with the softest density. Most people have such a major loss of spinal curve that it is best to start out using the soft foam roll. If your starting point with these exercises involves not being able to lie on the floor for more than a few minutes and/or having trouble bending your knees, that's okay. You will gradually see an improvement over time and should systematically increase the diameter and density of the roll as you optimize your spine's curvature. 

You may also use the Sizing Kit to determine your proper size. 

To do the exercise: Lie down on your back on a flat, firm surface with two spinal braces or rolls underneath your body. Make sure to completely relax your legs. Place the neck shaper brace or roll under the center of your neck. When the neck brace or roll has been properly sized, your head and shoulders will both rest on the flat surface without any gaps or unsupported areas. The correct back brace or roll placement is in the center of the low back, typically 1” above the top of the hip iliac crest bones. You may perform this exercise multiple times per day, but not for more than 15-20 minutes at a time.

We recommend that individuals with back pain, sore muscles, and/or flat backs use a soft lying surface at first.  The softer surface enables individuals with acute or chronic conditions to tolerate lying over the neck and back shaper rolls to let the muscles relax.  Some chronic and acute conditions only permit using one or the other (neck or back shaper rolls) as a starting point because the 2.75" diameter roll in the soft density may be too large for total loss of curve.  In that case, we recommend starting with a small towel, rolled as described below. Additionally, some individuals with acute and chronic conditions may need to skip the twist before lying over the rolls.  Please consult your Healthcare professional before starting this program.



Spinal Twist with Foam Rolls

Dr. Scherger called this kind of exercise "passive maintenance." It takes the pressure off the spinal discs and presents a passive way to reduce stress. Perform the above exercise and lie over the spinal braces after strenuous exercise and just prior to sleep every night to promote healthy curvature of the spine. Be sure to at least perform the exercise before going to bed.

You can also use folded towels in place of the neck and back shaper spinal brace supports. Towels can help support relaxation by reducing tension on the discs. Dr. Scherger actually started teaching the twist with towels but wanted something better since towels do not guide the vertebrae into an ideal location like the foam rolls do. We highly recommend using the foam rolls mentioned above, but towels will also work if you have no other option. 

To Prepare Towels for Use:

1. Fold regular size bath towels (approximately 24" x 45") down the middle. Use towels of different thicknesses. Figure A

2. Fold each towel into thirds with the middle of each approximately 1" in width. Figures B and C.

Use Towels for Spinal Twist

3. Roll the towels up to firmly form lumbar and cervical supports. Secure the ends of the towels with rubber bands to achieve different diameters and densities to best fit your spine. Figures D and E.

4. Place one towel under the center of the neck so that the head and shoulders are on the floor or bed. Place the other towel under the center of the lower back, approximately 1" above the top of the hips.

All our How to Guides are free and written based on Dr. John S. Scherger’s Manuals and Physics Demonstrations:

Ab Exercises for Bad Back PDF: The Correct Sit-Up
Core Stability Exercises PDF & Exercises to Avoid
How to Improve Athlete Performance PDF: Spinal Curve
Lower Back Strengthening Exercises PDF: Power Cushion or Sleeping Bag
Neck Strengthening Exercises PDF Guide: Neck Flexion

Now you can train to improve, restore, and maintain the ideal S-shape spinal posture instead of accentuating or creating the incorrect neutral spine.

Any health and wellness related content is strictly the opinion of Eileen Durfee and for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Eileen Durfee and Creatrix Solutions take no responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement, or lifestyle program.