Reno Pain

Physical Therapy on the Go: Exercises You Can Do Anywhere By Jamie Pribyl

Written by Jamie Pribyl PT, DPT, MTC

woman stretching

Summer is officially here, and with it comes vacations and inconsistent scheduling, which may make it difficult to make it to your physical therapy appointments or keep up with regular activity.

A strong core is essential to avoiding back injuries, and subsequently pain. Often times, back pain is due somewhat in part to having weak abdominal muscles and improper spinal alignment. By increasing your core strength with these on-the-go exercises, you’ll be less likely to rely on other treatments for pain, such as medication.

The Four Major Abdominal Groups

• Transversus abdominis: the deepest muscle layer. This stabilizes the trunk, spine, and maintains internal abdominal pressure. This muscle is very important for a strong base and core. It is important for patients to keep this muscle strong throughout life. It has been nicknamed the “corset muscle.”

• Rectus abdominis: this is between the ribs and pubic bone at the front of the pelvis. This muscle, with the transverse abdominis, is activated while doing crunches. When this muscle is exposed it creates the look of a “six pack.” It is a superficial muscle that helps you look good; however it is not the most important core muscle.

• External oblique muscles: these are on each side of the rectus abdominis. They extend from the lower half of the ribs around and down to the pelvis. They allow the trunk to rotate as well as help pull the chest downwards, compressing the abdominal cavity.

• Internal oblique muscles: these are located just inside the hip bones. These muscles support the abdominal wall, assist in raising pressure in the abdominal area and rotate the trunk with help from other muscles.

• Multifidus: this is another muscle that is involved in trunk stability. This is a back muscle that runs along the spine. It works with the transversus abdominis to increase spine stability as well as prevent injury during rotational movement.

Five Basic Core Stability Exercises to Help Improve Core and Spinal Stabilization Musculature

1. Traverse Abdominis Static Contraction
Lying on your back with knees bent. Place finger tips inside your pelvic bones as shown. Tighten your stomach as if you were sucking your stomach to your spine to fit on a tighter pair of pants. You should feel a thin muscle jump into your hands. • Hold the contraction 15-60 seconds.
• Repeat the exercise 5 times.
• Do exercise once daily.

2. Marches/ Reverse Marches with Traverse Abdominis Contractions
Lying on your back with knees bent and feet on the floor, tighten your traverse abdominis. Then lift your legs to 90 degrees at the hip and knees. Return right leg to starting position and repeat with left leg.
• Perform 10-15 repetitions.
• Repeat exercise 3 times.
• Do this exercise once daily.

3. Bridges with Traverse Abdominis Contraction
Lying on your back with knees bent and feet on the floor, tighten your traverse abdominis. Then place feet and knees in line, shoulder width apart. Lift hips off the floor, keeping your knees in line with your feet while you lift. Then slowly lower your hips.
• Perform 10-15 repetitions.
• Repeat the exercise 3 times.
• Do exercise once daily.

4. Basic Crunches with Traverse Abdominis Contraction
Lying on your back with knees bent and feet on the floor, shoulder width apart, place hands behind head keeping elbows wide or straight at sides. Tighten your traverse abdominis. Lift your head and chest off the floor, leading with your chest. Make sure to keep space between your chin and chest and do not pull with your arms.
• Perform 10 repetitions.
• Repeat exercise 3 times.
• Do exercise once daily.

5. Swimmers with Traverse Abdominal Contraction
Lying on your stomach, tighten your traverse abdominis. Keeping your hips flat on the floor, lift your right arm and left leg simultaneously then relax back to the starting position. Repeat with the left arm and right leg.
• Perform 10-15 repetitions.
• Repeat exercise 3 times.
• Do exercise once daily.

About Jamie Pribyl PT, DPT, MTC: Jamie attended the University of Nevada, Reno for undergraduate where she received her Bachelor’s of Science in Health Ecology in 2007. She then attended the University of St. Augustine in San Marcos, CA where she received her Doctorate of Physical Therapy in 2010. She moved back home to Reno and has been practicing in outpatient orthopedics ever since.
She has a strong manual therapy background. She received her Manual Therapy Certification in 2012 from University of St. Augustine, and has been furthering her education in different manual therapy techniques ever since. Jamie believes that manual therapy is a must in physical therapy. People that live in chronic pain are fearful to do exercises because they are afraid they will hurt more. She believes in using gentle manual therapy techniques to improve the patient’s mobility and to decrease their pain, therefore giving them the ability to do exercises without pain. To schedule an appointment with Jamie, call (775) 284-8650