Corrective exercises can help correct some of the effects of aging on the spine, including lower back pain and posture, according to a study led by researchers at the University of Rochester.
“These findings show the importance of correct posture for correcting the self’s spine’s localization,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Thomas J. R. Gartner, professor of physical therapy and rehabilitation medicine at the School of Medicine at the university.
“While correct posture can be achieved through many techniques, we found that the most effective method is correct spinal alignment and the correct rotation of the hips and knees.”
“This work will be valuable in helping us to understand the relationship between posture and spine health and to develop methods to correct these problems.”
Corrective exercises should be performed daily in the morning and in the afternoon to address the spine’s movement patterns, Gartman said.
Correct posture also improves balance and muscle control in a number of areas of the body.
Gartner and colleagues from the Department of Physiology, Psychology and Psychiatry, School of Education, and the Department at the Mayo Clinic, studied more than 5,000 people aged 18 to 60 with back pain from the time of birth through the age of 70.
The participants were asked to perform two self-administered tests: one to determine the amount of local-spine rotation needed to correct the curvature of the spine and another to determine if they could correct the motion by moving the spine.
In the first test, the participants rotated the spine at a rate of 1.8 degrees per minute for 15 minutes.
The second test was performed in which the participants moved the spine by rotating the hips at a speed of 10 degrees per second for 10 minutes.
Results showed that the participants who were able to correct their spine curvature by performing proper spinal alignment were significantly less likely to experience pain or have a back problem, the researchers said.
The study also showed that when the participants corrected their spine, the curvatures were corrected by rotating their hips at higher speeds than those who did not.
While there is a lot of research into how to correct spinal curvature, the results of this study provide a clear insight into how our bodies work, Gardner said.
The study’s results could be a game changer for the prevention of back pain, Gartsner said, noting that it is well established that spinal curvatures can be corrected with various exercises, including spinal flexion, hip flexion and knee flexion.
“Our work demonstrates that correcting spinal curvance can improve posture, as well as reduce back pain symptoms,” he said.
“This may be particularly important in individuals who are overweight, elderly or are not able to engage in vigorous activities.
Corrective self-balancing exercises should also be performed at least once a week, Gartenner added.