Core Exercises for Spinal Fusion Patients

Spinal fusion is a process where vertebrae in the back are surgically brought together to relieve back pain. Post surgery rehabilitation is important to improve range of motion and to alleviate pain in the back. Improving the core strength provides stability throughout the body and can keep the back from becoming too stiff.

Pelvic Tilt

Lie on the floor with the knees bent up toward the ceiling and the hands placed behind the head. Keep the feet flat on the floor and tighten the buttocks and the abdomen. With the muscles engaged, flatten the lower back into the floor and bring the pelvis slightly toward the ceiling . Hold this position for 5 seconds, then release. Repeat this action 15 times or until the abs are fatigued. This exercise both tones and strengthens the abs and buttocks and improves core strength in the back.

Overhead Squat

Use a swill ball while performing a squat to add a slight amount of resistance to this core strengthening exercise. Stand with your legs shoulder width apart and the back straight. Hold a swill ball over the head with the arms fully extended and bend at the knees, slowly lowering yourself into a squat. Keep the back straight, abs tight and the buttocks out when performing the squat. Make sure to keep the knees from going over the toe of your shoe. Go down until the top of the thighs are parallel to floor. Return to the starting position, and repeat the squat 12 to 15 times.

Upper Body Extension

Lie on your stomach on the floor with a towel rolled up and placed under the stomach. Place the arms behind the lower back and keep the legs extended with the knees together. Slowly lift up the upper portion of your torso until it is off the floor and the back is straight. Hold this position for 5 seconds then slowly lower the chest back to the floor. Repeat this 12 times for 2 to 3 sets. This exercise will strengthen the back, abs and gluts.