Spinal decompression exercises are the mainstay of the Sarah Key Method lower back at home workout. And don’t be confused here: it doesn’t matter what the diagnosis – all spinal conditions benefit from a gentle daily spinal decompression regime in order to turn the tables on a back’s steady decline.
If I explain first why our backs get so painful you will understand why these exercises are so essential.
Our discs contain fluid - and when we sit or stand for lengthy periods during the day it gets squeezed out. That, in a nutshell, is what causes lower discs to start degenerating - and in some instances becoming painful. Indolent lifestyles and sedentary occupations usually mean that fluid expressed from our discs by day is not getting back easily enough by night. In other words, the fluid content of our discs goes into incremental steady decline.
The back problems intensify as the sustained compression of our discs (as we sit slumped at our computers or carrying out other sedentary, minimal movement tasks) gradually smothers their metabolic life. The lumbar discs in particular, gradually become too sleepy to carry out normal maintenance and repairs, with the result that they – sooner than any other structure in our body – are the first to start breaking down. Our muscles stiffen up too, as they try to protect the sore bits, and this too can be a source of back pain.
You will see in the comprehensive section on the BackBlock and also on the section on Traction that the Sarah Key spinal decompression exercises are better described as ‘pressure change therapy’ (PCT) because that is exactly what they are. This spinal decompression routine is not just about pulling the spine apart, effective as this is to a limited degree.
The PCT model also involves loading the lumbar spinal segments in a controlled way (by the knees rocking and reverse curl ups see also ‘The best Abs Exercises’) and alternating this with passive hyperextension over the BackBlock to create distraction.
The variation in pressures stimulates the discs internally which is critical for geeing up their metabolic rate and the repair processes. The alternating pressures also help move fluid around inside the discs. Most importantly of all, they help squidge stale fluids out and suck fresh ones in to the lumbar discs. And this is vital for boosting their nutrition and day-to-day maintenance.
Learn more about spinal decompression exercises in my video here.
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