Physical Exercises:
Group One

Physical Exercises:
Group One

Richard A. Feely, D.O.

Cat Stretch

Purpose: This exercise is designed to relax your lower back muscles and to relieve the spasm (cramp) which causes pain in the lower lumbar region. You will find that this exercise alone will ease tired backs and minor aches and pains caused by bad posture. It will help you to stand erect without pain even after a tough day.


  1. Get on all fours on the floor.
  2. Keep knees and hands apart.
  3. Arch your back and life up your chin as in Position A.
  4. Arch as much as you can. Lift your chin as high as you can.
  5. Now raise your back and tuck in you chin as in Position B. Raise your back as high as you can. Tuck in your chin as close as you can.
  6. Now combine A and B into one smooth exercise. Do not pause.
  7. Remember to do both parts of this exercise smoothly.

Hip Watching

Purpose: This exercise is designed to increase the flexibility of your low back. If you can’t see around your upper arm at first, worry not. As in all Group I exercises, this decreases tension as well as increases flexibility.


  1. Get on all fours on the floor.
  2. Keep knees and hands apart.
  3.  Move your left hip to the left as far as possible.
  4. Turn your head to the left and look around your arm to see that your hip is in Position A.
  5. Now repeat number 3 and 4 but to the right as in Position B.
  6. Now combine A and B into one smooth exercise and do not pause.

Hand Watching

Purpose: This exercise is designed to stretch the muscles in the middle and lower back. It also, as you will notice, involves the shoulders. This exercise begins to get into strenghtening the support muscles of the lower back. But this is still (as all Group I) mainly a stretching ans spasm relieving exercise.


  1. Get on all fours on the floor.
  2. Keep knees and hands apart.
  3. Raise your right hand and reach straight up as in Position A. Stretch as far as you can and look at your hand. (Looking is important because it guarantees using the correct muscles.)
  4. Lower your right arm and repeat Number 3 with the left hand. Do not pause.
  5. Do slowly and smoothly combining Positions A and B together.

Cranial Release

PRECAUTION: Do not perform if acute back pain that worsens laying on the back with knees up.

Perform on carpeted floor or padded table. Place a stack of paperback books approximately 5 inches in height behind you. Sit on the floor with knees bent and your weight on your sitting bones (rather than on the back of your buttocks). Place your hands behind you, and square yourself by rocking side to side.

Slowly line yourself straight on the floor. You may need to adjust the location of the books so they rest only on the back of your skull, not your neck. The neck should be gently strecthed, but chin not pushed down on the throat, nor should the neck by overly arched.

Hands rest on abdomen. Feet are place just to the sides of your hips so that the knees can be easily bent inwards or outwards. Rest preferably with eyes open, not watching TV, 5 -15 minutes as tolerated.


Torso Curl

  1. Lay on your back on the floor. Knees bent with legs turned out and soles of feet touching each other.
  2. Slowly count to five (5) lifting your legs toward your nose and entire lumbar spine is off the floor. Hold for a count of five (5). Lower slowly for a count of five (5). DO NOT DROP your buttock quickly.

Back Flexibility

1. Pelvic Tilt

Flatten back toward the floor as you tighten your stomach muscles and breathe out 5 seconds. Breathe in and relax. Avoid tightening your neck and shoulders.

2. Chest Stretch

Hands are behind the knee. Draw the knee toward the chest until a comfortable stretch is felt in the lower back. Hold. Release the pressure and breathe out. Repeat.

3. Spine Stretch

From the hands and knees position, fold yourself so that forehead and elbows rest on the floor comfortably. Your buttocks can be as close to your heels as comfortable. Hold position and breathe gently in and out 10 – 60 seconds.

4. Upper Back Extension

Lay on the floor with a small pillow under your waist. Your forehead rests on the floor with elbows bent on either side of your head. Slowly raise your head and shoulders away from the floor, then look up. Come up only as far as your arms comfortably go without bringing your elbows in and under. Hold. Repeat.

5. Prone On Elbows

Begin in upper extension but bring elbows beneath you coming up as high as comfortable. Hold. Lower and breathe. Repeat.

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