The first Swiss ball exercise is really just showing the proper body mechanics for the ball. You want the ball to be the right height for best results.
The next ones are hip circles, pelvic tilts, and lateral tilts. These are a great way to loosen up the low back and pelvis, and get use to sitting on the ball.
Then getting a little harder there’s hip flexion, knee extension, and arm lifts. Once you start getting movement of your arms and legs, it makes it harder to balance.
The last ones are hip flexion with opposite arm lifts, hip flexion with same side arm lifts, and crunches. Make sure you can do the other ones before trying these since they are harder to do balancing on the ball.
The first exercises for back pain are pelvic tilts and bridges. These are my favorite exercises not only for the back, but also for the hips and knees.
Next are some back stretches. The piriformis figure 4 stretch, child’s pose (prayer stretch), and cat/dog (cat/cow) are great for helping your back, hips, and core.
Then there is the single knee to chest, double knee to chest, and supine trunk rotation. These are great for helping to relax the back even before you get out of bed in the mornings.
The last basic moves to help with back pain are supine hamstring stretch with a strap and supine IT band stretch with a strap. Lying down and using a strap helps you relax your back to get the best stretch.
10 Best Balance Exercises (Basic) - Ask Doctor Jo - YouTube
These basic balance exercises can help improve your balance and can also strengthen your hips, knees & ankles. This series is a good place to start for improving your balance.
The Romberg series starts out on the easier side, but can get harder. When you place your feet together, it makes your base of support smaller, and this makes your muscles work harder. You can do Romberg with your eyes open, eyes closed, head turns side to side, head movements up and down, and on an uneven surface.
You can also do all of these with a tandem stance. Tandem is when one foot is directly in front of the other. You can modify this by just placing one slightly ahead of the other.
TENS units come in a variety of sizes and configurations, but they all do basically the same thing.
What is a TENS Unit?
TENS stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. TENS units use electrical currents that follow nerve pathways to help decrease pain. Even though this treatment has become popular over the last few decades, electrical stimulation as a way to decrease pain has been around for centuries. Historically, medical practitioners used electrical fish and even static electricity to help decrease pain in their patients.
Which TENS Unit is Best?
There are many different types of TENS units available on the market today. You can get a standard unit that just has TENS functionality, or you can even get units with a TENS/EMS combination. TENS units' prices range form very inexpensive at about $30 to over $1,000. But surprisingly, most of units do about the same thing. As long as you are purchasing your TENS unit from a reputable company, you should get a unit that does what it’s suppose to do (so make sure you check those reviews!).
If They All Do the Same Thing, Why Are Prices All Over the Board?
The price differences basically boil down to the “bells and whistles” each unit has. Think of TENS units like cell phones. All cell phones make phone calls, but the more you pay for the phone, usually the more and/or better features it will have. You may pay more for things like a better camera, a faster processor, more storage space, a bigger screen, a smaller phone, etc.
That's pretty much how TENS units work. You pay more for additional features. These features can do things like help make the unit easier to use or make it easier to carry around with you.
Make sure you pick the features you think you will benefit from the most. You want the unit’s features to match your lifestyle. If you don’t like fancy things, go simple. But on the other hand, if you love technology and end up getting a basic unit to save a few bucks, you may wish you had more advanced features in the long run.
TENS unit features are seemingly endless. And manufacturers are coming up with new and exciting features all the time. From wired to wireless, touch screen to rotary screen, big to small, rechargeable to traditional batteries, and the list goes on. They even have TENS units that can be controlled with your phone, or that deliver the electric current to the beat of your favorite music!
There are so many options to choose from, so make sure your unit has all the features you want, but also make sure you aren’t paying for features you will never use.
I Like These TENS Units
With that said, since there are so many brands/units out there, it can be really tough to decide which one is right for you.
If you are looking for a TENS unit with some more bells and whistles, HealthmateForever has many higher end choices including wireless units for extra portability and convenience. They also have some lower budgets units, too, so make sure to check them all out. I have several videos featuring HealthmateForever units. Here's a link to them on YouTube.
NOTE: The product links above are affiliate links. If you purchase a product using those links, Doctor Jo will receive a commission.
The Best TENS Unit is the One You Will Actually Use!
It doesn't really matter which TENS unit you pick, as long as it's from a reputable brand, has good reviews, and you actually use it! After all, it won't do any good at relieving pain if it's always sitting on your counter.
10 Best Cervical Herniated Disc Exercises & Stretches - Ask Doctor Jo - YouTube
A cervical herniated disc is when you have a disc herniation in your cervical spine (or your neck). It can cause pain in your neck, shoulders, arms, and even your hands. These neck stretches & exercises should help.
Chin tucks and isometric exercises like cervical rotation and cervical side bend can help activate the muscles in the neck with little to no movement, and help reset the muscles in the neck.
Cervical extension with a towel is a great way to get specific movement to each segment of your spine. Using the towel helps stabilize one segment while you are moving the others.
An upper trap stretch, levator scapulae stretch, and an anterior scalene stretch are great to help loosen up the muscles all around your neck. If there is less tightness, there won’t be as much pressure on the disc.
Finally, exercises against gravity like cervical side bending, cervical extension, and the cat/dog or cat cow (which can be a stretch too), will help strengthen the muscles to stabilize the area.
Vertigo Balance Exercises - Ask Doctor Jo - YouTube
Vertigo is a feeling of dizziness/spinning that often comes on suddenly. These balance exercises may help with the balance issues vertigo can cause. These should be done in a safe area with a person or stable object next to you for support.
Vertigo is the symptom of many different things, and is caused by something else going on. BPPV, which is a positional vertigo, is the most common one you might have.
The first exercise is putting your feet as close together as you can. This is called the Romberg stance. If that is easy, try closing your eyes. If that is easy, move your head from side to side, and then up and down. Then combine them together with head movements and eyes closed. If all those become easy, try standing on an uneven surface like a pillow or a folded up yoga mat.
The next balance exercise is called tandem stance. This is with one foot directly in front of the other like you are standing on a tight rope. You can modify it if that is too hard to start with by putting your back heel and your toes on each foot next to each other. Follow the same progression as above. Make sure to switch your feet.
If all of these become easy, you can try standing on one foot and doing the same progression.
Electrical stimulation (ES) with a professional neuromuscular stimulator like the Neurodyn II can be a great way to help decrease pain, re-educate muscles, prevent atrophy after a surgery, increase blood flow/circulation & increase range of motion.
The folks at Shophysio sent me their Neurodyn II by Ibramed. This unit is a great professional unit because it comes with Russian current, functional electrical stimulation (FES), and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS). It has 4 independent color coded channels so you can use it on more than one patient at a time.
FES is a form of ES that helps with functional activity. The current should just be high enough to make the movement so it will help with the function of the muscle.
TENS is for pain relief for acute and chronic pain. It has conventional (normal) and burst modulation.
Russian current is used for muscle retraining and helping prevent muscle atrophy after an injury or surgery. You want to get a maximum contraction with this current.
Therapeutic ultrasound with a professional unit like the Sonopulse III can be a great option to use in conjunction with physical therapy for pain relief, reducing muscle spasms, increasing blood flow & increasing motion of contracted joints.
I like using therapeutic ultrasound best for injuries like tendonitis and bursitis.
The folks at Shophysio sent me their Sonopulse III ultrasound to try out. It’s a great simple option for professionals, so if it looks like something that you might benefit from, make sure to ask your healthcare professional if ultrasound might help you.
You might see therapeutic ultrasound being used in physical therapy, athletic training, or even for aesthetics.