BACK PAIN: THE 12 MOST IMPORTANT FACTS

  1. Eighty percent of cronic back pain is attributable to neglect of the back muscles.
  2. Thirty-five percent of young people already have slipped or degenerated spinal disks
  3. The likelihood of suffering acute lower back pain is highest among those aged 30 to 50.
  4. German health insurers and retirement insurers spend 25 billion euros each year on treatments for bone and muscle degeneration, various forms of arthritis, rheumatism, and disorders and injuries of the spinal column.
  5. Worldwide, several hundred million people have suffered pathological damage to the musculoskeletal system.
  6. Employee absenteeism due to musculoskeletal disorders and injuries costs 10 billion euros in Germany each year.
  7. More than half of those who join a gym stop going in just the first three months.
  8. 71,5 millionen workdays are missed in Germany due to back pain.
  9. Eighty to 90 percent of patients with chronic back pain suffer mild depression.
  10. Each year, 60,000 spinal disk operations are performed in Germany.
  11. Eighty-five percent of people are not perfectly symmetrical in body structure, putting them at increased risk of disk injuries.
  12. The pressure on the spinal column is 100 kilograms when standing, 90 when sitting, 220 when bending.


ONGOMOVE - EXERCISE PROGRAM

The ONGO® Seat promotes active sitting to ease tension, strenghten the muscle groups in the back, and improve overall posture. It is a fun way to build exercise into your everyday life, not only improving posture, but also boosting energy levels and concentration. As part of the product development process, the Institute for Movement Analysis at Kaiser-Karl-Klinik in Bonn, Germany, took biometric measurements and conducted patient trials. Their findings:

Increased mobility was proven after just four weeks of active use of the ONGO® Seat. This exercise program was developed based on these medical findings. Simple exercises with the ONGO® Seat can help you start off on a targeted, effective spinal training regimen.


WARM-UP

Starting position: Sit upright on the ONGO® Seat. Choose the seat hight so that your legs form an angle slightly greater than 90°. Place your feet flat on the floor with the toes angled slightly outward. Place your legs hip-width apart. Allow your hands to rest on your thighs or to hang loosely to both sides of your body and relax your shoulders. Imagine yourself as a marionette, with an invisible thread extending upward from the top of your head, pulling your upper body upright and lenghtening it.


1. THE HIKER / HEEL-TOE TAPS

 

Position your feet so that the right toe is touching the floor and the left heel is touching the floor. Switch, alternating between your right and left. Repeat the switch ten times. Then add the arm movements: Bend your arms, keeping the elbows close to the body. Now allow the arms to swing gently in rythm with the shifts in your foot position, as you would when hiking or power walking.

For added challenge: After combining the heel-toe taps and arm movements, add a hip rotation and perform all three motions simultaneously, in rythm.

Duration 30 seconds
Repetitions 10 times
Ball Lies still between your feet.

2. SEATED CAT STRETCH / PELVIC TILT, FRONT AND BACK

Place your hands on your hips or allow your arms to hang loosely to both sides of your body. Alternate tilting your pelvis to the front and back. As you tilt your pelvis forward, draw your navel inward. When you tilt your pelvis backward, allow your spine to assume a slight curve.

Duration 30 seconds
Repetitions 12 times in each direction
Ball Runs evenly in a circle

3. ROTOR I / SHOULDER CIRCLES I

 

Allow your arms to hang loosely to both sides of your body. Rotate your shoulders, first in small circles, then increasing the size of the circles. Continue for about 30 seconds total.

For added challenge 
Combine this exercise with a pelvic tilt as in the Seated Cat Stretch described above. The ball lies still between your feet as you rotate your shoulders. It begins to rotate as soon as you begin the pelvic tilt exercise.

Duration 30 seconds
Repetitions 15 - 30 times
Ball Lies between your feet as you rotate your shoulders.

4. ROTOR II / SHOULDER CIRCLES II

In addition to rotating the shoulders as in exercise I above, bend your arms, with the elbows facing out from your upper body. Pull your elbows back, compressing the space between your shoulder blades and making circles in the air with your elbows. Gradually increase the intensity of both movements over about 30 seconds by enlarging the circles and pulling the elbows further back.

For added challenge   
Combine this exercise with a pelvic tilt as in the Seated Cat Stretch described above. The ball lies still between your feet as you rotate your shoulders, it begins to rotate as soon as you begin the pelvic tilt exercise.

Tip: Beginners can combine the two types of shoulder circles into one exercise before adding the pelvic tilt, which is a significant additional challenge.

Duration 30 - 60 seconds
Repetitions 15 - 30 times
Ball lLies still between your feet as you rotate your shoulders. Begins to rotate as soon as you begin the pelvic tilt exercise.

CANDLEHOLDER / STRETCH PECTORAL MUSCLES

Extend both arms upward, inhaling as you do so. Exhale, allowing your arms to fall into a ninety-degree angle, extending straight outward from your shoulders with the lower arms pointing upward. This is called the "candleholder" position. The palms of the hands should face inward, with the shoulder blades facing downward. Keep your head level and gaze straight ahead. Now slowly turn your upper body to the right, making shure to turn the rib cage only and keep the pelvis stable. Your head should remain aligned with your rib cage. Exhale, returning to center, and repeat to the left side.

Dauer 30 - 60 seconds
Repetitions 6 - 8 times per side
Ball Lies still between your feet

6. HULA-HOOP / PELVIC CIRCLES

Slowly begin to move your pelvis in a circular motion, causing the ball of the ONGO® Seat to rotate evenly. First rotate your pelvis to the right ten times, then switch and do the same to the left. Gradually increase the size of the circles, continuing to look straight ahead.

Duration 60 seconds
Repetitions 3 times
Ball Runs evenly in a circle in both directions.

7. FORWARD BEND / BACK RELAXATION

Bend forward, allowing your back to curve and using your elbows to support the weight of your upper body on your thighs, about one hand-width above the knees. Let your head hang down and close your eyes. Be conscious of taking deep breaths. Focus completely on your breathing and feel how your spine stretches from the back of your neck to the middle of your back. Slowly roll yourself back upright, one vertebra at a time.

Duration 30 seconds
Repetitions 3 times
Ball Lies still between your feet.

8. THE THINKER / SIDE NECK STRETCH

Extend your right shoulder downward and to the rear, extending your hand toward the floor. First tilt your chin downward toward your chest, then tilt your left ear toward your left shoulder until you feel a definite stretch in the muscles at the back of your neck on the right side. Hold the stretch for at least ten to 15 seconds. Then extend your left shoulder downward and to the rear. Tilt your head forward and then to the right, feeling the stretch in the muscles at the back of your neck on the left side. Hold this stretch as well for at least ten to 15 seconds. Repeat the exercise a second time on both sides.

Duration 30 - 60 seconds
Repetitions 2 - 3 times per side
Ball Lies still between your feet.

9. JACKKNIFE / LEG STRETCH

Extend your legs outward from a seated position, allowing your knees to bend slightly. Flex your toes and try to touch them with your fingertips as your heels stay in contact with the floor. Return to the starting position and repeat the stretch.

Durationl10 - 15 seconds per stretch
Repetitions 3 times
Ball Lies still between your feet.

10. SNAIL / LEG STRETCH (UPPER THIGH)

Shift your position so that you are sitting slightly forward on your ONGO® Seat. Bend forward slightly and grasp your bent right leg at the outer side, a bit above your ankle, with your right hand. Now gently pull your lower leg backward and up, tilting your pelvis forward slightly until you feel a stretch in the muscles at the front of your thigh. Hold this stretch for about ten to 15 seconds, then switch legs.

 

Duration 20 - 30 seconds
Repetitions 3 times per side
Ball Lies still between your feet.

11. SCORPION / STRENGHTEN SPINAL MUSCLE GROUPS

Maintaining a flat back, bend your upper body forward slightly and reach both arms overhead. Now pull both arms downward and behind you at the same time, bending the arms at the elbows and pinching your shoulder blades together in back so that they nearly touch. Then stretch both arms overhead again, shoulder-width apart, and repeat the exercise. Go slowly and maintain control during this exercise.

Duration 45 - 60 seconds
Repetitions 12 - 14 times
Ball Lies between your feet.

12. STOP POSITION / FILL THE CHEST WITH AIR

Extend both arms out from the body at right angles at shoulder height, with the fingertips pointing upward. Draw the shoulder blades down the back. Now move the bent arms to the back by drawing the shoulder blades together. Feel the stretch in your chest area and breathe deeply into the belly four to five times as you hold the stretch. Release after ten to 20 seconds.

Duration 40 - 80 seconds
Repetitions 4 times
Ball Lies between your feet.

13. RUMBA / HIP CIRCLES

Take a standing position next to the ONGO® Seat and place one knee in the center of the stool. Adjust the height of the ONGO® Seat as needed. Bend your standing leg very slightly. Now begin to move the stool in a circular motion with the knee that is resting atop it. Switch directions after about 20 seconds. Then switch legs and repeat.

 

Duration 60 seconds
Repetitions 3 times per side
Ball Rolls in a circle.

14. SWING / BODY CIRCLES

Step behind your ONGO® Seat at about arm's length. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and squat, bending forward and stretching out your arms, until you can place your hands on top of the stool. Maintain a flat back, with a straight line from your waist to the top of your head. Now start the ball rolling. The movement should come only from the legs as your upper body and arms remain still. Switch directions after about 20 seconds.

Duration 40 seconds
Repetitions 2 times in each direction
Ball Rolls in a circle.