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Making Your Practice More Family Focused

2 Tips To Help Strengthen Back Muscles During Physical Therapy

by Monica Reynolds

If you have recently sustained a back or spinal injury, then it may be in your best interest to seek out assistance from a physical therapist. The professional will work with you to stretch, rest, and strengthen the muscles that support your spine and your back. Strengthening your muscles is one of the most important aspects of physical therapy. When the tissues are strong, your spine is properly supported and this can greatly reduce the incidence of spinal shifts and injuries. Physical therapy will involve exercises that can help to build the strength, but there are several things you should do as well to assist with this.

Feed Your Muscles

As your physical therapist works with you to exercise and stretch the muscles across your back, your muscles will start to build more mass. A complex process occurs when this happens. As the muscles are worked, the tissues form small tears as they become stressed. When you rest your muscles after a physical therapy session, your body starts to rebuild the tissues.  

Extra tissues are added to the muscles as they heal and this increases their size and strength. Your body requires a great deal of nutrients and energy to heal your muscles though. Protein is the essential nutrient that allows the body to form tissues, and this means that you need to increase your protein consumption both before and after you attend physical therapy.

The average person needs to consume between about 46 and 56 grams of protein a day. If you are actively building muscle though, then you need about one gram of protein for every pound of body weight. This means that you will need to eat two or three times the average amount to increase muscle strength across your back.

Good Protein Sources

The best protein sources to build muscles include foods that contain many different amino acids. These complete proteins provide your body with the nutrients it needs to rebuild tissues after a physical therapy session. Meat products contain the most amino acids, so try to consume beef, chicken, fish, pork, and turkey on a daily basis. Just make sure that you try to consume lean meats throughout the week. If you eat foods with a good deal of fat, then you will be increasing your weight as you build muscle. The added weight can place stress on your back and lead to future injuries.

If you want to supplement your meat consumption with more basic protein sources, consider eating eggs, cheese, milk, yogurt, peanut butter, tofu, and quinoa. These foods will help to add protein to your diet while keeping your fat intake low.

Hydrate Your Muscles

Most people know they need to drink a good deal of water when they exercise because fluids are lost when sweating. You may not know that you also need water to strengthen your muscles. Muscles are active tissues that require water for nerve function. Nerve function is stimulated by the electrolytes carried by the water in your body, and this stimulation allows your muscles to move fluidly.  

Without the water and the electrolytes, your back muscles will feel weak and they will not be able to contract well enough to build strength. This can result in poor results during and after your physical therapy sessions.

Good Water Sources

If you want to make sure that your muscles are strong, then drink between two and three liters of water a day. Drink two extra glasses of water before and after your physical therapy sessions as well. This will ensure good nerve function and proper healing once the workout is over.

You also should try to eat foods throughout the day that contain a good deal of water to increase your fluid intake. Watermelons, strawberries, grapefruits, lettuce, celery, tomatoes, bell peppers, and zucchini are all wise choices.  

Physical therapy sessions may be necessary if you injure your back. You will complete many exercises during the therapy to strengthen your muscles. Good protein and fluid intake will also help you to build muscle tissues to support your back.

Click here to learn more about physical therapy. 

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