8 Stretches and Exercises for Low Back Pain
According to the American Physical Therapy Association, approximately two-thirds of Americans suffer from low back pain at some point in their life. Unfortunately, 37% of Americans who suffer low back pain never seek treatment for their pain.
Many people regard low back pain – or many types of pain in general – as ‘normal’ or also associate their pain with their age. Pain is common but not normal and should not be ignored. Pain signals is your body’s way of saying “Hello! I need help!”
First Things First…
If you are experiencing pain that is persistent and does not subside with home care such as rest, ice or heat, and stretching, it’s time to see a medical professional. There are many safer and natural methods of approaching pain, which is healthier for the body than masking pain with medication or unnecessary surgeries.
Chiropractic care is one way to treat conditions that cause pain that is safer than medications or surgery. In addition to being a safer method of treatment, spinal manipulation is incredibly effective. According to the American Chiropractic Association:
“A March 2004 study in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics found that chiropractic care is more effective than medical care at treating chronic low-back pain in patients who have experienced symptoms for one year or less.”
Chiropractic treatments can vary, depending on the condition, and may include:
- Chiropractic Manipulation
- Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization or IASTIM
- Electrical Muscle Stimulation or E-Stim
- Manual Therapies, such as Myofasical Release and Active Release techniques
- Therapeutic Exercise and Stretching
- Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression Therapy
Whether you’ve been experiencing low-back pain for 6 months or 6 years, a Chiropractor is highly trained to tackle all kinds of chronic conditions and has many tools at hand!
What You Can Do Now!
Stretching and strengthening exercises is a great way to not only prevent injury and chronic pain, but can also reduce pain, if it occurs. With an increase in more sedentary occupations and use of technology, the body is becoming increasingly vulnerable to chronic conditions, such as low back pain.
Stretching for the low back is a great way to help lengthen muscles that are ‘too tight’ so that the body can better realign. Let’s get started!
- Kneeling Fencer – Begin in a kneeling position. Inch the forward leg out so that the knee is slightly bent. Fully bend the forward knee and drop the hips down into the stretch. Take care that the knee does not exceed the toes. Hold for 30 seconds on both sides.
- Piriformis – Sit up straight and tall with knees extended in front. Cross one leg over the other ankle at knee level. Use one hand to pull the knee toward the chest and turn toward the stretched hip. Hold for 30 seconds on both sides.
- Figure 4 – Lay flat on the floor or a mat with the knees bent. Cross one leg over the bent knee, like you’re sitting in a chair. With both hands, grab the thigh of the leg still on the floor or mat. Bring the leg toward the chest. Hold for 30 seconds on both sides.
- Hamstrings – Lay flat on the floor or a mat. Using a belt of a stretch strap, wrap the strap around the ball of the foot. Extend and raise the leg, bringing it back toward the torso. Hold for 30 seconds on both sides.
Although lengthening muscles that are tight and over worked is very important, it’s also equally important to strengthen muscles that help support the body, so that the body can maintain alignment. Try these exercises!
- Pelvic Tilts – Lay flat on the floor or a mat. Focus on the lower abdominals to rotate the hips, bringing the bottom of the pelvis toward the chest. Perform 2 sets of 10 repetitions.
- The Dead Bug – Laying on the floor or a mat extend the arms in front of you. Bend the knees at 90 degrees. Contract the abdominals, flattening the back on the floor or mat. Maintain abdominal contraction throughout the duration of movement. Extend the left leg toward the floor and bring the right arm overhead. Keep your abs tight and don't let your lower back arch. Repeat this movement, alternating left and right side. Perform 2 sets of 10 repetitions.
- Clam Shells – On the floor or a mat, lay on your side bending at the knees. Using the feet like a hinge, lift the knee up toward the backside of the body, like opening a clam shell. Be sure not to turn the waist. Perform 2 sets of 10 repetitions.
- Bird Dog – In a quadruped position, or on hands and knees, contract the abdominals and keep the back flat, hips and shoulders even. Extend the left arm forward and the right leg backward. Alternate between the left and right side. Perform 2 sets of 10 repetitions.
As with any physical activity, listen to your body. If you are unable to perform any stretching or exercise comfortably, without pain, you should consult your doctor.
We’re Here to Help You
If you are currently experiencing low back pain, a Chiropractor can address low back issues through treating weak muscles with therapeutic exercise, myofascial release for over active muscles, and correcting spinal misalignment through chiropractic manipulation.
Forever Well Chiropractic in Friendswood, TX invites you to a consultation with Dr. Haywood to discuss your concerns and discuss how Chiropractic may help you.