Low Back Pain and Exercises
Low Back Pain and Exercises
When we address low back pain in our office a major component, along with the chiropractic adjustment, is rehabilitation exercises. Based on how acute the patient is when they present into the office we will put together a specific program based on our exam findings. I come from the philosophy of less is more initially. I want to make sure that I am not giving a patient too much so that they get overwhelmed and do absolutely nothing. Typically a patient will be given three specific exercises and we will progress at each re-exam making the exercises either more difficult or changing them up altogether.
As an example, I like to start out with three basic exercises that help with lumbar and hip stabilization. Those are the bridge, pelvic-tilts and bird-dogs.
The first exercise, the bridge, is great for patients with chronic low back pain. This exercise will help us work the posterior chain. Prolonged sitting can cause people to have tight hip flexors which will tend to deactivate the glutes. The bridge exercise is focused on activating the glutes and strengthening the posterior chain. This exercise is performed in the hook lie position as seen below. The goal with this exercise is to attempt to get your body into a straight position while maximally contracting the glutes at the end range of motion.
The pelvic tilt is a lumbar and core stabilization exercise. As seen in the picture below we started in a position similar to the bridge exercise. Typically, when we are lying in this position we will still have a curve in our lumbar spine and our goal with the exercise is to flatten your lumbar spine against the floor while attempting to pull your belly button through towards your spine. With this there will be a maximum contraction of the abdominal muscles as we perform the exercise. The patient will feel as though they are rotating their hips, not raising them off the floor.
he main target of the bird-dog exercise is the erector spinae muscles which run along the spine from the skull to the sacrum. Other muscles involved in this exercise are the hamstrings, the glutes the piriformis muscle and muscles of the upper extremity. With this exercise we are attempting to line up our hands under our shoulders and our knees under our hips in an all-fours position as seen below. With this exercise we are extending opposite arm opposite leg while maintaining a tabletop position in our low back. What is meant by that is we want to keep our back as flat as possible without rotating our hips. Our goal with this exercise is to get your arm and leg out straight as high as possible without losing form.
With these three exercises we are not working muscles to fatigue so they can be and should be done daily. We typically do two sets of 10 for each exercise per day. To make it easier for our patients we use an app called My Rehab Connection so that the patient will have pictures and video descriptions of how to do the exercises properly at home.
Chiropractic is a done with you, not a done for you type of treatment. The patients that take an active role in their care get the best results overtime. We want to give our patients the tools they need to help maintain their health through their lifetime.
If you are an existing patient and have not had an exercise consult in a while let us know and we would be more than happy to set up a 30-minute exercise consult with you.