Low Back Stretches
Today, I wanted to talk about low back stretches and exercises. Low back pain is the most common thing that brings patients into chiropractic offices, and though chiropractic care can help with many issues (such as TMJ, plantar fasciitis, and most everything in between), by and large, lower back pain is the biggest complaint across the country that patients bring to their chiropractor.
Let's talk about things you can do at home to help your lower back. Now, one great stretch for the low back is a toe touch, but not everyone can do a standing toe touch, especially if their back is hurting very badly. So, I'm going to demonstrate a supine version (laying down version) of that stretch.
The first step is to lay on your back on a comfortable surface with your knees bent and facing toward the ceiling, feet firmly on the floor. Lift one leg and wrap your hands around your outer knee holding the leg in place. Gently pull your knee toward your chest to get a good stretch in the same muscles you would with a standing toe touch. Hold the knee for ten seconds then release and move to the other side. Remember, the ten seconds should be a slow count of ten. Once you've finished with each leg, do both legs at the same time.
If this movement is hurting in your hips, don't continue. We can find a different stretch for you that isn't painful.
By doing three reps of each (left, right, and both) you'll be doing a great job of stretching out the muscles of your lumbar spine, and to a lesser degree of your pelvis.
Next, we can talk about turning that stretch into a strengthening exercise, because one thing we want you to do is not just stretch out the muscle that hurts today, but to help prevent it from getting bad again in the future. One way to do that is to strengthen the core muscles of your lower body. Your lumbar spine, pelvis, and lower trunk, all of those muscles help to stabilize the spine and prevent future injuries.
Laying back down in the same position extend one leg out. Gently lower it. Then gently raise it up. The point of this is not to be going really fast or really far. The point is controlling what your low back is doing. You don't want your back mashed down on the table, nor do you want to let it bow up. Have your back in a comfortable position where you can slip one of your hands under your low back and let it stay relaxed while you lower and raise the legs on each side. This will give your low back muscles a really good workout. If you do that ten times on each side, trust me, you are going to feel fatigued through your core and you are going to be preventing future injuries.
If you are having any issues with your lower back we would love to help you with chiropractic care. Please give us a call and set up an appointment today.
Music credit: Bensound