Therapeutic Back Pain Exercises
Our chiropractic care specialists teach our patients special exercises designed just for them to help strengthen and correct their own unique problem. These exercises can be performed in the comfort of your own home and can improve the effectiveness of your spinal correction by as much as 30-40 percent. This enhances the treatment process and helps maintain healing benefits, as well as reducing the likelihood of future problems, like lower back pain.
We have all heard of Core Training. Many think of sit-ups and back exercises to stabilize the spine. Even though these things do help, Dr. McDougle has always felt that all of that type of training only led to a stronger, crooked problem. The premise of his chiropractic care theory is to strengthen the spine from the inside out and stimulate the nervous system to reinforce the corrective process initiated with the Chiropractic Adjustment. Working with the spinal components this way is similar to focusing on the rotator cuff of the shoulder for stability and strength enhancement of that area. The end result has even been seen on post treatment x-rays moving his theory to scientific principle.
Sub-Core training was a term that had never been fully appreciated until Dr. McDougle presented his ideas to the public on the Fox 59 and WTTV’s Websites as their Sports Physician in 2008-2009.
Here are some exercises that will increase strength and prevent future back pain problems.
PARTIAL SIT UP
We start with what most people said is the best back pain exercise. Because people who have back pain will not be able to do a full sit up, we will do a partial sit up. This is what you should do.
Lie on the floor with a pillow supporting your neck and bend both knees (keep your feet on the floor). Now, raise your hands and slowly reach for your knees. You don’t have to raise your lower back or mid-back, just raise your head, neck, and upper back. Hold this position for five seconds before going back to the original position.
Because it is very easy to do, we suggest that you do it as many times as possible in a day (50 repetitions take only minutes). Make it a part of your daily routine.
KNEE TO CHEST
You will start this exercise the same way as the partial sit up — by lying on the floor with a pillow supporting your neck. Now bend both knees (keep your feet on the floor).
Begin the exercise by drawing one of your knees to your chest, using both hands (only one foot is now in the air). Hold to the count of 10, then slowly release it to the position before. Do this four to five times before doing the same thing with the other leg. You will feel that the whole back gets stretched. That is a good thing, since we have been making the back shorter all day by sitting incorrectly.
After you have done that, pull both knees to your chest. Do this four to five times as well.
For this exercise, you will lie on your back with both hands out at your sides. If we were to look at you from the air, you would now look like a tiny T. Now bend your knees and lift your feet until it almost touches your buttocks. Keep those knees together, and slowly rotate to the right. Hold to the count of 10.
After that, slowly bring back both feet to the middle and repeat the same step, this time going to the left. Repeat the entire thing for four to 10 times.
LOW BACK EXTENSION
This position is different from the previous three exercises and is designed to help those with sciatic lower back pain.
Instead of lying on your back, this time you lie on your stomach. Put your hands at your side. Now, slowly raise your head and chest from the floor. Try to hold for about four to five seconds, then go back to your original position. Okay, take a rest for a while and repeat this again for about seven to 10 times.
If you feel better, you could proceed to the next stage. If the pain increases, stop the exercise.
This is what you do next. Lie on your stomach with a pillow under the chest. Just relax there for about 10 minutes. When you do this, you are actually lifting your upper back with the help of the pillow. Now, using your hand, push on the floor and slowly raise your head and upper back from the pillow. Do this several times. Don’t continue if the back pain increases.
Position yourself on all fours with hands directly beneath your shoulders and your knees directly beneath your hips. Arch your back like a cat, then transition to camel position.
The Cat-Camel is intended as a motion exercise, not a stretch. The emphasis is on motion rather than “pushing” at the end ranges of flexion and extension. Repeat 12-15 times.
Lay on your stomach on the stability ball, face down with your arms behind your head resting on your neck. Relax your shoulders and keep your abdominals tight. Contract the gluteus and use your lower back muscles to slowly lift your shoulders and chest off the ball.
Begin in an all-fours position and engage your abdominal muscles to stabilize the pelvis and keep the neck in alignment with the spine. Lift opposite arm and leg up at the time then return down switch to the other side.
DOUBLE LEG LIFTS
Rest with your stomach over the stability ball. Hands down on the floor in front of the ball. Raise both legs up off the floor until your body is horizontal.
Seated in a chair, reach one arm across the belly and grasp the opposite side of the chair. Look over the shoulder while rotating the low- and mid-back. Hold for 15-30 seconds.
EXTERNAL SHOULDER ROTATION
Start with your palms facing the sky at table top level with a band draped over both hands. Hold your upper arms next to your torso. Externally rotate both arms through full range of motion. Pause, then slowly return to the starting position.
LATERAL DELTOID RAISE
Your arms will start slightly to the side of your body, palms facing the thighs. This starting position helps protect the shoulder joint. Engage the abdominals, bend the knees slightly, and position the feet about shoulder-width apart.
Keep elbows slightly flexed and abduct at the shoulders to raise the arms to shoulder height. Pause, and then slowly return to the starting position.
INTERNAL SHOULDER ROTATION
Sit with one leg extended and the elastic resistance wrapped around the extended foot. If the right leg is extended, the left hand acts to anchor the elastic resistance and the right arm is bent 90 degrees with the upper arm next to the torso and slightly in front of the body.
Rotate the right hand toward the body. Pause, and then slowly return to the starting position. Repeat with the other arm.
FRONT DELTOID RAISE
Arms start in front of the body with the palms facing the thighs. Engage the abdominals, bend the knees slightly, and position the feet about shoulder-width apart.
With the elbows extended, flex at the shoulders to raise the arms to shoulder height. Pause, then slowly return to the starting position.
SINGLE-ARM LAT PULLDOWN
Begin with both hands overhead holding an elastic resistance band. Engage the abdominals, bend the knees slightly, and position the feet about shoulder-width apart.
Pull downward to the side with one arm, adducting at the shoulder until the upper arm is next to the torso. Pause, then return slowly to the starting position. Keeps arms slightly in front of the face to protect the back and shoulders.
STABILITY BALL PUSH-UPS
Start with the ball under your stomach and roll forward placing your body weight on your hands until the stability ball rests under your shins. Your body should be extended in a straight line from the stability ball.
SIDE LUMBAR BRIDGE
Lie on one side with your legs straight. Support the upper body by keeping the elbow directly beneath the shoulder. Being careful not to let the top hip rotate forward, engage the abdominals and use the torso to lift the hips. Hold this position for 10 to 15 seconds, maintaining a neutral neck and spine position.
SINGLE-LEG REVERSE CURL
Lie on your back with one knee flexed and foot flat on the floor and the other leg straight in the air. Extend arms flat along body and maintain neutral alignment in the cervical spine.
Lift the working knee and leg in an upward diagonal direction over the belly button. Pause, then slowly lower the leg to the starting position. Repeat with other leg.
Lay your back onto the ball, hands behind head or across your chest. Maintain a backward-pelvic tilt and raise shoulder blades off the ball.
Stand facing the wall and hold the stability ball at forehead height, push forehead forward into the ball.
Stand facing away from the wall and hold the stability ball behind your head. Push the back of your head into the ball.
Stand sideways to the wall. Hold the stability ball above your shoulder at the side of your head. Push the side of your head laterally into the ball.
1. Bring your ear to your shoulder.
2. Let your neck sit in that position for five to seven seconds.
3. Force your ear toward your shoulder.
3. Feel the stretch of your neck muscle on the opposite side.
Same principle as the exercise before…
1. Bring head back as if you are looking toward the ceiling.
2. Feel the stretch in the muscles located on the front part of your
If this exercise causes dizziness, fainting, or loss of balance: STOP THE EXERCISE AND CONTACT YOUR PHYSICIAN.
1. Rotate your head toward your (R or L) shoulder and then
2. Nod your head down and you will feel a stretch on the opposite side of which you are looking. Just hold for a few seconds and repeat.
Neck exercises for strength
1. Put your hand on your forehead and force your forehead against your hand to provide resistance. You can do this in several sets of six, eight, or 10 repetitions.
Place your hands on the back of your neck and force your head back while providing resistance with your hands.
Do these exercises in several sets of six, eight, or 10 several times a day and you will be surprised at the amount of flexibility that returns in a couple of months.
If you want to gain strength and flexibility, create a route using these exercises and keep a consistent schedule until you feel an improvement. If lower back pain continues, schedule an appointment with a chiropractic care specialists today.