The leading causes of low back pain are overuse or injuries of the ligaments, discs or muscles within or supporting the spine. These cause permanent tensions, stiffness and imbalance in the spine. If the mechanical disorders are not treated properly, the spine will be more prone to further injury.
In addition to a chiropractic treatment, it is strongly recommended to commence a programme of fitness focusing on strengthening, stretching and often forgot but necessary aerobic exercises (walking is a great start).
The following exercises have demonstrated great outcomes in different research. However, they may not be recommended to anyone, particularly if currently suffering from back pain. It is essential to seek advice from a health professional before starting any strenuous rehabilitation programme.
Postural Relief Exercise
Hours sitting in front of screens or driving affect your posture. Common indicators of poor posture include a rounded upper back, a flat lower back and a forward head position.
The following exercise is great to get relief and improve general posture.
Start by sitting or standing up straight. Then bring your shoulder blades back, down and in. Straighten your elbows, wrists and fingers and bring your whole arms back behind your body. Gently arch through your middle spine by pushing out your chest. Make sure you’re moving through your middle around and not your lower back. Inhale and hold for 30 seconds.
This is an excellent exercise to warm up your spine before exercising.
It should be practised as a motion exercise, not a stretch. Eight cycles are enough and should include the cervical spine with the lumbar and thoracic spine.
Single Leg Lift
This exercise is training before the use of the following curl-up. It needs to be mastered before.
You are lying on your back, one leg straight and the other bent at the knee level, and a hand placed in the natural arch of the low back. Put very slight pressure on the hand with your spine, and during all the exercise, you will keep the same pressure. Do not flatten the back to the floor. Engage and brace your core around the spine, slowly raise the straight leg, and lower it to the floor, always keeping the same pressure on the hand. Repeat ten times and change the legs, not necessarily the hand. Do not forget to breathe in and out, not releasing your bracing.
The 3 Big Exercises Routine
Crunches and sit-ups are not recommended as they lead to repetitive flexion of the back and involve too much strain on discs and joints of the spine.
These exercises aim to stabilise the spine for people having an average level of fitness. It exists more advanced practices, but they would never be painful. Individual objectives must be identified. It would be more beneficial to perform them daily but not just after getting up.
Like before, one hand is located under the low back to preserve the neutral arch. One leg is straight, the other bent. It is good to alternate once during the repetitions. Brace your core around the spine.
Raise the upper shoulders off the floor. The neck and the upper back are cemented together. Focus your gaze on a spot on the ceiling. Hold for 8-10 seconds and breathe deeply. Repeat five times.
It is essential that you do not have any shoulder problems regarding this exercise.
Lie on either side, bend the knees, bridge the torso between the knees on your elbow, and place straight under the shoulder. A more advanced position will be knees straight, positioning a foot in front of your other bottom foot, and bridging your body. Ensure that your upper body is not twisted or leaning forward. Hold for 8-10 seconds and repeat five times. Maintain the abdominal brace, a neutral spine and breathe properly.
Hands and knees are under shoulders and hips. The spine is neutral, the abdomen braced, and gluteals squeezed. Hold one shoulder blade in and down, then raise an arm not higher than the level of the shoulders. Simultaneously, extend the opposite until the level of the hips. Do not twist the pelvis that remains horizontal and parallel to the floor. Hold for 8 seconds. Return to the starting position. Always control your movements proceeding slowly. Repeat five times the repetition of these two movements. Breathe. An advanced exercise would sweep the floor, skipping the intermediate position.
The number of repetitions is a variable between individuals’ fitness and progress. The best option is to start with five reps, holding each position between 8-10 seconds, then four, three, two and one.
There are plenty of other exercises to keep you challenged. Do not hesitate to contact our chiropractors, who have a vast experience in rehabilitation and prevention of spine injuries!