One of our objectives as chiropractors is to give people the tools to manage their problems themselves. Of course it’s not always possible to manage things on your own, and some people require ongoing support from members of their health care team. However, the overall aim of our chiropractic treatment approach is to provide patients with some ‘self-management’ strategies – things that they can do at home or work, which will mean they have less recurrences of their back pain.
There are many things which form part of a patients’ self-management plan, one of which is exercises. There are a couple of ‘go-to’ exercises that our chiropractors recommend to patients with low back pain. Now, of course everyone has specific needs, however these 4 exercises will suit most people and help to maintain strong and healthy muscles that control and support the low back.
We like these one’s for a couple of reasons; They don’t require any special equipment, they are safe to do even if you have chronic lower back pain or neck pain, they can be done even if you are currently out of shape and they can be done in under 10 minutes. That ticks a few boxes for us! So give them a go and let us know how you go.
Exercise 1 – The ‘Superman’ (or ‘Superwoman’)
Start: Lay face down, with your arms outstretched. Find a relaxed posture & draw suck you belly button in slightly.
End: Squeeze gluts while continuing to breath normally, then slowly extend 1 leg off the floor without arching or rotating the spine, and then raise the opposite arm off the ground, without losing “neutral spine” posture
Exercise 2 – The ‘Clam Shell’
Start: Begin side-lying with your knees bent and ankles together. Head, shoulders and pelvis are in alignment. Draw your belly button in slightly.
End: Raise the top knee by squeezing the gluts / buttocks (keeping the feet together). Remember to breath normally
Exercise 3 – The supine ‘Bridge’
Start: Lay on your back (feet under knees), and align your hips, knees and toes. Find “neutral spine” posture & perform abdominal bracing.
End: Pushing evenly through the feet, squeeze the gluts (buttocks) to slowly raise the pelvis up. Slowly lower the body down to the start position.
Exercise 4 – Four Point Stance
Start: Kneel on all fours, with hands under shoulders & knees under hips. Find the “neutral spine” posture & perform abdominal bracing
End: Slide 1 leg back until the leg is in line with the body and then reach the opposite arm forward without arching or rotating the spine.
For each of these exercises, start by performing 6-8 repetitions of each exercises and on each side then have a rest for a few minutes. Then go back and repeat another set of the exercises. Over time you can increase the number of repetitions of each exercises and the number of sets. Remember to build up slowly and pace your activities.
If you have been doing these consistently for the past few months, you’ll probably get to a point where you want some more challenging exercises to do.
Feel free to speak with one of our chiropractors about some more challenging low back exercises. If you are having trouble with any of these exercises, it might be worth having a chat to the chiropractor so they can investigate your problems in more detail.