Lower back pain is the most common condition treated by chiropractors. Patients often ask, other than chiropractic adjustments, if there is anything that they can do at home in order to help with their lower back issues. Here are three simple exercises that I recommend almost every patient with lower back pain perform at home.
I would estimate that about 90% of patients that I see complaining of lower back pain have chronically tight hamstrings. The hamstrings attach at the pelvis, and when they become tight, can pull the pelvis out of position, which can lead to lower back pain. Hamstring stretches are easy to perform. While seated on the ground, keep one leg straight, and bend the opposite knee so that the bottom of your foot is touching the inner part of the other knee. Now slowly reach for the toe of the straight leg. If you can’t reach your toe, don’t worry, just reach as far as you can. Also, try not to bounce when reaching, this puts added pressure into the muscle. Repeat on the other leg, holding each stretch for 15-20 seconds.
Other than hamstrings, patients with lower back pain, also tend to have tight gluteal muscles as well. You can stretch your gluts in two different ways. First, lay on your back and pull one knee towards the oppposite shoulder and hold for 15-20 seconds. The other option can be performed by starting on your back, with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Now cross one leg so that your foot is resting on the opposite thigh. Grasp the back of the bottom leg, pull toward your torso and hold. Repeat the same stretch on the other side holding for 15-20 seconds.
In addition to stretching, strengthening of the lower back muscles is also very important. The easiest way to strengthen the muscles in your lower back is an exercise called the Superman. To perform this exercise, lay on your stomach with your arms extended above your head. Being sure to keep your arms and legs straight, lift both arms and legs off of the ground, forming a “u” shape with your body. Hold for about five seconds and slowly lower your arms and legs to the ground. Repeat this exercise 10 times.
Try these three simple exercises at home to help alleviate lower back pain, and to help get the most out of your chiropractic care.