According to the American Chiropractic Association, up to 80% of the population will experience low back pain at least once in their lifetimes. Therefore, finding specialized back exercises can diminish the suffered symptomatology. The following exercises are most recommended for people with debilitating back pain. However, for people with moderate or severe back pain, we recommend a San Francisco Chiropractor‘s assessment first.
1. Upper Back Stretch
Stretching your back is always important. Sit on the floor and extend your legs. Loop a resistance band around your feet. Grab both sides of the band with your hands, making an X with both sides of the resistance band. Curl your back and pull the band towards the back of the room. Hold for 15-30 seconds, creating tension and contracting your core.
2. The McGill Curl Up
Similar to an abdominal crunch, this move preserves normal lordosis of the lumbar spine while performing it. On a firm surface, lie on your back. With one leg completely straight and attached to the floor, bend the other one, placing the foot down. Your arms and hands must be positioned under your low back, preserving the lumbar lordosis. Head, shoulders, and upper back must be elevated uniformly, holding the position for 10 seconds for then slowly returning down. Repeat with the other leg.
3. The Side Bridge
An excellent exercise to increase lateral stability and strength. On a firm surface, lie on your side, placing your forearm on the floor, whit the elbow under the shoulder. The other arm should remain attached to the opposite side to stabilize the torso. With your legs, one over the other, bend your knees at a 90° angle or keep them straight. By pushing down with the forearm and knees, raise your body off the floor until forming a straight line with your body. Hold this position for 10 seconds and return down. Repeat on the other side.
4. The Bird Dog (4-Point Kneeling)
Performed in a quadruped position, this is an excellent move to achieve midsection strength. Assuming a hands-and-knees position on the floor, your neck should remain straight while looking at a middle point between your hands. At the same time, lift the right arm in front of you and the left leg behind you. Both have to remain straight and parallel to the floor. By keeping the whole body in a straight line, hold this position for 10 seconds. Slowly return down. Repeat with the other arm and leg.
5. Cat-Cow Pose
Ideal for those who want to perform back pain exercises, this relaxes the body and provides flexibility to the spine. In a hands-and-knees position on the floor, take a neutral spine position. While exhaling, round your spine up to the ceiling and engage your abs. Then, while inhaling, relax your abdomen and arch your back, while lifting your head and tailbone to the ceiling. Repeat these positions for at least 10 rounds.
These at-home back exercises have helped our patients greatly. If you are still having trouble finding back pain pain relief, you may be a good candidate for our treatments. To schedule an appointment with our San Francisco Chiropractor, please call 415–421–1115 or book an appointment online.