How to prevent low back pain
Low back pain is extremely common and unfortunately most of us will deal with it at some point in our lives. The good news is there are nonsurgical ways to treat it. The even better news is there are ways to prevent it! Preventing low back pain does require some work on your end but it isn’t that involved and doing a few minutes of work each day may save you lots of time and money in the end. Doroski Chiropractic Neurology in the Woodbridge, Dale City VA area has some exercises for you that may help.
Low back pain is very common and I see it all the time in my office. One of the common things I hear is something completely benign caused it. Granted we see a lot of traumatic injuries that you would assume would cause low back pain. Such as digging a hole, falling off the roof, working doing repetitive twisting or anything strenuous. People don’t generally think twice when they hurt their back doing those activities. They may wish they hadn’t but to have back pain following those things isn’t unusual. It is the injuries associated with sneezing, that big morning stretch, bending over to grab an empty dog food bowl… These are the injuries that always make the patient scratch their head. Unfortunately, it is not the event that really caused the injury. It is the 4 weeks of back stiffness that they ignored before the injury. Usually when I ask they go yea it was stiff, or yea I just had a long car ride, or I put in new baseboards BUT it was ok after that. Odds are it really wasn’t but you were just dealing with it.
When your low back is tight for a long period of time it is a ticking time bomb. The muscles are continually pulling on the pelvis and lumbar joints until that one weird movement and the entire thing falls apart. Unfortunately, this injury is harder to fix then the guy who fell off the roof, mainly because the rest of his back hasn’t had a few weeks to compensate for the low back tightness. I always stress to my patients that spending a few minutes in the morning and at the end of the day stretching their low back will make a world of difference. That and staying hydrated will help keep the muscle from tightening up.
Here are some daily stretches you can do to keep your back stretched and relaxed so the muscles function correctly.
- The Deep Squat
Stand up straight with your arms folded across your chest. Place your feet shoulder-width apart and toes pointing out slightly. Squat down as far as you can, keeping your heels on the floor. As you squat ensure your weight goes into your heels and not your toes. For a full range of movement, your bum should sit down by your heels and your head should be tall and looking forward. Perform the exercise slowly when lowering down, giving yourself time to keep control and lower all the way – or as far as your range of movement will allow. Pause for a count of two at the bottom of the squat, allowing your groin area to relax. Your knees should be directed slightly outwards in alignment with your feet. Keeping your knees out, squeeze your gluteals and stand up out of the squat. Only go as far as you can without any pain. As you perform the exercise regularly you will slowly but surely be able to achieve greater flexibility. Do this for 2 sets of 10.
- Knee to Chest
Lie on your back, flex your knees up and do a pelvic tilt so you press your lower back flat to the floor. Slowly and gently pull your right knee to your chest at a slight angle towards your left shoulder. Hold for 5 seconds and release back to the bent position. Then repeat with the opposite leg. Do this 10 times in alternating fashion
- Downward Dog
Place your hands and feet on the floor, shoulder-width apart, knees bent and hips high. Your heels should be off the floor at this point. Relax your head and neck so you are looking towards your knees. Do a pelvic tilt so your lower back is arched and your spine is straight. Now straighten your arms and pull your shoulder blades together. Straighten your knees as well. You may lose the arch in your low back but don’t allow your lumbar spine to flex. This will require a good abdominal squeeze to maintain the lumbar arch. Hold for 30 seconds and relax. Repeat 5 times.
- Spine twists
Sit down with your legs loosely crossed. Pull your back up tall and stick your chest out so that you are sitting upright with perfect posture. Fold your arms across your chest. Tighten your abs so that your pelvis is stable. Then slowly turn your head and shoulders to one side. Turn as far as you can and you will feel the stretch in the rib area. Hold the end position for a count of two and then turn across to the other side and repeat. Perform two sets of 10 repetitions each side.
Do not force any of these exercises and if you feel any discomfort stop. Keeping your low back stretched will help you prevent some low back injuries but routine chiropractic visits with these stretches can help prevent the big injuries. Of course injuries are inevitable but if your try to prevent the preventable ones you can eliminate a lot of pain from your life.
Doroski Chiropractic Neurology
3122 Golansky Blvd, Ste 102
Woodbridge VA 22192
703 730 9588