A majority of Americans will experience some sort of back pain in their lives, ranging from an acute injury to chronic pain.
At Synergy Chiropractic and Wellness Clinic, we are always here to help you on your healing journey, but implementing some healing strategies at home can help the rehabilitation process. There are three main categories you want to keep in mind while working to improve the health of your back: stretching, strengthening, and aerobic exercise. Below we have included a variety exercises that can easily be done right at home.
Because stiffness is often a result of back pain, regular stretching is important. A stiff back limits your body’s range of motion and overall mobility making everyday activities more challenging and less comfortable. The goal of a stretching exercise is to increase elasticity and flexibility, throughout the body, with special focus on the spine.
Hip Flexor Stretch
- Kneel on your right knee, and place your left foot flat on the floor in front of you, keeping your torso upright, and rest your hands on your hips.
- Gently push your hips forward as far as you comfortably can, while keeping your torso upright. You should feel a stretch in the front of your right hip.
- Hold for 30 seconds, then switch leg positions and repeat (Women’s Health Mag).
- Lay on the floor on your back and cross the right ankle over the left knee.
- Grip the thigh of your left leg and pull the knee towards you, lifting the foot off the floor.
- Pull the knee further towards you to increase the stretch. Hold for between 10 and 30 seconds. Switch legs and repeat.
- Get down on your hands and knees on the floor, relaxing your head, allowing it to droop.
- Round your back up toward the ceiling until you feel a nice stretch in your upper, middle, and lower back.
- Hold this stretch for as long as it feels comfortable, or about 15 to 30 seconds.
- Return to the starting position with a flat back while you are on all fours.
- Let your back sway by pressing your stomach toward the floor. Lift your buttocks toward the ceiling.
- Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat 2 to 4 times.
Strengthening exercises are the next step to a rehabilitated back. It’s important to strengthen various muscles throughout the body including the gluteal, abdominal, and obliques. These muscles work with the back to help maintain proper posture, rotate the spine, and stand upright.
Knee to Chest
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
- Bring one knee to your chest, keeping the other foot flat on the floor (or the other leg straight, whichever feels better on your lower back). Keep your lower back pressed to the floor. Hold for at least 15 to 30 seconds.
- Relax and lower the knee to the starting position. Repeat with the other leg.
- Repeat 2 to 4 times with each leg.
Tip: To get more stretch, put your other leg flat on the floor while pulling your knee to your chest. To add more of a strength-training element, place your hands on your thigh creating resistance.
- Lie flat on back with knees bent, feet flat on floor about hip-width apart, and both arms extended by sides, palms facing down.
- Lift pelvis off the floor and press hips as high as possible, squeezing buttocks.
- Hold for 1 count, then slowly release hips back down to the floor. Do 8 reps.
For a similar exercise with less range of motion, try the Pelvic Tilt
- Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent.
- Flatten your back against the floor by tightening your abdominal muscles and bending your pelvis up slightly.
- Hold for up to 10 seconds. Repeat.
Finally, some sort of low-impact aerobic activity should be included in your rehab routine. Water therapy is a great option, as the water provides minor resistance. Walking is another option, but remember, an adequate aerobic walk should last 20-30 minutes at a sustained pace.
These stretches and exercises are great ways to help rehab your back at home; they require little space, and can be modified to fit your back’s needs.