Many people with back pain go straight to a physician, and keep going, usually ending up with a pile of bills, a lot of prescription medication, and sometimes not much relief. The majority of those who choose to see a chiropractor for back pain report a higher level of satisfaction1. Their treatment plans are laid out clearly and patients have exercises they can do on their own to increase the level of comfort and decrease their level of discomfort.
While we’ll talk in this post about specific exercises to help you get started in moving towards your goal of lesser back pain, the only long term solution is to see a chiropractor. It’s through a dedicated, personalized treatment plan with a chiropractor who understands your needs, goals, body, and specific injury or pain, that a longer term solution can be gained. But for now, we’ll give you some specific exercises to manage pain and talk about why a chiropractor is your best option for long term success.
Managing Back Pain at Home
Can you really manage back pain at home? Yes and no. It depends a lot upon what kind of pain you have and where it is located. For most people, back pain is concentrated in their lower back so that is what we’ll focus on here.
The goals of these exercises for lower pain are threefold:
- To increase flexibility
- To build strength
- To increase mobility
All three of these goals work together. Flexibility and mobility will help stretch and strengthen the muscles needed to support your lower back. Greater mobility will lead to more flexibility, which will lead to muscles being stronger as they are built up in areas where they are the weakest – one of the causes of lower back pain.
Four exercises to manage lower back pain at home
You can do these exercises every day to start managing lower back pain at home. Consistency is key to any treatment plan and creating good habits by sticking with specific exercises will serve you well in the long term.
These exercises shouldn’t take you more than 15 minutes a day and can be done once in the morning and once at night.
Lower back rotational stretch
Lay on your back with both legs bent at the knee. Push your knees to one side of your body while keeping your shoulders on the floor. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat with the other side of your body. Do this exercise three times with each side. You should feel a nice stretch in your hip flexors. Extend the top leg for an even deeper stretch through your legs.
Knees to chest stretch
This one is easy since it’s exactly like it sounds. Lay on your back and bend your knees. Pull your knees to your chest and hold for 30 seconds. Do this three times. You should feel a stretch in your lower back.
This is a stretch that seeks to lengthen the spine. Go on your hands and knees on the floor and arch your back, pulling your belly button to your spine, and hold for 15 seconds. Then arch your back in the opposite direction, raising your head and neck while you push your belly to the floor. Repeat each motion three times for 30 seconds each.
You’ll need a towel or rubber exercise band for this stretch. Lay on your back and raise one leg straight up. Wrap a small towel or rubber exercise band around the ball of your feet while holding one end with your left hand and the other end with your right hand. Try to straighten the leg as much as possible and gently pull on the towel/band until you feel a stretch in the back of your leg – the hamstring. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat three times on each leg.
Why working with a chiropractor can help relieve back pain
Managing back pain at home is an excellent first step to taking control of your pain. As a chiropractor who works closely with his patients on their goals, it is always encouraging to me to work with a motivated patient because they need to be just as dedicated as I am to managing their back pain.
It is crucial that the spine is aligned correctly because that is when everything works the way it is supposed to – and with little to no pain. If something is out of alignment, it will likely cause pain not only at the place of misalignment but many other places throughout the body because everything is connected and works together. Spinal adjustment is at the crux of chiropractic care because it is the most important part of what makes your body work the way it’s supposed to.
Spinal adjustments will help to increase movement in the joints and reduce tightness and tension. Lower back pain can result from not only from misalignment of the spine but the consequential tightness that results from that misalignment as other tendons and joints try to make up for the misalignment. Through regular adjustments, tightness and tension is lessened in the upper, middle, and lower back, leading to better movement, flexibility, and less pain.
Working with a chiropractor to ease back pain also has the added benefit of preventing future injury. When muscles are strong and a patient has better flexibility, they are more easily able to absorb impact and often result in fewer injuries.
Long term solution to back pain
There is no one-size-fits-all solution to back pain but there are many options to manage back pain while strengthening the muscles that patients need to ease their back pain and avoid further irritation or injury.
At home exercises are a great way to start managing back pain at home but a thorough intake and examination by a chiropractor, followed by a detailed and personal treatment plan is the best way to manage back pain. There are no drugs and no surgeries. It is a completely holistic approach to health that aims to get the body back to doing what it should be doing.
As a well-trained Gonstead chiropractor who has been practicing for more than ten years, 98% of my patients achieve their goals. If you want to see what the possibilities are for less back pain in your life, give our office a call, 864-631-1420, to set up your consultation. Can you remember what a pain-free life looks like? I would like to have the chance to get you back there.
1 R. P. Hertzman-Miller, H. Morganstern, E. L. Hurwitz, Fei, Y., Adams, A. H., Harber, P., and Kominiski, G. F. (2002). “Comparing the Satisfaction of Low Back Pain Patients Randomized to Receive Medical or Chiropractic Care: Results from the UCLA Low-Back Pain Study.” American Journal of Public Health, 92(10): 1628-1633.