Chronic Back Pain Exercises for Lacey Residents
Based on simple statistics, we’ve all experienced (or will experience ) a form of low back pain at one point in our lives. This is the same for people in our area of Lacey WA. The term “chronic” applies to low back pain which has been present for at least three months. It has been consistently reported that LBP becomes increasingly difficult to resolve when it persists for three or more months. This topic is about which exercises have been found to BEST address chronic low back pain.
Stabilization Exercises for Back Pain
Many studies have looked into the effects of stabilization exercises in patients with chronic low back pain. A review of six recently published studies followed patients over a four to sixteen week time frame, where investigators noted that participants who engaged in exercise (the use of a Swiss ball, floor or “land-based” exercises, sling exercises with some focusing on the abdominal muscles while others looked the extensors) reported improvements in pain and disability that were not seen among those in the non-exercise control groups. Another study also looked at changes in bone density between the two groups and found increased bone density in the exercise group and a reduction in bone density among participants who refrained from exercise. Another study reported waist isometric strength increases in their exercise group.
One study found the cross section of the multifidus (MF) muscles—the deep low back, fine motor muscle groups that is considered to be one of the most important targets for low back strengthening—significantly increased after eight weeks of exercise. Another study observed the same effect for the deep transverse abdominis muscles.
These and other studies clearly show that core stabilization exercises can improve pain and disability scores in patients with cLBP, while those who do not exercise do not improve and in fact, may actually worsen!
So, what are core stabilization exercises?
Here are some Swiss ball options (try 5-10 times and increase reps/hold times as you improve your strength):
1) Sitting pelvic tilts
This can be done with both feet (or eventually one foot when you’re ready for an added challenge) on the floor while rocking the pelvis front to back, left to right, or in a circular or “figure-8” manner.
Start sitting and then walk out so the ball is between the shoulder blades. Keep your trunk parallel to the floor. Push your heels into the floor to activate the hip extensors (buttock muscles) and then walk back up to a sitting position. You can further challenge your balance and hip extensor strength by raising one leg.
Start sitting and roll halfway back and hold it for different lengths of time.
Hug the ball and roll out into a push up position. Position the ball under your pelvis and lift one leg at a time towards the ceiling. Alternate between the left and right legs. You can do BOTH legs together once you get used to this to make it more challenging.
Here are some other exercises you can use to combat low back pain!
1) Pelvic tilts
First, with the knees bent about 90° with your feet on the floor, flatten your low back against the floor by rocking your pelvis back.
2) Dead Bug
On your back with hips and knees both bent 90° (like sitting in a chair on your back), straighten out the right arm and left leg simultaneously and alternate sides SLOWLY.
Lay on your stomach with your arm and legs stretched our (like “Superman” flying). Raise one arm and the opposite leg (i.e. right arm/ left leg) and slowly alternate between the other opposing pair. Make it harder by raising BOTH arms and legs at the same time! NOTE: A pillow under the waist helps.
Lay on your back with your knees bent. Lift the buttocks off the ground and push your heels into the floor. Do one leg at a time to make it more challenging.
There are three leg positions to make it progressively harder (knees bent/feet flat on floor, knees & hips both bent 90°, etc.). Lift your breast bone towards the ceiling and alternate between coming straight up and left and right trunk twists.
6) Side Bridge (Plank)
If no shoulder problems exist, lay sideways propped up on an elbow and lift the hips off the floor to a straight body position.
7) Standing squats
Try a quarter, half, or full squat (knee pain dependant) with or without hand weights and with or without a ball squeezed between the knees. Lunges can be substituted or added, if desired.
8) 4-point Quadruped
Kneeling on all fours, straighten out the right arm / left leg and alternate. At the same time, suck in your belly (“abdominal hollowing”) to facilitate the deep transverse abdominis and multifidus muscles. Add a dynamic component by rotating the trunk and approximating your hand to the floor / opposite leg up in the air keeping the body in a straight line.
Many of these exercises we will likely prescribe based on your condition. Anyone from Lacey and beyond can come into our practice and be assessed and treated. Remember, treatment isn’t just getting adjusted, it’s understanding the problem and doing exercises that will help resolve it. It’s what we do every day of the week and we can help you too.
We are walk in friendly, (although you may also make an appointment if you wish), we love helping patients in our Lacey area with their pain and helping reduce chronic pain through chiropractic treatment and exercise. We accept many insurances, so please come in and see us and see what we can do for you.