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Simple Stretches and Exercises to Hold Your Chiropractic Adjustment Longer

We all know how amazing we can feel after a good chiropractic adjustment.  In an ideal world, patients would only need one adjustment and continue on with their lives free of pain or stiffness.  Unless you have that elusive magic wand we have all been looking for (I haven’t found it yet), good spine health comes from repetition of daily good habits – including stretches and exercises.  According to Gordon & Bloxham (2016)  “exercise increases the blood flow and nutrients to the soft tissues in the back, improving the healing process and reducing stiffness that can result in back pain.” 

One question I’m often asked by patients with Mobile Wellness Care is, “Are there any exercises I can do that will help me hold my adjustments longer?” Below are some simple stretches and exercises you can add into your workout regimen to help counter the contortions you put your body through every day.  These stretches and exercises specifically target the muscles of your neck, back, hamstrings, and shoulders.  

 

Stretches for Lower Back Pain

Cat Cow Stretch

Cat-Cow pose is a great stretch for back pain.  To do the cat-cow stretch, follow these steps:

  1. Come onto all fours in a tabletop position (hands and knees on the ground).
  2. Press into your hands and feet as you inhale to look up, allowing your belly to fill with air.
  3. Exhale, tucking your chin into your chest and arching your spine toward the ceiling.
  4. Continue this pattern of movement, moving with each breath.
  5. Do this for 1 to 2 minutes.

Modifications

If you have wrist concerns, place your hands slightly forward instead of directly under your shoulders. If you have any knee concerns, place a cushion under them for padding and support.

For deeper holds, simply remain in each position for 5 to 20 seconds at a time instead of moving with each breath.

Cobra Pose Stretch

Cobra pose creates a nice natural curve of the lower back. It also engages your abs a bit, which is helpful for supporting the lower back.

  1. Lie on your stomach, legs together and straight out behind you.
  2. Extend your arms below your shoulders as you lift your chest up off the floor.
  3. Press your hips and thighs into the floor, and think about lengthening your spine while keeping your shoulders relaxed.
  4. Sit up just enough to feel a nice stretch in your lower back. Don’t hyperextend, and stop immediately if you start to feel any discomfort or pain.
  5. Hold this position for one to three minutes or transition into the Downward Facing Dog.

Downward Facing Dog Stretch

stretches for back pain

Sometimes, lower back pain is the result of muscles being too tight.  If the backs of your legs are tight, Down Dog is a great way to stretch out your hamstrings and calves. If you’re extra tight, you can bend your knees a little bit to make the stretch more comfortable.

  1. From Cobra Pose, keep your hands on the floor, sit up on your knees, and then lift your butt and press back into Downward Facing Dog.
  2. Spread your fingers wide. Work on straightening your legs and lowering your heels toward the ground.
  3. Relax your head between your arms, and direct your gaze through your legs or up toward your belly button.
  4. Hold for one to three minutes.

Modification Options

Use a Sphinx Pose instead of Cobra Pose.

  1. Lie on your stomach, legs together and straight out behind you.
  2. Place your elbows under your shoulders and your forearms on the floor as you lift your chest up off the floor.
  3. Press your hips and thighs into the floor, and think about lengthening your spine while keeping your shoulders relaxed.
  4. Sit up just enough to feel a nice stretch in your lower back. Don’t hyperextend, and stop immediately if you start to feel any discomfort or pain.
  5. Hold this position for one to three minutes or transition into the Downward Facing Dog.

Another modification is just to simply hold each pose for one to three minutes without transitioning from Cobra into Downward Facing Dog.

Stretches for Neck and Shoulder Pain

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Neck stretches can help release tension at the top of the shoulders.

  1. Lay on your back, preferably on a yoga mat or something firm, yet comfortable.
  2. Tip the head down, touching your chin to chest, if possible, by using one arm as a guide to lean into the stretch.
  3. Let the head rest back in neutral position.
  4. Turn your head to the right, trying to touch the right ear to the yoga mat.
  5. Feel the stretch in the left side of the neck and shoulder.
  6. Turn your head to the left, trying to touch the left ear to the yoga mat.
  7. Feel the stretch in the right side of the neck and shoulder. Each time, hold the position for 10 seconds.
  8. Repeat this three times for each stretch.

Shoulder Stretches

This stretch opens your chest and strengthens your shoulders.

  1. Stand in a doorway, a wall (or tree in our case!) with your elbows and arms forming a 90-degree angle.
  2. Step your right foot forward as you press your palms into the sides of the door frame/wall/tree.
  3. Lean forward and engage your core. Hold this position for up to 30 seconds.
  4. Repeat the stretch with your left foot forward.
  5. Do each side 2–3 times.

Modification Options

If you feel pain, do not force any stretches!  Dr. Huston can discuss a plan that works best with your unique situation.

Posture Exercises for Headaches, Neck, and Shoulder Pain

Advanced Exercised for Core Strength

One-Legged Stand

  1. Bring one leg to hip level and bend at the knee so the lower-half of the leg is pointed straight down.
  2. Hold for 30 seconds.
  3. Repeat on the other leg.

Groin Stretch

  1. Spread legs wider than hip length but at a distance that does not give you any pain.
  2. Bend knees in a partial squat position.
  3. Stretch and lean into each side and hold the position for up to 30 seconds.
  4. Repeat on the other side.

Side Bridge Plank for Core Strength

  1. Lie on your side with your legs straight and feet stacked on top of each other. Place your elbow under your shoulder with your forearm pointing away from you.
  2. Lift your hips off the mat so that you’re supporting your weight on your elbow and the side of your foot. Your body should be in a straight line from your ankles to your head.
  3. Hold this position for the duration of the exercise. Depending on your fitness level, aim for approximately 30 seconds.
  4. Extend your free arm and top leg up for a more intense core exercise.
  5. Repeat on your other side.

Modification Options

  1. Bend at the knees instead to reduce the amount of weight and impact on your core.

Bird-Dog Pose

  1. Kneel with knees hip-width apart and hands firmly on the ground about shoulder-width apart.
  2. Practice lifting one hand and the opposite knee just an inch or two off the floor while balancing on the other hand and knee and keeping your weight centered.
  3. When you feel steady and ready to move on to full range of motion, point the arm out straight in front and extend the opposite leg behind you. You should form one straight line from your hand to your foot, keeping hips squared to the ground. If your low back begins to sag, raise your leg only as high as you can while keeping your back straight.
  4. Hold for a few seconds on each side.
  5. Repeat for the other side.

 Advanced Bridge Exercise

  1. Begin by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  2. Squeeze your glute muscles and lift your hips off the floor.
  3. Now lift 1 leg off the floor. Keep your abdominal muscles tight and continue to squeeze your glute muscle on your stance leg – do not allow your hips or pelvis to twist towards the floor.
  4. Hold this position 1-2 seconds then return your foot to the floor.
  5. Slowly lower your hips to the floor, then repeat on the opposite leg.

Bridge with Hamstring Activation

  1. Begin by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  2. Squeeze your glute muscles and lift your hips off the floor.
  3. Lift toes off the floor so only your heels are still touching the ground.
  4. Slide your glutes a few inches toward your heel then slowly slide back.
  5. Repeat 10-15 times.
  6. Stay within a range of motion that is suitable for your body.  Stop immediately if you feel any strain or pain.

Advanced Exercise for Core and Posture

  1. Start in a side plank position with your arm perpendicular to the ground. Make sure your shoulder is directly over your elbow, stack your feet, and lift your hips up off the ground.
  2. Reach your left arm straight up and extend behind you while maintaining balance.
  3. Rotate arm back to a plank position.
  4. Repeat on the other side.

Chiropractic Stretches and Exercises Takaways

Making these and other stretches part of your daily routine will increase flexibility and decrease stress to your spine.  While performing these stretches, make sure to listen to what your body is telling you.  Only YOU know what is best for YOU!  When you feel areas of increased tightness,  spend a little more time focusing on those areas.  If any of these poses or stretches cause significant pain, back off of them completely or use modification options to reduce the stretch to where it is no longer painful.

To learn more about a treatment plan custom-tailored to your specific needs and wants, call or book online today with In Home Mobile Chiropractic!

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