Many people who visit the best chiropractor practices in the country do so seeking treatment for low back pain. It’s true that the manipulations and massage used by chiropractors are an excellent treatment for back pain and neck pain — and since some pains are spinal injury symptoms, you should know when it’s time to seek out a doctor’s help. But there’s also a lot you can do at home to support ongoing back health. Keeping in mind that you should consult with your doctor before starting any fitness plan, here are some exercises you might think about adding to your routine:
- Abdominal Work
Strengthening your core muscles is probably the most commonly recommended at-home treatment for low back pain. This is because when your abdominals are weak, your back muscles overcompensate, resulting in pain. But it’s important that you’re careful, since bad form can hurt your back further. Instead of sit-ups, try partial crunches (in which you tighten your abdominals and lift your back off the floor without rounding or straining the shoulders). Even holding simple positions, such as a bridge or a press-up back extension, can make a big difference without straining your back.
- Aerobic Exercise
Aerobic exercise can lessen back pain — and the best part is, it can feel like a fun activity, rather than a chore. Swimming and cycling are popular options, since they’re both low impact when compared with running. It’s especially important to get in the habit of regular aerobic exercise if you need to lose some weight; obesity is often a factor in back pain. Some post-workout soreness is normal when you’re asking your body to perform new actions, but keep in mind that any pain during exercise that persists for more than 15 minutes is a sign you need to check in with your doctor.
- Daily Stretching
Stretching is an important part of exercise. You can start stretching your back by simply lying down and hugging your knees to your chest. But a host of muscles can tug on the shoulders, spine and pelvis and cause poor alignment and pain. If your pain is concentrated in the lower back, try hamstring stretches twice a day. Remember to breathe deeply while you’re stretching and relax into each position for at least 30 seconds.
Do you have any other advice regarding long-term treatment for low back pain? Share your expertise in the comments.