Exercise Can Prevent Lower Back Pain, JAMA Study Says
If you’re experiencing lower back pain, you should know about a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Internal Medicine in January indicating that exercise, either alone or combined with education, reduces the risk of lower back pain (LBP).
Researchers reviewed 23 studies representing more than 30,000 participants. The study concluded: “The current evidence suggests that exercise alone or in combination with education is effective for preventing LBP. Other interventions, including education alone, back belts and shoe insoles, do not appear to prevent LBP.”
Dr. Cynthia Boyd of Symmetry Health Center in Oakland and Alameda, California, recommends a combination of aerobic activity – such as walking – and stretching exercises. Stretching is crucial because when you experience back pain, you also experience stiffness. That stiffness limits your body’s range of motion and overall mobility. By stretching, you increase elasticity and flexibility.
Here are a few exercises to get you started.
You can do a standing stretch, a chair stretch, or a stretch while lying on the floor. Note that a chair stretch places less strain on your back than the standing stretch, and the stretch while supine is the least stressful of all.
- For the standing stretch, simply bend at the waist and reach for your toes. It’s OK if you don’t touch your toes. Stop when you feel a stretch in your hamstrings.
- Sit on a chair and place your legs straight out on another chair. Reach for your toes one leg at a time.
- Lie on your back, lift one leg, and lock the fingers of both hands under the hamstring of the lifted foot. Keep the leg as straight as possible, and slowly lift the leg until you feel tension (you should not feel discomfort, only tension). Hold for 10 to 20 seconds, then repeat with the other leg.
Lie on your back. Rest the ankle of the right leg over the knee of the left leg, and pull the left thigh toward your chest until you feel a stretch in the buttocks. Hold each stretch only until you feel the tension, then stop and repeat with the other leg.
Back Stretch or Modified Cobra
Lie on your stomach. Use your arms to push your upper body off the floor while keeping your pelvis flat on the floor. Hold for about 10 seconds. Repeat four or five times.
Lumbar rotation with flexed knees
Lie flat on your back with both knees together, legs bent and feet flat on the floor. Slowly rotate both knees toward the ground while keeping your back and feet on the floor. Once you feel the tension, hold the stretch for 10 to 20 seconds. Return to your starting position, and repeat on the opposite side.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Flatten your back while thrusting your lower pelvis upward. You’ll be tightening your stomach muscles and squeezing your buttocks together. Hold for 5 to 15 seconds, then relax and repeat three to five times.
Knees to chest
Lie flat on the floor with both legs straight. Lift one leg and bring it toward your chest until you feel tension. Hold the pose for 10 to 20 seconds. Repeat with the other leg.
Kneel on your right knee and place your left foot flat on the floor in front of you, keeping your torso upright. 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 to the other leg.
If you have lower back pain, it might be caused by misalignments in the spine. Misalignments in the spine – vertebrae that slip out of position – can interfere with the free flow of information between your nervous system and your brain. Chiropractic adjustments can correct the misalignments and restore communications between the various parts of your body and your brain.
In particular, Chiropractic Biophysics (CBP) – the most researched and results-oriented type of chiropractic care – can realign the spine back to its correct shape through a combination of adjustments, exercises, and spinal remodeling programs.
Symmetry Health Center is among only a handful of chiropractic care facilities in Oakland and Alameda, California, certified in CBP. Dr. Boyd and her chiropractic staff use state-of-the-art technology and equipment to diagnose and treat spinal conditions and postural distortions.
Contact us today to determine whether you are a candidate for care at one of our Symmetry Health Center locations in Oakland or Alameda.