One thing that sets chiropractors apart from other health care professionals is their holistic view of the body. Instead of dividing the body into its various systems and functions, the chiropractic profession views the body as a whole with each system being mutually dependent on the other. To accomplish this, our doctors at Wellness First not only address bony misalignments to ensure proper nervous system function, but also provide information on diet, exercise, and healthy living in general. This article will concentrate on various therapeutic exercises that you can incorporate into your care.
Have you ever stopped to think what you could be doing to assist your chiropractor with the care they are providing? After all, you only typically spend an hour or so of one day with your doctor at Wellness First. What are you doing the other 23 hours and on the days your not at the clinic? This time, if used properly, can greatly assist your care. In fact, it has been shown through various studies that therapeutic exercise can increase the benefit you receive from your adjustments as much as 25-45%. These benefits can include; quicker recovery time, less visits to the doctor, and a lower chance of the injury occurring again. The following are some therapeutic exercises that can be combined with the care that you receive at our Wellness First.
1. Partial Sit-Up
Since many people suffering from a recent back injury are limited in the number and types of exercises they perform, a partial sit-up can be a could starter. This exercise provides a lower level of stress and motion than what is involved with a full sit-up. This exercise will help increase the strength throughout your abdominal muscles and as a result remove some of the stress on your low back.
- Lie flat on your back on a firm surface with your knees and hips bent.
- Cross your arms across your chest as if you are giving yourself a hug.
- Now raise your neck and shoulders off the floor, avoiding lifting your hips and low back. 6-10 inches should provide enough elevation.
- Hold this position for five seconds per lift and than slowly return to the floor.
- When you first begin these exercises you may only be able to do five or 10 at a time. The overall goal should be to reach around 60 total partial sit-ups per day.
2. Hip Roll
Another good exercise to increase the strength of your abs, particularly the outer ones, is the hip roll. This exercise also involves a fairly low stress level.
- Lie flat on your back on a hard surface with your arms extended to your signs and your legs straight so that you form the letter T.
- Next, while keeping your knees close together bend them so that your feet are brought close to your buttocks.
- While holding this position, twist your abs and knees from side-to-side, attempting to form a 45 degree angle with the floor.
- Your shoulders and head should remain flat during this exercise.
- Hold each position 5-10 seconds, return to center, and then twist in the opposite direction and hold.
- This exercise should be performed for 10 repetitions, twice a day.
3. Lumbar Extension Exercise
This exercise is aimed at improving posture through the strengthening of the muscles that are responsible for keeping us positioned. Through this mechanism, this exercise has also been shown to provide benefit fro people suffering from sciatica.
- You will begin this exercise lying on your stomach with your legs straight and your arms down your sides towards your feet. Make sure that your toes are pointing down towards the floor.
- Once in this position, raise your chest and head off the floor without bending your neck back.
- Take a deep breathe in and hold while maintaing this position for 3-5 seconds
- Release this breathe while slowing returning to the floor and the starting position.
- This maneuver should be performed for 10 repetitions, twice a day.
Through providing strength and support throughout your entire abdominal core, the cat-camel has been described as one of the best exercises for providing relief of low back pain.
- The starting position for this exercise is on your hands and knees like a cat. Make sure that your knees are below your hips and your hands are directly below your shoulders.
- After getting into this position, tighten your abdominal muscles to engage them and prepare them for the exercise.
- The upward phase of this exercise resembles a startled cat. Take a breath in, while tucking your tail bone towards the floor and lifting your spine towards the ceiling. Hold this position for approximately ten seconds.
- After returning to neutral, using your core muscles, allow your stomach to move towards the floor increasing the arch in your low back. This position will be held for another 10 seconds before returning to neutral.
- This exercise should be perform for 8 repetitions, twice a day.
The superman exercise is a good way for a variety of people ranging from beginners to higher level exercises to begin to build both abdominal and low back strength.
- Begin by lying face down flat on the floor with your legs straight and your arms extended straight above your head.
- For starters, attempt to raise either one of your arms or one of your legs approximately 5 inches off the floor and hold for 8 seconds.
- As you become more familiar and comfortable with the exercise, begin to try to raise both hands or both feet off the floor.
- Finally, the most advanced stage involves lifting both hands and both feet simultaneously off the floor and holding.
- These exercise should be performed in sets of 10 repetitions, 3 times a day.
6. Double Leg Lifts
Unlike the other exercises, this exercise involves the use of an exercise ball. Wellness First has some of these balls on hand to show you exactly what you should use.
- To perform this exercise, place the exercise ball on a flat and stable surface.
- Lie on the ball with your stomach touching.
- Stabilize yourself with both hands touching the floor in front of you.
- Once stable, attempt to raise both feet and legs behind you until they are horizontal with the floor.
- Hold this position and repeat this exercise 10 times per set.
7. Spinal Rotation Exercise
This exercise is performed to increase motion throughout the spine while increasing the strength of the abdominal and low back musculature.
- Begin this exercise while sitting in a firm backed chair.
- Reach one arm across your chest as if you were pointing the opposite direction.
- Use this arm to grab ahold of the other side of the chair and rotate our lumbar and thoracic spine.
- Hold this position for approximately 25 seconds and repeat the other directions.
- This exercise should be performed for 5 repetitions per set and once daily.
8. External Shoulder Rotation
This exercise is designed for people with shoulder instability and weakness. It is also a good exercise to perform to help reduce the symptoms of frozen shoulder.
- Begin this exercise standing with the palms of your hands towards the ceiling. Make sure that you keep your upper arms close to your sides.
- Maintain this position, attempt to bring your hands backwards as if you were pinching your shoulder blades together.
- Hold this position for about 5-10 seconds and then return to neutral.
- This exercise should be performed for 10 repetitions per set, twice daily.
9. Lateral Deltoid Raise
This exercise has been shown to be beneficial for people suffering from shoulder pain, weakness, or loss of motion. The starting position for this exercise is particularly important.
- To begin, have your arms close to your legs with your palms facing in towards each other.
- Tighten your abdominal muscles and bend your knees slightly as if you were beginning to sit in a chair.
- Slowly and carefully raise your arms to the level of your shoulders, hold for 5 seconds, and return to the starting position.
10. Front Deltoid Raise
This exercise is useful for strengthening the front portion of your shoulders. While this is a good beginner exercise, only perform an exercise to the point where it is pain free.
- Begin the exercise standing, with your feet shoulder width apart.
- Place both of your arms in front of you with the palms on the front of your thighs.
- Just as with the lateral deltoid raise, tighten your abdominal muscles and bend your knees slightly as if you were beginning to sit in a chair.
- However, this time you are going to raise both arms out in front of you to the level of the shoulders, hold for 5 seconds, and return to your legs.
11. Exercise Ball Push-Ups
As mentioned earlier, your Wellness First has some of these balls on hand to show you exactly what you should use. This push up exercise has been shown to be useful in strengthening everything from your chest to your abs and even your upper arms. Be careful when performing this exercise because not only does it help with building strength, it also contributes to balance.
- To start this exercise, place the exercise ball underneath your stomach as you face the floor.
- Roll yourself forward placing both your hands on the floor until the exercise ball is beneath your shins.
- Keep your back straight as you position yourself for this exercise.
- Lower your upper body to the floor as if you were doing a normal push-up, hold for 3 seconds, than raise to starting position.
- Perform 10 repetitions per set, two times a day.
12. Side Bridge
Like many of the other exercises, this one is useful in strengthening both the back and abdominal musculature. This exercise is useful for beginners because it has multiple avenues to increase difficulty.
- Begin by lying on your side with your legs straight and stacked on top of one another.
- To start, make sure that your elbows are positioned directly below your shoulders, and rest your elbows on the floor.
- Once in this position, lift your hips towards the ceiling avoiding any rotation forward or backward.
- Return to the starting position and repeat.
- This exercise should be performed for 10 repetitions on each side, two times a day.
This exercise should be performed on a stability ball which has been shown to increase its effectiveness by nearly 35%. This maneuver is designed to target the abdominal musculature which results in less stress being placed on the spine.
- Begin this exercise with your back flat on the exercise ball and your hands on the back of your head. Your feet should be flat on the floor with your knees bent.
- While taking a deep breath in, contract the abs, and raise your shoulders up until you feel all of the musculature contract.
- Hold this position for 5 seconds and then return to neurtal.
- This exercise should be performed with 10 repetitions, twice daily.
14. Neck Flexion Exercise
Neck flexion exercises are useful for strengthening the muscles on the front of the neck and as a result improving posture.
- Begin by lying flat on your back with arms along your side and your legs straight.
- While keeping your chin tucked and avoiding protruding your chin forward, raise your head off the floor. Your shoulders shouldn’t leave the floor during this procedure.
- Hold this position for 10-20 seconds and then slowly and with control return to neutral.
- This exercise should be performed periodically throughout the day.
15. Neck Extension Exercise
This exercise is a good way to give relief to your neck musculature while sitting at a desk at work. As the muscles become stronger, the chance for injury is decreased. It is important to note that this exercise shouldn’t cause any dizziness, pain or loss of balance. If this occurs, contact your doctor at the Wellness First.
- While in the standing position, place your arms at your side and legs shoulder width apart.
- Bring your neck back so that you are looking at the ceiling.
- When assuming this position, make sure not to arch your back or bend your knees.
- Hold this position for 5 seconds and return
- Repeat this exercise periodically throughout the day.
16. Isometric Neck Strengthening Exercises
Many people have the misconception that the only way to gain strength is to lift weights. This group of exercise is a good way to gain extra strength while using your own resistance.
- While in the seated position, use your own hand to provide resistance as you attempt to flex your head forward.
- Hold this position for 7 minutes and then relax.
- Repeat the same procedure, each time placing your hands in a different position (behind the head and on both sides)
- This exercise should be repeated 3 or 4 times daily, with 5 repetitions per set.
This short list of therapeutic exercises has been put together to assist with the care that you receive at Wellness First in Midlothian. If you have any questions regarding how to perform these therapeutic exercises, contact our office before beginning. If you are performing these exercises, let your chiropractor know so that they can ensure that they are being done properly.
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