We often get asked about adjuncts to proper chiropractic care and “low back pain exercises” are often brought up.  New Cycles, new seasons, and New Years usually get people inspired to work out. Exercising safely, while maintaining a healthy spine, is an important fundamental consideration. Since we are the only animals walking on two feet versus four, we have some special considerations to keep in mind. Gravity exerts more pressure on our spines and discs in an upright position so degeneration can happen more quickly unless we follow a few simple steps.

Core strength should be the first focus of any new exercise program. Even seasoned world-class athletes have to start with core strength before moving on to more challenging workouts. The first step to core strength and stability is proper spine movement. Start with a series of warm-ups called cat-cow.

Low Back Pain Exercises

Begin on your hands and knees at shoulder and hip width apart. Breathe out and arch your spine up in the air (like an angry cat). Breathe in and lower your spine into extension (like a happy cow). Repeat this for ten times in each position.

Low Back Pain Exercise

Next you want to elongate and stretch the spine and muscles that support it. This series of 4 stretches is called a Posture Pod and can be found here. Stand tall, feet shoulder width apart, belly braced, head up arms by your side.

  1. Breathe in raise both arms up over your head and reach strongly “high to the sky”. Hold for a 3-count, exhale and release arms to side. Feel the spine elongate. Repeat this for a total of 5 repetitions.
  2. Hold your arms up so your elbows are bent to 90 degrees and are in line with your shoulders at shoulder level (like when a robber says “Stick ‘em up”).  Circle your shoulders backwards for 10 seconds, pinching your shoulder blades together. Lean to one side then the other for 10 more seconds each. Feel the strength build in your shoulder blade muscles.
  3. Interlock your fingers and put your hands behind your head (like you’re being arrested). Push your head firmly into your hands as you spread your elbows way back. Hold for a count of 3, then relax. Do 5 repetitions. Feel the front stretch in the chest muscles.
  4. Drop your chin to your chest. Rub the meaty muscle between your neck and left shoulder with your right hand. Squeeze and rub as you relax the neck. Same for the other side.

You have just increased flexibility in your spine and started to stretch the muscles that are usually tight, while strengthening muscles that are typically loose. Warming your body up in this way every day, whether you’re heading to the gym or not, will help move your spine and nerve system in a healthy direction.