Remember….You Need to Stretch Too!

Posted on October 8th, 2010

Sometimes getting regular chiropractic adjustments aren’t enough.  Occasionally a person will experience pain that doesn’t stay away with an adjustment.  You might feel relief immediately after your adjustment but soon the pain returns.  One cause for this is tight or strained muscles.  And no matter how many adjustments you receive, they may not hold because your muscles are working against it.  Sometimes it is our own muscles that pull our bodies out of alignment.  And while an adjustment can alleviate the pain for a short while, the tight muscles may pull you right back out again.

An easy solution patients can do for themselves is to remember to stretch everyday.  It’s simple, but something that most people forget to do!  Stretch regularly even when you’re not experiencing pain.  Keeping your muscles limber and flexible is a good habit to have and will help you achieve optimum health.

To do effective and safe stretching you don’t need to go to the gym or have any special equipment.  In fact, most stretches are best done just with your own body.  We can help you with the proper ways to stretch, and can give you a set of exercises specific to your problem areas.

Here are three simple Yoga Stretches that help with tight low backs:

  • The Cat and Camel: This exercise helps to stretch all of the pelvic muscles and the lower back.  Start on your hands and knees.  Keep your hands just in front of your shoulders and your legs about hip width apart. As you inhale, tilt your tailbone and pelvis up, and let the spine curve downward, dropping your stomach low.  Lift your head up, gently stretching your chin towards the ceiling. Stretch gently. This position is the Camel stretch.  As you exhale, move into the Cat stretch by slowly arching your back towards the ceiling and tucking your head and tailbone down until you are looking between your arms. Tighten your stomach by imagining that you are pulling your belly button towards the ceiling.  Hold each pose for several seconds and repeat 10 times, flowing smoothly from camel into cat, and cat back into camel.

  • The Fish: Lie on your back and bend your knees, placing the bottom of your feet on the floor by your hips. Place your hands at your side, palms down and keep your chin up with the back of your head on the floor. Inhale and push your buttocks up slowly toward the ceiling as far as you can with your feet, hands and head remaining in the original position. Exhale and slowly lower your buttocks to the floor. Repeat 10 times.

  • The Corpse: This very simple exercise is great relaxation for your lower back. Lay flat on your back on the floor–don’t use a soft surface like a bed for this exercise.  Place your hands at your sides, palms up.  Close your eyes and breath deeply to relax the lower back muscles.  If this position causes you too much pain in your low back,  try bending your knees and placing the bottom of your feet on the floor to ease the tension in your back.  Relax your whole body, including your face, by imagining your muscles slowly melting into the floor.  To help with this, you can tighten, then relax, each body part individually, until you have done this with your whole body.  Start with your toes, then your calf muscles, your thighs, etc. When your whole body is relaxed, stay in this position for 5 – 10 minutes.  When you are done, wiggle your fingers and toes before you get up.  Gently awaken your body rather than jumping up.

Remember, don’t do any of these if they cause pain or discomfort–the stretch should feel good, not sore.

We all should play an active role in our own wellbeing.  Knowing we can speed along our healing process or help maintain our health and wellness is empowering!