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Chiropractic and exercise are the best for low back pain

Posted Jan 13 2010 3:38am

My chiropractic patients are always asking for exercises.  I tell them that exercising a crooked spine is like banging a bent nail.  You have to do both, chiropractic treatment and exercise.  You never know until you hurt it how much you use your lower back all day long. When your lower back is injured, every movement becomes painful. Simple actions, such as getting out of a chair or bending over the sink, become excruciating, and your daily routine becomes difficult and frustrating.
Back pain affects 60 to 80 percent of U.S. adults at some time during their lives, and up to 50 percent have  back pain within a given year. Some of these problems are easily treated and never return, but in five to ten percent of patients low back pain becomes chronic and the person continues to have recurrences.
Effective treatment of uncomplicated lower back pain involves treatment in a chiropractor’s office and beginning and continuing an exercise program. A recent study conducted by the Medical Research Council, a research organization based in the United Kingdom, has found that patients given a combination of spinal manipulation and exercise experienced greater improvement in back function and greater reduction in pain compared to those treated with spinal manipulation or exercise only. (British Medical Journal 2004 (Dec 11); 329 (7479))
In my Chiropractic office, most mechanical lower back pain is associated with tight leg muscles and weak abdominal muscles. Recently a patient of mine came in complaining of right buttocks pain. I checked to see the flexibility of his hamstrings and he could only raise his leg up 40 degrees. Of course we should be able to raise our leg to 90 degrees. I gave him some stretches and I am sure he will respond quickly. Leg muscles need to be stretched and abdominal muscles need to be strengthened to avoid recurrences of lower back pain. People are generally not aware of these relationships. You may know you “should be exercising”, but you may be unaware of the importance of stretching. Also, abdominal strengthening is usually the last thing a person thinks of when he or she thinks of doing exercise.
Abdominal strengthening helps support the lower back. Spinal muscles are not designed to carry your body weight. If your abdominal muscles are weak, then your back muscles will be used to carry your body weight, and eventually you’ll have a lower back injury. Abdominal strengthening not only helps keep your lower back healthy, but also helps maintain good posture. Postural benefits include an easy, relaxed gait; muscles that are long and supple, rather than short and tight; and an open chest that allows for easy, smooth breathing. Your body is a machine. Everything’s connected. A lower back problem affects many other areas, ultimately. By making sure to stretch regularly and by including abdominal exercises in your gym routine, you can help ensure having a lower back that works.

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