Based on simple statistics, we’ve ALL had (or at least will have) some form of low back pain (LBP) at some point in our lives. The term “chronic” applies to LBP that’s been present for at least three months. It has been consistently reported that LBP becomes increasingly difficult to resolve when it persists for three or more months. This month’s topic is about which exercises have been found to BEST address chronic low back pain (cLBP).
Many studies have investigated the effects of stabilization exercises in patients with chronic low back pain. In a review of six recently published studies that followed patients over a four to sixteen week time frame, investigators noted that participants who engaged in exercise (the use of a Swiss ball, floor or “land-based” exercises, sling exercises with some focusing on the abdominal muscles while others looked the extensors) reported improvements in pain and disability that were not seen among those in the non-exercise control groups. Additionally, one study also looked at changes in bone density between both groups and found increased bone density in the exercise group and a reduction in bone density among participants who refrained from exercise. Another study reported waist isometric strength increases in their exercise group.
One study found the cross section of the multifidus (MF) muscles—the deep low back, fine motor muscle groups that is considered to be one of the most important targets for low back strengthening—significantly increased after eight weeks of exercise. Another study observed the same effect for the deep transverse abdominis muscles.
These and other studies clearly show that core stabilization exercises can improve pain and disability scores in patients with cLBP, while those who do not exercise do not improve and in fact, may actually worsen! So, what are core stabilization exercises?
Here are some Swiss ball options (try 5-10 times and increase reps/hold times as you improve your strength):
There are MANY other Swiss ball exercises, but these are some good ones to start with.
Before performing any of the following exercises for neck pain, make sure to consult a doctor or physician to see if you can perform them.
For many of us struggling with neck pain, whether from a car accident or just sleeping on it wrong, finding the right way to manage the pain can be difficult. Recent research has shown that chiropractic care with rehabilitation exercises is the best combination to manage pain and help alleviate symptoms. The following exercises are a good way to help maintain strength of the neck musculature.
Isometric neck exercises are a great way to help maintain strength. Perform the following exercises 2 times a side and hold for 30 seconds. Do not perform if pain occurs. To perform exercise place hand against head. Use hand to resist as head pushes against hand. Do in each direction as demonstrated below.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is the leading cause of numbness to the middle three fingers and thumb and affects millions of Americans each year. There are MANY potential causes of CTS, and these causes can be unclear or multi-factorial. let’s look at what YOU can do for CTS.
“Self-help” concepts are VERY important as they empower YOU to gain control of your condition’s signs and symptoms, thus placing less reliance on those of us who manage (in this case) CTS. There is a time for “PRICE” or, Protect, Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate, such as when most activities make symptoms worse. This is the time for splinting, reducing activities of daily living (which sometimes includes work restrictions), and the use of ice cupping or massage. Patients should initiate movement or exercise-based approaches as soon as such activities can be tolerated. Here are four different exercises you can do:
Do these on each side two to three times each (even the “good” side) EVERY HOUR (or as often as possible). Think about what you do on a daily basis and if you work in a repetitive manner (on the job or a hobby at home), try to do these exercises DURING THE REPETITIVE ACTIVITY to help keep your symptoms from getting out of control. If you can alter the position or speed of a work or avocational activity, do so for long-term prevention purposes!
If you cannot gain control of your CTS condition, you may need additional treatment options of which chiropractic offers a safe, non-surgical approach.