When it comes to low back stretches less is more. I don't mean that you as the patient should be stretching less, but that as your doctor I have to be careful not to overwhelm you with the amount of stretches that I prescribe. When I first started practicing I would give my low back pain patients on average 10-12 stretches specific for their problem and would follow up with a core exercise plan that they could eventually start once their current pain subsides. What I quickly learned was that sometimes the more I would give the less that would get done. Over the years I have scaled back the initial amount of stretches that I give to my patients to about 3-5. I still stress the importance of core strengthening and sometimes I will even demonstrate some beginner exercises to my patients (some days this is the only exercise I get).
When it comes to stretching we all want the most bang for our buck so to speak. Life is busy and if we have a 20-minute stretching routine that we are supposed to be doing 3 times a day guess what...more often than not it doesn't happen. So, after I demonstrate the 3 or so stretches for the patient, nowadays I follow up with "If you only have time to do one low back stretch this is the one you want to do" and I show them one stretch. The stretch is a hip flexor stretch. Tight hip flexors are one cause of chronic low back pain. People who spend most of their time seated during the day especially need to be doing this stretch.
If you have ever gotten up from a seated position and walked bunched over like an eighty-year-old (no offense to the eighty-year-olds), you would benefit by doing this stretch throughout the day. It is easy, takes about 20 seconds for both sides and is best done standing up. When you do this stretch you should feel it in the front of your hip and in your lower back. They say 21 days make a habit so for three weeks try this stretch...your back will thank you. If you have any questions regarding your back and whether or not chiropractic can help give Alexandria Chiropractic Center a call today atand ask to speak to Dr. Kevin E. Crowley.