Self-Care of the Low Back, Part 2

by | Aug 29, 2016 | Low Back Health | 0 comments

Putting the McKenzie principles to work for you

Important note: this article suggests some self-care strategies for low back pain. Many cases of low back pain can’t be effectively addressed using self-care strategies. I’ve never examined you and I have no idea what the nature of your condition is. The information I’m providing is for educational purposes only; common sense dictates that the diagnosis or treatment of any condition should only be handled by your personal healthcare practitioner.

Please review Part 1 of this article before putting into practice any of the strategies suggested here.

Simple spinal extension

Since Robin McKenzie believes that the majority of people find relief with a variation of spinal extension, try it first.

 

Begin with a very simple version. Simply like face down on a firm surface for about 30 to 60 seconds. Even if it seems uncomfortable at first, stay with the position for a little while to see if your body can settle comfortably into it.

After 30 to 60 seconds, reassess your pain –

  • Has it diminished or centralized?
  • Is there no change?
  • Has it gotten worse?

If your pain has diminished or centralized, continue to use the basic rest position of lying face down to give yourself pain relief throughout the day. As your condition improves, you can gradually introduce variations of spine extension that use a wider range of motion.

If there’s been no change, try a more advanced version of spine extension to see if that works for you. See below.

If your pain has gotten worse, it could be that spine extension is not for you. Instead, try a simple version of spine flexion.

Simple spinal flexion

 

Lie on your back, hug both knees to your chest, and make sure that you create enough leverage to actually curl your low back off the floor as depicted here.

After 30 to 60 seconds, reassess your pain –

  • Has it diminished or centralized?
  • Is there no change?
  • Has it gotten worse?

If your pain has diminished or centralized, continue to use the basic motion of flexion to give yourself pain relief throughout the day. As your condition improves, you can gradually introduce variations of spine flexion that use a wider range of motion.

If there’s been no change, try a more advanced version of spine flexion to see if that works for you. See below.

If your pain has gotten worse, it could be that spine flexion is not for you. You may have a more complex low back pain variant that doesn’t respond to these simple spinal movements.

More advanced spine extension exercise

 

Only try this

  • if you’ve gotten some relief from basic spine extension (face-down lying) and are ready to progress to a more challenging version; or,
  • if your trial of simple face-down lying resulted in no change in your condition.

Lie face down on the floor (or even your bed), lift your upper body, and rest your weight on your elbows.  Your low back will sag gently down into extension.  Hold the position for about thirty seconds, then lower your body.  If that feels right to you, repeat it again for another thirty seconds.  Try three or four 30-second cycles, then assess your progress.

If the movement helps to diminish or centralize your pain, you can continue to use it throughout the day to achieve relief.

More advanced spine flexion exercise

 

Only try this

  • if you’ve gotten some relief from basic spine flexion (lying on your back, hugging your legs) and are ready to progress to a more challenging version; or,
  • if your trial of simple flexion motion resulted in no change in your condition.

Using your abdominal muscles to initiate the movement, curl both your head and tail into a curve, lifting the lower back and creating spine flexion.

If the movement helps to diminish or centralize your pain, you can continue to use it throughout the day to achieve relief.

Beyond self-care

Your doctor of chiropractic is also ready to help.  Call Dr. Lavine at 212-400-9663 or 609-497-1944 for further information or to schedule an appointment.

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Deepen Your Body of Knowledge

Self-care of the low back, Part 1

If bending backward hurts your back

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