Five Ways to Prevent Lower Back Pain

Picture of woman at desk with lower back painLower back pain is the most common musculoskeletal complaint among chiropractic patients. There are many causes of lower back pain, and it can often be hard to treat. Chiropractic is a conservative treatment option that focuses on identifying the root cause of your symptoms to relieve pain and improve function. Below I discuss five simple ways to reduce your risk of lower back pain:

Diaphragmatic Breathing

A majority of people—especially those who sit at a desk all day—are chest breathers. A simple solution to correct this (and begin breathing into your stomach) is to lie on your back with your hands on your stomach. Focus on expanding and contracting the belly. It may not look sexy, but it will lead to proper lumbar spine support, reducing your risk of lower back pain.

Core Stabilization Exercises

Core stabilization helps strengthen the muscles surrounding the back and abdomen—the core or powerhouse muscles that help support the body’s daily movement. Strengthening these muscles can take pressure off the lower back, as well as decrease wear and tear on the joints of the hip and lower back. Some basic core stabilization exercises include forearm planks, side planks or other exercises that require you to hold a solid position for up to 20 seconds. The length of each exercise will vary based on your individual fitness ability.

Hip Mobility Exercises

Prolonged sitting can cause limited range of motion in the hips due to shortening of the tissues around the hip joints. This can cause the muscles in the lower back to overcompensate, resulting in lower back pain. To combat this issue, it is crucial you stretch the tissue around the hips and do hip mobilization drills to increase range of motion. The classic butterfly stretch and pigeon pose are two great examples that can help open the hips and take pressure off the overworked tissues of the lower back.

Thoracic Spine Mobility

The spine functions and moves as one unit, sharing motion across all spinal segments from head to toe. If the thoracic spine decreases its range of motion—which commonly happens with prolonged sitting—the lumbar spine will overcompensate by increasing motion, putting stress on the tissues of the low back. This can also cause rounded shoulders and make it hard to raise your arms above your head. Spine mobility drills, such as those that combine rotation with extension are great for targeting the thoracic spine and reducing lower back pain.

Ergonomic Support

Good posture, such as sitting up tall and not slouching over your desk can decrease pressure on the lower back. Also, lying with your back on a foam roller can help support the natural curve of the spine, reducing tension in the back. In addition, getting up every 20-40 minutes, doing back bends and walking for 10 minutes around your workplace can also reduce your risk of lower back pain.

Contact us for more information about lower back pain and the right course of treatment.

What Should You Expect Before Your First Visit to a Chiropractor

Picture of new patientIf you’ve decided to visit a chiropractor for the first time, there is a good chance you have questions about what to expect. Below, I discuss what you can anticipate during your first visit to a chiropractor.

During your first appointment, your chiropractor will perform a thorough examination, which will include the following:

Patient history questionnaire

  • Physical assessment
  • Diagnostic tests
  • Treatment plan

As part of your patient history assessment, you will be asked to provide information about your symptoms and conditions. Questions may include:

  • When did your pain or condition start?
  • Where is the pain located?
  • Does anything improve or worsen the pain?

It is also recommended that new patients bring in any previous X-ray, MRI, or lab results. Depending on your condition, your chiropractor may request additional diagnostic imaging or lab studies to better address your needs.

During your physical examination, your chiropractor will evaluate your condition and develop a working treatment plan. This includes checking vital signs like height, weight, blood pressure, pulse and respiration, as well as range of motion, muscle tone, strength, posture and movement.

The initial examination will typically conclude with a series of chiropractic services, including spinal/joint manipulation, soft tissue therapy, Active Release Technique (ART) and/or rehabilitative exercises. Your chiropractor may send you home with some additional exercises to do on your own. It is important you perform these exercises in order to achieve optimal results and regain full function. Depending on your diagnosis, you should expect to come back for a follow-up appointment within 1-2 weeks of your initial exam.

To learn more about chiropractic care at Pottawattamie County Sports & Family Chiropractic or to schedule an appointment, please contact us.

Pottawattamie County Sports & Family Chiropractic provides convenient chiropractic care for patients in Council Bluffs, Oakland, Avoca and the surrounding areas. We accept most major insurance plans, including auto accident and workers’ compensation. We specialize in chiropractic manipulation, functional medicine, soft tissue therapy, mobilization and nutritional counseling. From pregnant mothers to weekend warriors and even star athletes, we provide a personalized approach to meet each patient’s unique needs.