Therapeutic Exercises

therapeutic exercises for health

One thing that sets chiropractors apart from other health care professionals is their holistic view of the body. Instead of dividing the body into its various systems and functions, the chiropractic profession views the body as a whole with each system being mutually dependent on the other. To accomplish this, our doctors at Spring Lake Park Chiropractic not only address spine misalignments to ensure proper nervous system function, but also provide information on diet, exercise, and healthy living in general.  These therapeutic exercises can be incorporated into your care.


Therapeutic Exercises

What could you be doing to assist your chiropractor with the care they are providing?  It has been shown through various studies that therapeutic exercise can increase the benefit you receive from your adjustments as much as 25-45%. These benefits can include quicker recovery time, fewer visits to the doctor, and a lower chance of the injury occurring again. The following are some therapeutic exercises that can be combined with the care that you receive at our Spring Lake Park Chiropractic offices.  If you have any questions about these exercises or need modifications due to an underlying medical condition or injury, contact our office to discuss your specific circumstances further with one of our doctors.


1. Partial Sit-Up

Since many people suffering from a recent back injury are limited in the number and types of exercises they perform, a partial sit-up can be a good starter. This exercise provides a lower level of stress and motion than what is involved with a full sit-up. This exercise will help increase the strength throughout your abdominal muscles and as a result remove some of the stress on your low back.

  1. Lie flat on your back on a firm surface with your knees bent.
  2. Cross your arms across your chest.
  3. Raise your shoulder blades off the floor 2-5 inches, keeping your hips and low back flat on the floor and engaging your abdominal muscles.
  4. Hold this position up to 5 seconds and then slowly return to the floor. Keep breathing - do not hold your breath.
  5. When you first begin this exercise, start with 5-10 partial sit-ups. The overall goal should be to reach around 60 total partial sit-ups per day.

2. Hip Roll

The Hip Roll will increase your core strength, particularly the outer oblique muscles along your sides.

  1. Lie flat on your back on a hard surface with your arms extended out to the side with your legs straight so that you form the small letter “t’.
  2. While keeping your knees and ankles close together, bend your knees and pull your feet close to your buttocks.
  3. While holding this position, bring your knees to the right, attempting to touch the floor without lifting your shoulders from the floor. You can modify this exercise by placing a foam block on the floor under your knees.
  4. Your shoulders and head remain flat on the floor during this exercise.
  5. Hold for 5-10 seconds. Return to center. Repeat on opposite side.
  6. This exercise should be performed for 10 repetitions, twice a day.

3. Lumbar Extension Exercise

This exercise is aimed at improving posture through the strengthening of the muscles that are responsible for keeping us positioned. Through this mechanism, this exercise has also been shown to provide benefit for people suffering from sciatica.

  1. You will begin this exercise lying on your stomach with your legs straight, toes pointed and your arms down by your sides.
  2. Once in this position, raise your chest and head slightly off the floor without bending your neck back.
  3. Take a deep breath in and hold while maintaining this position for 3-5 seconds
  4. Release this breathe while slowing returning to the floor in the starting position.
  5. This maneuver can be performed for 10 repetitions, twice a day.

4. Cat-Cow Stretch

Cat-Cow is a gentle flow between two poses that warms the body and brings flexibility to the spine.  CAUTION:  Those with neck injuries should keep the head in line with the torso, not dropping the head forward or back.  The cat-cow has been described as one of the best exercises for providing relief of low back pain.

  1. The starting position for this exercise is on your hands and knees. Make sure that your knees are below your hips and your hands are directly below your shoulders.
  2. After getting into this position, engage your abdominal muscles by tightening the core muscles.
  3. The upward phase of this exercise resembles a startled cat. Take a breath in, while tucking your tail bone towards the floor, lift your spine towards the ceiling. Hold this position for approximately 5-10 seconds.
  4. After returning to neutral, using your core muscles, allow your stomach to move towards the floor increasing the arch in your low back. This position will be held for another 5-10 seconds before returning to neutral.
  5. This exercise should be performed for 8 repetitions, twice a day.

5. Superman

The superman exercise is a good way to build both abdominal and low back strength.

  1. Begin by lying face down flat on the floor with your legs straight and your arms extended straight above your head.
  2. Attempt to raise each arm or one leg, one at a time, approximately 2-5 inches off the floor, hold for up to 10 seconds and lower to the floor, repeat on each leg and arm.
  3. As you become more familiar and comfortable with the exercise, raise both hands or both feet off the floor at the same time
  4. The most advanced stage involves lifting both hands and both feet simultaneously off the floor, holding for up to 10 seconds.
  5. You can work up to 10 repetitions.

6. Double Leg Lifts

Unlike the other exercises, this exercise involves the use of an exercise ball.

  1. To perform this exercise, place the exercise ball on a flat and stable surface.
  2. Lie on the ball with your stomach touching.
  3. Stabilize yourself with both hands touching the floor in front of you.
  4. Once stable, attempt to raise both feet and legs behind you until they are horizontal with the floor.
  5. Hold this position and repeat this exercise 10 times per set.

7. Spinal Rotation Exercise

This exercise is performed to increase motion throughout the spine while increasing the strength of the abdominal and low back muscles.

  1. Begin by sitting in a firm backed chair.
  2. Reach one arm across your chest as if you were pointing the opposite direction.
  3. Use this arm to grab ahold of the other side of the chair and rotate your lumbar and thoracic spine.
  4. Hold this position for approximately 25 seconds and repeat on the other side.
  5. This exercise should be performed for 5 repetitions per set daily.

8. Plank (NOTE: Avoid if you have shoulder issues)

  1. Plant your hands on the floor, like you are about to do a push up (slightly wider than your shoulders). Modifications:  come down to your forearms making sure your elbows are directly below your shoulders)
  2. Ground your toes into the floor (tennis shoes will help you hold this position). For more stability bring your feet wider than hip-distance apart, and bring them closer for more challenge
  3. Keep a neutral neck and spine, maintaining a straight line from your heels through the top of your head, looking down with your gaze slightly in front of your face
  4. Tighten your abs, quads, glutes and hold this position.
  5. Start with small increments of time: 10 to 30 seconds. As you get stronger, build up to a minute or even two minutes.
  6. There are many modifications to a plank. As your doctor what is best for you before you attempt this exercise.

9. Side Plank (NOTE: Avoid if you have shoulder issues)

The side plank strengthens both the back and abdominal muscles.

  1. Begin by lying on your right side with your right forearm flat on the floor, elbow under your shoulder and both legs extended, legs stacked on top of one another, forming a straight line from your head to your heels (modification: staggered for more stability).
  2. Once in this position, engage your core and lift your hips off the floor toward the ceiling. Avoid any rotation forward or backward.
  3. Hold for 10-30 seconds and return to starting position Switch to other side and repeat.

10. ISOMETRIC NECK STRENGTHENING EXERCISES

To start, sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.  Relax your shoulders and keep your head in a neutral position throughout the entire exercise.    

  1. Press the palms of your hand against your forehead. Resist with your neck muscles.  Hold 3-5 seconds.   
  2. Do the exercise again pressing one palm on the side of your head. Switch sides.
  3. Do the exercise again, pressing both palms on the back of your head.
  4. Do the exercise again, pressing one palm on your right temple.  Switch sides.

This short list of therapeutic exercises has been put together to assist with the care that you receive at Spring Lake Park Chiropractic in Spring Lake Park and Woodbury. If you have any questions regarding how to perform these therapeutic exercises or what modifications can be incorporated, please contact our office before beginning. If you are performing these exercises, let your chiropractor know so that they can ensure that they are being done properly.