Category Archives: chiropractic conditions

Exercise for Lower Back Pain

Previously, we provided reasons about why exercise is important for lower back pain. Knowing that exercise is important is half the battle—the other half is doing the right exercises. Here are some exercises you can do at home to relieve lower back pain between chiropractic treatments.

Safe Exercise Tips

Exercising is sound advice for lower back pain in many cases, but not every type of exercise activity is helpful, and may even be harmful. To avoid injury, pay close attention to these important two facts related to exercises for lower back pain:

  1. Never work out through pain. If you experience more than mild discomfort while exercising or if any discomfort lasts longer than 10 minutes during activity, stop what you’re doing and notify your healthcare provider.
  2. Not all activities are appropriate for lower back pain. Some forms of exercise can make pain worse and can even lead to injury because of the amount of stress or “load” they place on the spinal discs and ligaments.

Even though Redondo Beach has much to offer when it comes to outdoor options for exercise, some people are more comfortable indoors. Many strengthening activities that focus on core muscle groups that support your spine can be done inside. These can be especially important for managing lower back pain. 

Simple Exercises for Lower Back Pain

It’s critical to know what types of movement are safe for your back and which ones are not. 

Modified Crunches to strengthen your lower back

One exercise people with lower back pain should avoid is “crunches.” Crunches place a tremendous amount of pressure on the structures of the lower spine. If you have lower back pain, you can strengthen your core abdominal and back muscles, and relieve pain safely by doing modified crunches instead.

Starting Position: Lie on your back on an exercise mat or carpeted floor. Both of your legs are bent at the knees; the soles of your feet are flat on the floor.

  • Cross your arms, one over the other, on top of your chest.
  • Slowly take a deep breath in and tighten the muscles of your abdomen.
  • As you exhale, lift your shoulders off your mat or the floor
  • Be careful to keep your tailbone and low back on the floor, and avoid using your arms or elbows to lift your head and shoulders up.
  • Hold this position of tension for a count of 3 to 5 before returning to the starting position.
  • Rest briefly and repeat 8 to 10 times

Hamstring Stretch to ease lower back pain

Another exercise that can help strengthen your lower back muscles, as well as the strong supportive muscles of your legs, is the hamstring stretch. Try it every other day to ease pain and muscle spasms and to build core strength.

Starting Position: Sit on an exercise mat or on a carpeted floor. Both of your legs are extended out in front of you, toes pointing up. Keep your back straight.

  • Bend your right knee and let it fall to the side, bringing your right foot leg toward you, until the bottom of your right foot is against the inside of your left leg. Keep your left leg straight, toes pointing toward the ceiling.
  • Keeping your back straight, bend slowly forward from your waist.
  • Bring your chest toward your left knee. Be careful not to jerk or bounce.
  • You won’t need to bend far before you feel tension behind your knee, in the hamstring muscle. Stop stretching when you feel this tightness.
  • While slowly breathing in and out, hold the stretch at this point for a count of 10.
  • Slowly sit back and relax.
  • Repeat the stretch with the right leg.

Side Stretch to ease lower back painside stretch for lower back pain

When relieving lower back pain, it’s important to focus on all areas of teh lower back, including the sides of the back. Obliques, the muscles on the sides of the back, can hold tension and cause pain. Stretching these muscles can help ease lower back pain.

Strarting position: Sit on the floor with your legs crossed (see photo). 

  • Place your right hand on the floor behind you.
  • Reach your left arm up and over to the right.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat with the left hand down and the right arm up. 
  • Repeat 3 times on each side.

Knee to Chest Stretch to strengthen and ease lower back pain

Another exercise that will help stretch your back is a knee to chest exercise.

Strarting position: Lie on your back with your knees bent. Feet should be flat on the floor. 

  • Keeping one foot flat on the floor, bring one knee up to your chest.
  • If you can, hold the knee with your hands.
  • Press your lower back into the floor and hold the stretch for 30 seconds.
  • Lower the knee and repeat with the other leg.
  • Repeat 3 times for each leg.

Lower back pain is sometimes caused by other serious medical conditions, so be sure to check with your chiropractor, naturopathic doctor, or physical therapist before beginning any new exercise or activity to make sure it’s safe and appropriate for you.

Chiropractic Treatment for Tension Headaches

If you often suffer from a tension headache, you might be surprised to learn that these are sometimes called “normal” headaches. What?! Pain is your head is not normal! Tension-type or stress headaches are common, though, which may be why words like ordinary, usual, and common are often used to describe them. Throughout the world, in both Western and Eastern populations, in developing and in well-developed countries, the prevalence of tension headaches is high. Researchers tell us that over 85% of women and 60% of men suffer a tension headache at least once a year, and up to 5% of the world’s population experience chronic tension headaches, which occur, on average, at least 15 times per month.

What are tension headaches?chiropractic treatment for tension headaches

Tension headaches are known as “primary headaches.” This means they are not caused by another medical problem. Even though they are often extremely painful, these headaches are not associated with diseases of the brain. Tension headaches are commonly mistaken for migraine headaches, but the two are different. 

The brain itself cannot feel pain. It receives information about pain located in the head and neck through the trigeminal nerve. Headache pain occurs when the ends of nerve fibers are “turned on” or react to triggers and send signals through the trigeminal nerve to the brain. The brain picks up these signals in the thalamus. The thalamus sends pain messages from all over the body, to other parts of the brain that control our awareness of pain and manage how we emotionally respond to it.

The exact cause of tension headaches has not been discovered, but certain factors seem to be associated with their development. These include:

  • Changes in the way nerves located in the head, neck, and shoulders interpret pain signals.
  • Changes in the way the brain translates the pain signals from the head, neck, and shoulders.
  • Tension in the shoulder and neck muscles may also play a significant role in the way these headaches develop.

Remedies for tension headaches

For many people, the most obvious treatment for a tension headache is a mild pain reliever, like aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen. These drugs are available without a prescription and they are usually effective in the treatment of mild to moderate pain. If you are looking for a safe and effective remedy for tension headaches, keep these facts about over-the-counter pain medicines in mind:

  • Overusing these medications can result in “rebound” headaches.
  • The use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, like aspirin, naproxen, and ibuprofen is not recommended for some people due to an increased risk of bleeding or gastrointestinal irritation.
  • Not all people should take acetaminophen due to the potential for liver damage.

Strategies other than medications for relieving painful symptoms include:

  • Chiropractic treatment. Upper cervical spinal adjustments may relieve tension in the neck that causes headaches.
  • Rest. Taking a break to lie down and simply relax in a quiet, dark room can sometimes relieve the tension that caused your headache.  
  • Mild heat. Warm moist packs to your shoulders and neck can help muscles relax and increase blood flow to the brain. If your headache is not accompanied by dizziness, try soaking in a warm bath, or take a hot shower.
  • Cold packs. Coldcompresses are sometimes more soothing than heat. Wrap an ice pack or a package of frozen vegetables in a thin towel and place it on your shoulders or behind your neck.This can be especially helpful following an upper cervical chiropractic adjustment.

Can a chiropractor help with tension headaches?

The goals of chiropractic treatment for chronic tension headaches focus not only on relieving pain when it occurs but also on preventing pain from returning. Rresearch has shown that chiropractic treatment may not only help relieve tension headaches, the benefits chiropractor treatment tension headache redondo beachof treatment last longer than traditional treatment using medication. 

This is especially true related to tension headaches that start in the neck. Upper cervical chiropractic adjustments can provide lasting benefits, rather than prescribing a short-term remedy that only covers up the underlying problem. 

Chiropractic treatment for tension headaches typically begins with your doctor determining the location of cervical vertebrae that are misaligned. Upper cervical chiropractic adjustment involves the application of very gentle pressure.

Upper cervical chiropractic adjustment helps tension headaches by:

  • Re-establishing alignment, especially of the upper cervical region
  • Increasing movement and mobility in your neck and shoulder region
  • Decreasing inflammation that can lead to chronic tension headaches
  • Decreasing muscle spasms often caused by cervical misalignment

Chronic tension headache treatment

Preventative chiropractic treatment for tension headaches can help keep them from returning. 

Your chiropractor will work with you to plan treatment to:

  • Correct your posture
  • Makes postural adjustments as needed
  • Includes a program to strengthen your cervical muscles
  • Performs upper cervical chiropractic adjustments when needed
  • Addresses potential trigger points in muscle fascia that may be contributing to chronic tension headaches

Preventing tension headaches

Your body is made up of a complex system of bones, muscles, and nerves. When your cervical vertebrae are in alignment and your muscles are strong to support them, your blood flow improves, your nerves stay healthy, and pain and inflammation decrease. Tension headaches are not normal, and you don’t have to live with them.

With your chiropractor’s help, you find a new normal way to live! If you suffer from chronic or frequent tension headaches, contact your chiropractor to schedule an appointment to set up a treatment plan for preventing tension headaches and living a pain-free, drug-free life! ‚Äč

Why Exercise is Important for Lower Back Pain

When you have lower back pain, the last thing you might expect your chiropractor to advise is exercise. But moderate exercise is very important for relieving and preventing lower back pain. 

Exercise helps build up the core muscles in the body that support the spine. If the muscles surrounding the spine are strong, the spine will be more flexible and less prone to pain. Exercise also helps increase flexibility in the body through both the muscles and the spine. In fact, a lack of movement or flexibility in the spine is often the worst thing for lower back pain. Exercise helps to lubricate the discs of the spine so that your body can bend and move easily and painlessly.

Is it safe to exercise with lower back pain?walking lower back pain

Muscle Pain

When pain is due to a muscle strain, like stretching too far or lifting too much weight, resting for a few days to let the inflammation subside is often a good idea. But extended rest can result in muscle weakness and join inflexbility leading to even more pain and other possible complications.

In most cases of muscle strain, usual activities should be resumed within 24 to 48 hours following injury, and movement typically relieves pain and muscle spasms. If you’re in a lot of pain, physical therapy or massage may be a good option for muscle strain.

Spinal Pain

Conditions other than muscle injuries can lead to lower back pain. These conditions are often the reason patients seek chiropractic treatment. If you’re suffering from lower back pain due to these conditions, then exercise, rather than rest, in addition to chiropractic treatment can help relieve pain. Exercise in this case, helps increase spinal mobility and strengthens the muscles around the spine.

Your chiropractor or naturopathic doctor may recommend core-strengthening exercises, in addition to chiropractic adjustment, for conditions like:

  •          Osteoarthritis
  •          Degenerative disc disease
  •          Herniated discs
  •          Fibromyalgia
  •          Piriformis Syndrome
  •          Lumbar lordosis

If your physical therapist or chiropractor has recommended exercise for your lower back pain, but it’s hard to get motivated, try looking outside the gym or fitness club. Some of the best exercise doesn’t feel like exercise at all!

Back-friendly exercise in Redondo Beachexercise lower back pain walk on beach

For Redondo Beach locals, there are plenty of exercise, pilates, and yoga studios where you can take classes that are good for strengthening your core and easing lower back pain, in addition to chiropractic treatment.

When the weather is nice, as it is most of the year, check out these outdoor exercise options:

  •          Biking: Bike along the Strand in Redondo Beach. Points of interest include the harbor, the Redondo Beach Esplanade, Torrance Beach, Hermosa Beach, and Manhattan Beach. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can even bike to Venice Beach or Santa Monica.
  •          Hiking or walking: In additon to biking, you can also walk along the Strand and the Redondo Beach Boardwalk or check out the Hopkins Wilderness Park for hiking. 
  •          Beach Yoga: Yoga has long been known to relieve lower back pain and muscle spasms. Beach yoga classes are offered in Redondo Beach and the surrounding areas.
  •          Swimming or surfing: Exercising in the water is safe for almost all back pain sufferers. It can relieve your lower back pain while improving your cardiovascular system.  

Lower back pain is sometimes caused by other serious medical conditions, so be sure to check with your chiropractor, naturopathic doctor, or physical therapist before beginning any new exercise or activity to make sure it’s safe and appropriate for you.

Can a Chiropractor Help with Sciatica?

Sciatic nerve pain, referred to as sciatica, is pain that originates in the lower back or buttocks and travels down one or both of the legs. If you suffer from lower back pain traveling down your leg, it may be from compression of the sciatic nerve.

What are the symptoms of sciatica?

Sciatica usually affects only one side of the body and is caused by an irritation of the roots of the lower lumbar and sacral spine.lower back pain driving redondo beach

Sciatic nerve pain is characterized by: 

• Lower back or buttock pain traveling down your leg 
• Pain that is worse when sitting 
• Constant pain on one side of the buttock 
• Burning, numbness, or tingling in the back of the leg 
• Shooting pain down the back of the leg

Treatment options for sciatica vary by patient, based on the cause of pain. Treatment options include chiropractic adjustment, massage, physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, medical imaging, injection, and surgery.

Sciatica pain varies from patient to patient. Sciatica pain can occur intermittently, during prolonged periods of sitting, upon standing, or constantly. Sciatic nerve pain is commonly seen in patients with pre-existing back conditions, such as a herniated disc, who are already being treated with chiropractic care. Many sufferers of sciatic find relief in chiropractic treatment. 

It is essential to determine the cause of sciatic nerve pain before establishing a treatment plan to treat and potentially cure sciatic nerve pain. Chiropractors can diagnose and treat sciatica by performing a physical examination of the patient. In some cases an x-ray or MRI may be ordered to ensure proper treatment. Once the root cause of the pain is established, a chiropractor will establish a treatment plan to relieve the compression of the sciatic nerve that is causing pain.

Chiropractic Treatment for Sciatica

Chiropractic treatment of sciatica is a non-invasive approach to pain relief from sciatic nerve pain. Chiropractic care focuses on alleviating the pain and discomfort caused by spinal restriction by increasing movement in the spine and surrounding areas. Chiropractic treatment for sciatica includes sciatic chiropractic adjustment in addition to other drug-free non-invasive treatments including massage, active release techniques, ice therapy, and ultrasound. The vast majority of the time, sciatic pain can be relieved through a combination of stretches, deep tissue massage of the piriformis muscle and chiropractic adjustment.

Chiropractic treatment for sciatica focuses on increasing movement, strength, and flexibility in the spine. Many chiropractors use massage or physical therapy to ease muscle tightness and soreness, which can pull the spine out of its natural position. Both massage and physical therapy work to reduce muscle tension and increase muscle strength to restore proper spinal alignment. Your chiropractor may suggest at-home exercises and stretches for you to do on your own between chiropractic appointments.

Sciatica Chiropractic Adjustment

Sciatica chiropractic adjustment is a physical manipulation of the spine. During a sciatic chiropractic adjustment, the misaligned vertebrae compressing the sciatic nerve are realigned to their proper position in the spine. The physical manipulation of this adjustment increases space between the spine and the sciatic nerve, decreasing the compression, spasms, and inflammation that cause sciatica. Chiropractic treatment is the only treatment option in which the spine is manually realigned by a certified medical professional. 

Spinal adjustments are not painful. In fact, many patients report relief after their first appointment. The manipulation of a sciatica chiropractic adjustment varies by patient and may include swift “cracking” movements to realign the vertebrae, drop table technique, stretching, and massage to release muscle tension. Since the body is constantly in motion, a series of sciatica chiropractic adjustments is usually necessary to fully treat and relieve sciatica pain. 

If you’re suffering from sciatic nerve pain or you think your symptoms are fit the description of sciatica, you don’t have to live in pain. Make an appointment with your chiropractor for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan today.