Stretches & Exercises To Relieve Low Back Pain

The right exercises can help …the wrong exercise can make things worse

Exercises are often very helpful in easing back and neck pain. When muscles are tight and stiff they shorten.  This causes muscles to pull on their attachment points and shift alignment and joint function.  When this series of events occur, people “feel it”.   When the pain or stiffness is present and you try to do something like put on your socks and you can’t “reach”, stretching may help.  It’s also possible exercises or stretching may hurt, so please be careful and do not take this as personal advice if you are in severe pain. If you have a personal relationship with our office please ask Dr. Coleman before starting any exercises.

Example: Severe Low Back (or Neck) Pain with Radiation Down Legs (or Arms)

What do you do?  Most people suffering like this think “it’s muscular…I should stretch”.  Maybe and probably true.  In a large percentage of chiropractic offices there is a missing piece of the puzzle to resolve back pain. Often, chiropractors are hyper focused on the spine wanting to make “adjustments” at a time when adjustments are the most difficult and challenging for the patients to tolerate.  Patients are fearful that they can’t move or bend, and they are worried they are going to “hurt worse” if the chiropractor works them over.  And, a chiropractor who is passionate and skilled about helping people may become upset because they feel their patient does not trust them.  Whoa…hold on and let’s slow down!

This is a real scenario that happens often. Let’s get back to what’s really important: making the most impact to help someone feel better in a time of crisis.  In Dr. Coleman’s opinion, your doctor needs to listen and really understand your fear and concern. A skilled chiropractor should have several ways to accomplish the task of controlling pain by using a variety of treatment techniques, tools and equipment.

Often it’s more effective and appropriate to treat with first-aid measures first. Ease pain with a focus on getting muscles to relax and lengthen, and ease inflammation and nerve irritation. Exercises and stretching methods usually help too depending on severity, and the source of pain. Improving elasticity and flexibility is exactly what is necessary for patients to get feeling better.

If in acute pain, passive stretching not exercise is better.

Low back pain is reduced when bending forward (flexion).

Lay on your back with knees bent 90 degrees. One knee at a time, with both hands on one knee, bring your knee gently to your chest and count to 5.  If you feel pain, back off how far the knees are to your chest.  After 5 seconds, lower you knee and repeat 10-12 times to complete 1 set. Switch knees. Complete 2-4 sets to your tolerance several times each day. Then try both knees at the same time.

Low back pain is reduced when extending backwards (extension)

On stomach, press up on the elbows, then the hands. Keep pelvis on the floor.

Hold for a count of 5 seconds and repeat 8-12 repetitions.  Do 2-3 sets.

Pain syndromes of the head, neck, back and extremities (leg, arm, shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee and elbow) frequently require expert attention. Back pain can be caused from many different sources.  Your chiropractor is skilled in being able to differentiate the source of pain by doing a complete examination and review of past health history.  Imaging studies may be necessary and include x-ray or MRI/CT scan. Getting yourself in front of the right doctor can make all the difference in your recovery.  Doing the most appropriate and effective treatment scores the most points in creating a solution for patient recovery.


Dr. Gil Coleman is a chiropractor in Fort Collins Colorado and has been in practice for 24 years. He has extensive training in pain management, sports injuries, and rehabilitation and has a passion for helping people solve challenging back and spinal problems.

Frustrated with back pain pain that will not go away?
Disappointed you can not do the activities you love call us.

Call our Fort Collins back pain relief center at 970-493-3100 and schedule an appointment today. We offer a complimentary 20-minute consultation including free x-ray/MRI review to determine if we can help you. Sit down with Dr. Gil and see how you feel working together. No strings, No pressure. No charge. Simply our experience working to help you.

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