If you’re one of the 23% of adults who suffer from chronic low back pain, your impulse might be to focus on exercises that strengthen your back to relieve pain. However, many people don’t realize that core-strengthening exercises are just as crucial!
Because your core muscles support your back and help with stability, a weak core can cause you to rely on the muscles of your back too much. This, in turn, can cause pain and misalignment.
That’s where the right chiropractic exercises come in. The proper movements can stabilize your back, aid with balance, improve your flexibility, and even support good posture.
If you’re ready to get a stronger core and a healthier back, read on!
1. Bird Dog
This classic exercise can strengthen both your core and your lumbar back. It’s also great for improving your stability and balance.
To do the bird dog exercise, get into a “tabletop position” on your hands and knees. Your hands should be under your shoulders, and your knees should be under your hips.
Engage your core muscles. Beginners may find this tricky, but the best core exercise tip is to brace the muscles around your stomach. When just starting, these muscles are often easier to single out when exhaling.
Raise and straighten your left arm and your right leg. Both limbs should be aligned with your torso, creating a straight line from your raised hand to your raised foot. Be careful not to arch your back.
Hold this position for three to five seconds, then lower your arm and leg and relax. Repeat these strengthening exercises on the other side of your body. Do around ten repetitions on each side of your body.
2. Glute Bridge
The glutes are a crucial part of your core muscles, and this exercise provides an excellent workout for them. It also strengthens the abdominal muscles.
To do a glute bridge, lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Your feet should be hip-width apart. Keep your hands at your sides.
Engage your core and your glutes, raising your hips off the floor. The goal is for your body to create a straight line from your knees to your chest. Be careful not to overextend your back, curving your spine.
Hold this position for between 10 and 15 seconds. Lower your hips back to the floor in a slow, controlled manner. Do 15 repetitions of this exercise.
3. Dead Bug
This exercise is an excellent choice if you’re trying to get a strong core and improve your core and hip stability. The dead bug works the ab muscles in addition to the hip flexors.
To do the dead bug exercise, lie on your back. Engage your core and move your arms and legs into “tabletop position,” but do so upside down: your arms should extend up in a straight line, and your legs should be raised and bent at a 90-degree angle. This is the starting position.
Extend your left leg out and toward the ground while straightening it, but do not rest it on the ground. At the same time, move your right arm overhead toward the floor without resting it. Your lowered arm and leg should create a straight line from your hand through your torso to your foot.
With slow, controlled movements, return to the position you started with. Repeat the exercise with the opposite arm and leg. Do 10-20 repetitions per side.
4. Forearm Plank
Planks are quintessential core exercises that you’ll see in many fitness regimens. They work your core, glutes, and upper body simultaneously, and the forearm version is safe for most people with wrist or elbow pain. Planks are also more advanced core exercises than the others on this list, so go slowly if you need to work up to it.
To do a plank, lie on your stomach with your head raised and your forearms on the floor. Your arms should be parallel, and your elbows should be right under your shoulders. Your toes should also rest against the floor.
Engage your core, glutes, and quads. Maintaining a neutral spine, lift your body so your forearms and toes hold all your weight. Your neck should also be in a neutral position to avoid neck pain: don’t drop it toward the ground or look up to the ceiling.
Hold this position for 15-30 seconds. Do two to seven repetitions of this exercise.
For a more intense upper body workout, you can raise yourself into the “up” position of a pushup using your hands instead of bracing yourself on your forearms.
5. Side Plank
The core muscles wrap around the sides of your body, so it’s vital to strengthen your sides as well. The side plank is ideal for working your transverse abdominis and rectus abdominis muscles, as well as your hip abductors and the core muscles of your back.
To do a side plank, lie sideways on the floor in a straight line. Stack your knees and feet on top of each other and place the elbow nearest the floor at a 90-degree angle to your body.
Engage your core and glutes. Maintaining a neutral spine, lift your hips off the floor so your entire body, minus your forearm, is straight.
Hold this position for 15-30 seconds, working up to longer sessions as you grow stronger. Repeat on the other side of your body. Aim to do three sets of this exercise per side.
For a more intense upper body workout, brace yourself on one hand with your arm extended instead of bracing yourself on your forearm.
Try These Chiropractic Exercises at Home
When you’re hoping to get a strong core and back, you can’t go wrong with these simple chiropractic exercises. Try adding them to your usual fitness routine to see how they improve your health!
If you’re seeking help on your journey toward your best health, New York City Wellness is here to help. Our expert team can help troubleshoot your chronic pain and jump-start healing. To learn more, request an appointment today.