Therapeutic exercises for spine pain

Chiropractic care can involve a range of therapies, some of which occur during your session and some that you can do at home. Generally, the practitioner will try to adjust your spine and reduce neural compression, either manually or with the assistance of traction, during your one-on-one session. However, your chiropractor also may assign you therapeutic exercises to do at home. These exercises will focus on improving joint mobility, strengthening muscles and increasing spine flexibility. Read on to learn about the various forms of therapeutic exercise and when surgery becomes a necessary option.

Types of therapeutic exercises

While manual manipulation and mobilization, which are both ways that the chiropractor moves your joints to achieve proper alignment, need to be done in the chiropractor’s office, certain therapeutic exercises can be done at home. These exercises can generally be divided into two categories — isotonic and isometric muscle exercises.

Isotonic exercises involve repetitive joint movement, whereas isometric exercises involve muscle contractions without joint movement. For instance, a series of bicep curls would be considered isotonic exercises, while holding a weight at arm’s length and remaining stationary would be considered an isometric exercise.

Your chiropractor will most likely suggest that you begin with isometric exercises before advancing to isotonic movements. Some examples of isometrics include the following (but these should not be attempted without your doctor’s permission, as they could worsen your spinal condition):

  • Birddog. Assume an all-fours position and straighten one leg. Lift your leg 30 degrees from the ground and extend the opposite arm. Hold this position for 20 seconds and release.
  • Gluteal bridge. Lie on your back with your legs bent and your feet on the floor. Slowly press your buttocks toward the ceiling, keeping the entire length of your arms in contact with the floor. Hold this position for 20 seconds and release.
  • Pelvic tilt. This exercise is similar to a gluteal bridge but less intense. First, lie on your back with your legs bent and your feet on the floor. Then, tighten your abdominal muscles and press your pelvis upwards a few inches while your lower back remains on the floor. Hold this position for 20 seconds and release.

Other forms of chiropractic care

Chiropractic care can include therapeutic exercises and therapeutic stretches, but may also involve massage therapy, ultrasound and nutrition counseling. During your initial chiropractic examination, be sure to give an accurate description of your symptoms and medical history to the practitioner so that he or she can design a treatment plan that is right for you.

When surgery becomes an option

If several weeks or months of chiropractic care and other conservative forms of treatment do not provide you with adequate relief after several weeks or months, then surgery may become an option to relieve your symptoms. If this is the case for you, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn how our minimally invasive surgery is a clinically appropriate alternative to open neck or back surgery.^

Laser Spine Institute is the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery and has helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from chronic neck or back pain. To find out if you are a potential candidate for our outpatient surgery, reach out to our dedicated team and ask for a free MRI review.* We are here to help you recapture your quality of life from debilitating spine pain and discomfort.