The following spinal exercises stretch the hip flexors, muscles that have been found to be associated with lower back pain. Chiropractic adjustments may assist in providing initial relief but without proper muscle stretching and strengthening, pain often returns quicker than it needs to. These exercises may assist in the correction of spinal distortion and postural faults and prevent the recurrence of pain.
1. MANUAL STRETCH OF HIP FLEXORS: This exercise is done with the help of another person. Lie on your back on a table so that left leg can hang freely over the edge. Hold your right knee firmly against your chest. Keep the small of your back flat against the table. Ask your helper to press against your left leg with short downward thrusts 20-50 times. Now switch legs and repeat.
2. KNEELING HIP FLEXOR STRETCH: Kneel as shown in diagram with your spine straight up and down. Move your body forward while keeping your spine straight up and down. You will feel a stretch at your hip. To increase the stretch, move your forward foot ahead. Repeat.
3. FENCER’S STRETCH: Place your left foot forward with a bent knee. Now turn your left foot slightly so that your toes point to the right. Stretch your right leg out straight behind you with your foot pointing straight ahead. Your heel will be off the floor. Hold your spine erect but bend backwards at the waist slightly. To help balance, place your hands on your thigh and hip as shown. Now bounce your upper body backward until a stretching pull is felt at the groin. Do 20-50 bounces. Then change legs and repeat. To increase stretch start with front foot more forward.
IF THERE IS PAIN DURING OR IMMEDIATELY AFTER EXERCISE, DISCONTINUE AND REPORT YOUR SYMPTOMS TO THE DOCTOR.