The Easiest Ways to Prevent Injuries in Oak Lawn IL
Here we are for the 2nd installment of our blog. So we figured the best topic to get us started should be back pain…seems appropriate right? Obviously, as a Chiropractor I believe regular chiropractic treatments is one of the best activities that a person can do to maintain a healthy back and core. To aide in proper posture, muscle pain relief and even disc pain, chiropractic care can provide a great alternative to pain killers or even worse surgery. However, as a Chiropractor I need to be realistic and admit chiropractic may not cure all sources of back pain, but given the alternatives it is worth a shot. The least expensive of the three options with the least risk of side effects; regular chiropractic treatments can alleviate chronic pain and allow you to resume a pain free lifestyle. But most important of all when you are not receiving regular chiropractic care sometimes you ask, how can I minimize my back pain? Proper stretching is one step that our family can use to minimize injury and maintain their lifestyle.
Proper stretching; sounds easy enough but how many of you actually take the time to stretch before starting an activity. Keep in mind it does not need to be running a marathon or lacing up for a hockey game to be considered an activity. How about gardening, housework, sitting at a desk for long hours or just running around chasing the kids; proper stretching before during and after can help minimize pain and injury. Now you might ask, what stretches do I do for which activity? Well it really depends on which muscle groups you are planning to use but here are some basic stretches that should help you get started with any basic activity. We recommend a top down approach so you can easily remember all of the stretches.
- Neck Rolls: Stand straight up with your feet shoulder width apart, your shoulders should be relaxed but not hunched over. Now slowly roll your head in circles going in both directions. Be careful to go slow to make sure you don’t lose your balance or strain any muscles. Make 10-12 revolutions in each direction.
- Arm Circles: Now stand up straight, hold your arms straight out to your sides, look straight ahead and make small circles with your hands. Start small to get your rotator cuff warmed up and slowly increase the size of the circles. Now go forward and backwards starting small and working to larger circles. Make 15 to 20 circles in each direction.
- Wrists: This is an easy one and is also great for those that work at a computer most of the day. Simply stand up and hold one arm out in front of you with your hand like a mitten and your fingers pointing up simply apply light pressure to your finger tips and pull the top of your hand back toward your body, hold for 10 seconds then point your fingers to the ground and repeat for 10 seconds. Switch hands and do it again. You should feel a light stretch in your forearm.
- Arm Across: Still standing with a solid base take one arm across the front of your body and hold it tight to your chest with the free hand. You should feel a deep stretch in your triceps and shoulder, be careful on to pull too hard just apply steady pressure for 10 to 12 seconds per arm.
- Back Bends: Now this is where the rubber meets the road, but the key here is to take it easy and use slow controlled movements and make sure you don’t over extend your reach. So put your hands on your hips and with a solid stance simply bend forward until you feel a light stretch in your lower back and hold that for about 8 to 10 seconds, then come back to the neutral position and slowly lean back for another 8 to 10 seconds. Repeat a couple times if necessary to make sure your muscles are good a loose.
- Side Bends: Similar to the back bends except this time your hands will be together above your head to make sure they don’t hinder your range of motion. Now this stretch is very easy to over extend because you feel a really good stretch in your side but then when you come back to the neutral position it is difficult to stand up straight. So start slowly (noticing a theme here yet?) and bend to the side and then bring it back to the neutral position to make sure you are not over extended. Progressively reach further until you are feeling a comfortable stretch and can recover without breaking your form. Once you establish your range of motion, hold this for 8 to 10 seconds each side.
- Hip Flexors: While standing in a split stance (one leg forward and one leg behind you) take your back leg and try to hold your heel as close to the floor without feeling pain. Then with your front slowly rock your knee out over the toe, keep your back straight and eyes up but you should feel a deep stretch right in the hip. Again, use slow movements and hold this stretch for 10 to 15 seconds per side.
- Toe Touches: This can be completed sitting down or standing up. Yes this is as simple as it sounds keep your legs straight (do not lock your knees) and reach for your toes. Now some people can reach their toes and other cannot, just keep working at it and you might actually see improvement in your flexibility.
- Squats: Nobody likes to do squats but it is important not to skip leg day. But these squats are a little different. You stand just like you are going to load up the bar and squat twice your body weight but the catch is there is no bar. Simply use a good shoulder width stance and slowly squat down until you are seated on the heels of your feet. You should feel a good stretch in your quads. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds and then stand back up. For anyone with an existing knee injury you can use a post or solid structure to help with your balance and standing back up.
These are just some of the basic stretches that can be done to minimize pain and hopefully keep you active. If you have any specific questions about stretching or would like suggestions on stretching specific muscles that are difficult do to an injury or condition. Simply ask us at your next appointment and we would be happy to help. Keep in mind we can help with a custom stretching program but it may take us a couple days to get it ready for you so the longer you wait to ask the longer it will take for you to live an active pain free life.
If you like our content or have specific questions reach out to us on Facebook at or email us. We would love to hear from you. Most important of all if you think someone else may benefit from our information, pass it along. We want to help as many people as we can.
Remember…It’s a Great Day for Chiropractic!
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