When under the care of a chiropractor there are exercises that are very complementary to the adjustments performed. These exercises can speed up and maintain the progress made via the adjustments the chiropractor has made to the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine.
Muscle Inhibition- Self-myofascial release
Most of the global muscular system- the muscle groups responsible for the major movement of the body- have insertion points in the lower lumbar spine. Consequently, when adjustments are made, if the muscles that attach to the lumbar spine are overactive or “tight” then it will be more difficult for the adjustments to hold- if they can be made at all. These tight muscles- and the weak antagonist muscles- cause muscle imbalances leading to kinetic chain dysfunction such as back, knee and hip pain. These overactive muscles need to be inhibited.
The method that has been used to inhibit these overactive muscles is self-myofascial release (SMR), usually performed as “foam-rolling”. SMR- which literally means self-massage- is the process of rolling a foam tube over muscles that are tight, finding knots and tender areas and getting them to release. Here is a video on techniques for the major muscle groups. For the purposes of this topic, we’ll be concentrating primarily on the core musculature.
Lengthening- Static Stretching
After the muscle has been sufficiently inhibited, the next step is to stretch out that tight muscle. Lengthening the muscle is done through static stretching with static stretching, the tight muscle is held in a stretch for 20-30 seconds before being released. There are common muscles that are known for being tight:
- Gastrocnemius(ankle complex)
- Soleus (ankle complex)
- Pectoralis major(chest)
- Latissimus dorsi (upper back)
- Piriformis(hip Complex)
- TFL (hip complex)
- Biceps femoris(hamstring)
- Upper trapezius(neck/shoulder)
- Levator scapulae(neck/shoulder)
Stabilization and Strengthening
After the overactive muscles have been inhibited, the muscles that are weak or underactive need to be strengthened. When dealing with with weak core muscles, the corrective action to strengthen them usually are isometric stabilizing exercises and simple compound exercises.
- The plank
- Side plank
- Floor Bridge
- Air squat
I will be posting the exercises that I demonstrate on my blog in the next 24 hours.