Rehabilitating your spine can be easy if you understand a simple model. Joints, muscles and ligaments combine with precision and balance to provide motion and stability. However, when a joint is injured (the elbow for example), its primary movers (the biceps) become short to protect the injured joint. Muscles moving the joint in the opposite direction of the biceps (the triceps), become stretched out or longer allowing the biceps to shorten. This phenomenon is called reflex inhibition.
A joint (spinal joint, elbow, knee) can be injured in many ways. One overlooked cause of injury is poor posture. There are two common postural problems seen today, one in the upper body (called upper crossed syndrome) and one in the lower body (called lower crossed syndrome). The goal of spinal rehabilitation is to achieve balance between motion, flexibility and stability.
There are 3 steps in rehabilitating and strengthening the spine:
Step 1: Adjusting
Creating proper motion within the involved joint is best accomplished with specific chiropractic manipulative therapy (CMT or “adjusting”).
Step 2: Stretching & Strengthening Exercises
Specific stretches for the shortened muscles comes next. Although there are numerous protocols for stretching, 3 sets holding 15 seconds each works well.
Then, specific exercises are performed to strengthen the weakened muscles. Again, many exercise protocols exist, 3 sets f 12 repetitions is appropriate.
Many different forms of resistance equipment can be used (such as tubing, gym balls, free weights, and universal equipment), and many protocols for performing rehabilitative exercises. Ask your Chiropractor which equipment and exercises are best for you. The Doctors at Specific Chiropractic highly recommend the use of a Fit Ball, and encourage you look at or obtain a copy of the book “Strong to the Core” (available at any book store in the Health & Fitness Section). Please ask your Chiropractor for our handout of recommended exercises.
Step 3: Nutritional Support
Finally, enabling you have correct and optimal nutritional support is imperative. There’s no point working hard to strengthen your spine if you are not providing your body with the nutrients, and minerals it needs.