Back Pain

Hi, I'm Doctor Jo, a licensed Physical Therapist and Doctor of Physical Therapy. I hope you enjoy my video demos of stretches & exercises for common injuries and syndromes. If you have a question, just ask. Be safe. Have fun. And I hope you feel better soon.

5 Ways to Crack Your Back

Cracking your back, or as we call it manipulating your back or adjusting your back, can help relieve back pain. But make sure the cause of your back pain is diagnosed FIRST because with some back issues you should NEVER crack your back

The first way to crack your back is by using a foam roller. I like the ones that are slightly softer so it gives a little along your spine.

Next, you can get into a long sit position. This can also stretch your piriformis muscle and erector spinae muscles in your back. The twisting motion may help you get a pop in your back.

Then you can do an egg roll or a double knee to chest with a roll. This one is a little more difficult, but works well at getting your back to crack if you don’t have a foam roll.

Now you will sit in a chair and twist your body. Once you start the twist, get to the end range, and then do a quick push.

Finally, you can get a more gentle back manipulation on a swiss ball or therapy/stability ball. This is also a great stretch for your back.

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Top 5 QL Stretches (Quadratus Lumborum)

The QL (Quadratus Lumborum) is a muscle in the back part of the abdominal wall, and is often overlooked as the cause of back pain.

Since the QL is a deep muscle, it can cause alignment issues as well when it is injured or irritated.

For the first QL stretch, getting your legs into a butterfly position will help increase the stretch, but you don’t have to if you have really tight groin muscles.

Then put the leg of the side you want to stretch out at an angle for the next two stretches. You can stretch over to the opposite side, and you can also add a rotation for more of a stretch.

The fourth Quadratus Lumborum stretch is a little tougher, and if you have other issues (knee or hip pain), you might want to hold off on this one.

The last QL stretch is a little easier to do since you have the floor to help keep your hips in place. Pushing up when on your side will give you a great QL stretch.

Related Videos:

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7 Stiff Back Stretches

A stiff back can be caused by many things including arthritis, back strain, alignment issues, and general stiffness. These back stretches should help.

Some great ways to relieve a stiff back are pelvic tilts, bridges, trunk rotation, single knee to chest, and double knee to chest. All these help loosen up the pelvic and hip muscles, as well as the back extensors and trunk muscles.

A prayer stretch or child’s pose, and a cat/dog or cat/cow do a great job of stretching the whole back and hips, as well as other parts of the body.

Related Videos:

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10 Best Scoliosis Exercises

These scoliosis exercises are for postural scoliosis that can come from bad posture or a leg length difference. If you've had scoliosis since you were young, these stretches may not help.

Scoliosis is a curvature of the spine. It can happen when you are young, or it can happen when you are older and have bad posture or a leg length difference. This can cause the muscles on one side of the back to be tight and/or the muscles on the opposite side to be too weak. These exercises are for postural scoliosis.

Starting off on the floor, you will work your core and pelvic muscles. If you can’t get on the floor, you can do them on a couch or bed.

You can also use a Swiss ball (therapy or stability ball) to help work on your balance muscles as well as your back muscles. If you don’t have a ball, you can do these lying down on your stomach. You also want to work on your side as well to strengthen your oblique muscles. Make sure to modify the exercises as you need to.

In standing, you can use weights and resistive bands. Make sure you start of with light resistance for both and slowly progress to something harder. The last exercises are squats with movements. Make sure you are using good form so you don’t irritate something else like your knees.

Related Videos:

Scoliosis Exercises (Postural)

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