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stretching and strengthening

Strengthening and stretching: the immortal S’s that will help you overcome back pain once and for all. Whether you are suffering acute back pain from a traumatic injury, or more generalized pain that has accrued from repetitive stress, the back can benefit from these exercises done on a daily basis. DO NOT undertake any stretch, exercise or movement that exacerbates your pain to even the slightest degree. Your best bet before starting any exercise routine is to confer face-to-face at our office in Sacramento.

Bridging

  • Lay supine with knees bent, hip-width apart.
  • Raise hips slowly until a straight line is achieved between knees and chest.
  • Hold bridge for 5-10 seconds and slowly return to ground.
  • Repeat 5 times
  • Do not be discouraged if you cannot achieve the bridge at first. Many people need a few days to work their way up to it.

Wall squatting

  • Stand against wall with feet in front of body by about 12 inches.
  • Keep back straight, flex stomach muscles and lower body into a squat.
  • Squat as far as you can, with the intention of your thighs being parallel to the ground.
  • Hold 5 seconds then reverse the motion.
  • Repeat 10 times


At Espinosa Family Chiropractic, we love seeing people live pain free lives. It is a privilege of our job that we can help in this endeavor. For help creating a routine that incorporates stretching and exercise that strengthen the structurs and muscles of the back, give our office a call today.

Dr. Raymond Espinosa, D.C. 

core

How much benefit are you actually reaping from your daily crunches? The lumbar region of the back is the main support for your entire body: it makes sense that keeping the surrounding musculature strong and healthy will boost the spine’s longevity. The core is a complex series of muscle groups that plays a role in almost every aspect of human movement, no more so than in the mechanics of the back. The core is used for stability and force transfer across the body, and force production is actually a tertiary function. This leaves me asking why so many people focus on crunches as the sole method to improve core health?

Core stability is the ability of the muscles to control the force we produce and therefore, a stable, strong core will be the one that inoculates us against injury. Core stability movements such as planking, side planking and deadlifting are a better metric for core strength than the number of crunches you can perform.

For those looking to improve their core muscles to make an impact on the overall health of their back, including the prevention of injury, a calculated approach must be applied. This is where we can help at Espinosa Family Chiropractic: we can put together a plan that develops the core as a stabilizer rather than a force producer, thereby increasing the longevity of your spine.

Dr. Raymond Espinosa, D.C.

posture headache

The term desk-bound describes how a significant portion of people spend their 8 hour working days in the 21st century. Many people come into our office complaining of daily headaches and it has become clear that these two situations are not mutually exclusive: a day at the office can cause a headache in more ways than one. Consider one of the simplest explanations of all: your posture in front of the screen.

How many people can truly hold their head up high and say that they have perfect posture at work or that they regularly take breaks to stretch, move and hydrate? If you are one of these people, we applaud you and your back thanks you. But for many people, posture is not an easy proposition: spending long windows of time in front of the screen tends to lull people into a hunched forward position, where their head is leaned toward the screen and their back is rounded. As they work away, muscles in the neck and shoulders are being asked to compensate and support the weight of the head which is no longer balanced above the spine. Tensing and muscle strain ensue which can quickly lead to muscle spasms which will refer the pain to nerves in the head. 

This may not be the sole contributing factor to your headache, but fixing your posture can go a long way to influencing a myriad of conditions that are backs and heads suffer from on a daily basis. Call our office in Sacramento to find out the small things you can change to make a positive impact on your headaches: we can be reached at (916) 457-8825.

Dr. Raymond Espinosa, D.C. 

driving

Don't take for granted the number of minutes you spend commuting on a weekly basis. The minutes add up quick and very few cars are equipped to support or even encourage a neutral sitting position for the spine. Many people can recall the feeling of being stiff and sore from a road trip. This feeling is an outcry from muscles which have accumulated tension from lack of movement during the drive. Your intervertebral discs have absorbed fluid during this time, further limiting your range of motion. We often take the rest stop exit to relieve our bladders, but rarely to give our muscles and spine the attention they deserve. Driving truly is a rigorous undertaking for the back; at Espinosa Family Chiropractic we encourage you to help out in any way you can by using posture.

Sitting up straight is the best way to begin: with your butt back in the seat and your head balanced above your spine, the rest of the body will follow suit. Do you ever find yourself leaning on the center console? Now is the time to stop, as this encourages a muscular imbalance that will compound over the long drive. Holding the steering wheel at 9 and 3 is good, but are your shoulders relaxed? It might be appropriate to adjust the height of your seat or steering wheel (if possible). Finally, car seats are not conducive to supporting the lordotic curve. Use a small pillow or rolled up jacket to give your back a boost and see how it immediately makes you feel better.

At our office in Sacramento, we are keen on showing people how the little things add up. Just as poor posture can defeat your well-being, so can proper posture change the way you feel at the end of a long drive for the better. For a whole range of holistic lifestyle adjustments and counseling, call our office in Sacramento at (916) 457-8825.

Dr. Raymond Espinosa, D.C. 

massage

When you think of how you use your back throughout the day, do the thoracic vertebrae even factor into your thoughts? Put it this way, do you ever catch yourself with your shoulders slumped forward or your upper back rounded? This is a good indicator that you may have poor thoracic mobility. The spine is not one long bone, but many people treat it as such: this is why we end up with pervasive slumping, slouching, and general poor posture. These can cause serious conditions such as back pain and premature degradation of the vertebrae. Fortunately, by gaining an awareness of proper spine mechanics, you can limit the damage that your spine absorbed on a daily basis. 

The thoracic spine refers to the region of your spine corresponding to the chest and ribcage. It is made up of twelve vertebrae and forms the thoracic cage which protects the hart and lungs. The range of motion in this part of the spine is limited, but letting the health of these vertebrae fall by the wayside can have serious consequences. 

Here are a few of the benefits to be had by ensuring the alignment and overall health of the thoracic spine:

  • Improved spinal mechanics
  • Increased range of motion
  • Greater lung capacity
  • Greater diaphragm functioning
  • Better shoulder mechanics

The thoracic spine's range of motion is limited but it is not meant to be immobile. Call our office in Sacramento at (916) 457-8825 to schedule an appointment and find out how you can maximize your spine's mechanical advantage. 

Dr. Raymond Espinosa, D.C.