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  • Writer's pictureDr. Lucas Marchand

Unlocking Back Pain Relief: Insights from Dr. Lucas Marchand on Chiropractic Care, Aerobic Exercise, and Spinal Health [in 2024]


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I'm Dr. Lucas Marchand! Founder of MyChiro, LLC, The House Call Chiropractor, with a Decade of Clinical Experience.


Lets Dive In . . .


Low back pain is the world’s leading cause of disability, affecting roughly 8% of the global population. Chronic back problems are particularly common in older adulthood and can lead to significant reductions in quality of life.


Preventing Lower Back Pain and Exploring zone 2 Cardio

Lower back pain is a common ailment that affects millions of people worldwide, often stemming from poor posture, sedentary lifestyles, or muscle imbalances. While there are various methods to alleviate this discomfort, one highly effective approach is through aerobic exercise. Additionally, understanding the different cardio zones, such as Zone 2 cardio, can optimize your workouts for maximum benefit.


Let's delve into the benefits of aerobic exercise in preventing lower back pain and explore the nuances of cardio zones . . .


The Benefits of Aerobic Exercise for Lower Back Pain:


Infographic on zone 2 cardio benefits


  1. Strengthens Core Muscles: Aerobic exercises like jogging, swimming, or cycling engage the core muscles, including those supporting the lower back. Strengthening these muscles helps stabilize the spine and improve posture, reducing the risk of back pain.

  2. Enhances Blood Flow: Cardiovascular activities increase blood circulation, delivering essential nutrients and oxygen to the spine and surrounding tissues. Improved circulation aids in the healing process and reduces inflammation, which can contribute to lower back pain.

  3. Promotes Weight Management: Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for spinal health. Aerobic exercise helps burn calories and reduce excess body fat, alleviating stress on the spine and decreasing the likelihood of developing or exacerbating lower back pain.

  4. Improves Flexibility and Mobility: Dynamic aerobic exercises involve movements that promote flexibility and range of motion in the spine and joints. Incorporating activities like yoga or dance into your routine can help loosen tight muscles and prevent stiffness, reducing the risk of back discomfort.

  5. Boosts Mood and Reduces Stress: Regular aerobic exercise releases endorphins, neurotransmitters that promote feelings of happiness and well-being. Additionally, it helps reduce stress and anxiety levels, which can contribute to muscle tension and exacerbate lower back pain.


Understanding zone 2 cardio:

Cardiovascular exercise is often categorized into different intensity zones based on heart rate. Each zone - of which there are 5 -offers unique benefits and serves specific fitness goals. One such zone is Zone 2 cardio, characterized by moderate intensity. Moderate being defined as 60-70% of your max heart rate. Here's how to figure out your max heart rate:


Infographic on Target Heart Rate Calculation

Integrating Zone 2 Cardio into Your Routine:

Zone 2 cardio, with its moderate intensity, offers a balance between effort and sustainability, making it ideal for improving aerobic fitness and overall health. Include aerobic activities like walking, cycling, or swimming to strengthen the heart and lungs, improve circulation, and enhance cardiovascular health. Aim for moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week. Here are some tips for incorporating Zone 2 cardio into your workout regimen:


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  • Monitor Your Heart Rate: Use a heart rate monitor to ensure you're exercising within the target Zone 2 range, typically around 60-70% of your maximum heart rate.

  • Choose Suitable Activities: Opt for aerobic exercises that can be sustained for longer durations at a moderate intensity, such as brisk walking, cycling, or swimming.

  • Progress Gradually: Start with shorter sessions and gradually increase the duration and intensity of your Zone 2 workouts as your fitness improves. If it's been awhile since you've worked out, I'd opt for two zone 2 cardio sessions each week and slowly work your way up to 3-4 sessions at 30-45 minutes each session.

  • Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to how you feel during exercise. If you're able to maintain a conversation comfortably while working out, you're likely in Zone 2.

  • Include Variety: Incorporate different activities to keep your workouts enjoyable and prevent boredom. Mix outdoor and indoor activities to add variety to your routine.

Let's Finish up zone 2 cardio . . .


Aerobic exercise, particularly when performed within the appropriate intensity zones such as Zone 2 cardio, offers numerous benefits for preventing lower back pain and improving overall health. By strengthening muscles, enhancing circulation, and promoting flexibility, aerobic activities contribute to spinal health and reduce the risk of back discomfort. Understanding the nuances of cardio zones empowers you to tailor your workouts effectively, ensuring optimal results and long-term fitness success. So lace up your sneakers, hit your target heart rate, and embark on a journey towards a healthier, pain-free back through the power of aerobic exercise.


 

Loaded Stretching


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Loaded stretching can be particularly beneficial for individuals experiencing back pain, as it addresses both flexibility and strength deficits commonly associated with this condition. Here's how loaded stretching can help alleviate back pain and promote spinal health:


Benefits for Back Pain:

  1. Improved Flexibility: Loaded stretching targets the muscles and connective tissues surrounding the spine, such as the hamstrings, hip flexors, and paraspinal muscles. Increasing flexibility in these areas can alleviate tension and reduce stiffness, easing back pain.

  2. Increased Strength: Engaging in loaded stretching exercises not only elongates muscles but also activates muscle fibers, promoting strength gains. Strengthening the muscles supporting the spine helps stabilize the lumbar region and alleviate strain on the back, reducing the risk of injury and discomfort.

  3. Enhanced Posture: Loaded stretching exercises often focus on improving posture by targeting muscles responsible for spinal alignment. By correcting postural imbalances and strengthening core muscles, loaded stretching can alleviate back pain caused by poor posture.

  4. Reduced Muscle Tension: Chronic back pain is often accompanied by muscle tightness and tension. Loaded stretching helps release muscular tension by elongating tight muscles and promoting relaxation, providing relief from discomfort.

  5. Prevention of Recurrence: By addressing both flexibility and strength deficits, loaded stretching can help prevent the recurrence of back pain episodes. Regular practice of loaded stretching exercises maintains spinal health, reduces the likelihood of muscle imbalances, and supports long-term pain management.


Incorporating Loaded Stretching for Back Pain Relief:

  1. Targeted Muscle Groups: Focus on stretching and strengthening muscles commonly associated with back pain, including the hamstrings, hip flexors, glutes, and core muscles. Incorporate loaded stretching exercises that specifically target these areas to alleviate tension and improve spinal mobility.

  2. Gentle Progression: Start with light resistance and gradually increase the intensity as your flexibility and strength improve. Avoid overexertion and listen to your body's signals to prevent exacerbating back pain.

  3. Mindful Movement: Pay attention to proper technique and alignment during loaded stretching exercises to ensure effective targeting of the intended muscle groups and minimize the risk of strain or injury to the back.

  4. Consistency: Incorporate loaded stretching exercises into your regular fitness routine to maintain flexibility, strength, and spinal health over time. Consistent practice is key to achieving and sustaining the benefits of loaded stretching for back pain relief.

  5. Consultation with a Healthcare Professional: If you have existing back pain or underlying spinal conditions, consult with a healthcare professional before beginning a loaded stretching program. They can provide personalized recommendations and ensure that loaded stretching exercises are safe and appropriate for your specific needs.

Loaded Stretching Exercises for Back Pain Relief:

  • Romanian Deadlifts: Hold a light barbell or dumbbells and hinge at the hips while keeping the spine neutral, stretching the hamstrings and strengthening the lower back and glutes.

  • Bridge with Resistance Band: Place a resistance band around the thighs and perform bridges, engaging the glutes and hamstrings while stretching the hip flexors and strengthening the core.

  • Standing Side Bend with Weight: Hold a dumbbell in one hand and perform lateral bends, stretching the side body while engaging the core and obliques.

  • Cat-Cow with Resistance Band: Loop a resistance band around the feet and perform cat-cow stretches, alternating between arching and rounding the spine while engaging the core and stretching the back muscles.


So to sum up . . .

Loaded stretching offers a comprehensive approach to back pain relief by addressing flexibility, strength, and postural imbalances commonly associated with this condition. By incorporating targeted loaded stretching exercises into your fitness routine, you can improve spinal mobility, alleviate muscular tension, and strengthen the muscles supporting the back, leading to reduced pain and improved overall spinal health. As always, consult with a healthcare professional or physical therapist before beginning any new exercise program, especially if you have existing back pain or spinal conditions, to ensure safe and effective management of your symptoms.


 

Protecting your spine and maintaining good spinal hygiene


This is just a short section so let's dive right in . . .


Protecting you spine and maintaining good spinal hygiene may sound paramount but I can assure you it is not that hard. Most injuries that I come across usually come in the form of unexpected falls, poor bracing, and or poor mechanics or ergonomics.


That's it. Let look at each one of these


Unexpected falls, Poor Bracing, Poor Mechanics

It's evident that an unexpected fall can lead to injury, but the reasons behind such incidents are often more nuanced than meets the eye. From my experience, falls typically occur due to a lack of awareness of one's surroundings and personal limitations. This lack of awareness can cause individuals to quickly and unexpectedly contract their muscles, leading not only to a fall but also to a cascade of reactive muscle spasms. It's akin to starting an old car in the dead of winter without allowing it to warm up first. Even a new car, while capable of turning on the ignition and driving immediately, benefits from a brief warm-up period. Therefore, the solution lies in cultivating mindfulness of your surroundings and limitations, as well as engaging in strength training. By being more attuned to your environment and understanding your physical boundaries, you can reduce the risk of falls and mitigate the potential for injury. Additionally, incorporating strength training into your routine can help improve muscle control and stability, further enhancing your ability to prevent falls and maintain balance. It's a holistic approach that combines awareness, physical conditioning, and proactive measures to safeguard against falls and promote overall well-being.


You know, it's funny how it works out sometimes. When it comes to lifting heavy weights like deadlifts or squats, injuries are actually pretty rare—assuming you've got your form down pat. It all boils down to being mindful and keeping your core braced while you're busting out those moves. But here's the kicker: most back injuries I've seen don't happen in the gym. Nope, they usually go down when someone's just doing everyday stuff like reaching for a plate in the dish rack or picking up their kid. It's like their body isn't prepared for these simple tasks, and bam, there goes their back. So, the trick is to stay mindful and keep up with your strength training. By staying aware of how you move and keeping those muscles strong, you're less likely to get sidelined by a random back tweak. It's all about that mix of mindfulness and muscle power to keep your back happy and healthy.


 

How Chiropractic Care Can help


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  1. Non-Invasive and Drug-Free: Unlike traditional medical approaches that often rely on medication or invasive procedures, chiropractic care emphasizes natural healing methods. Chiropractors use hands-on spinal adjustments, manipulation techniques, and other non-invasive therapies to realign the spine, alleviate nerve pressure, and restore proper function to the musculoskeletal system.

  2. Pain Relief: Chiropractic adjustments target the root cause of back pain rather than merely masking symptoms. By restoring proper alignment to the spine and joints, chiropractors can alleviate pressure on nerves, reduce inflammation, and relieve pain without the need for medication. This approach offers long-lasting relief and reduces the risk of dependency on painkillers.

  3. Improved Mobility and Flexibility: Misalignments in the spine can restrict movement and lead to stiffness and decreased flexibility. Through gentle adjustments and therapeutic exercises, chiropractic care helps restore proper spinal function, allowing for improved range of motion and enhanced flexibility. This not only alleviates back pain but also enhances overall physical performance and reduces the risk of future injuries.

  4. Enhanced Posture: Poor posture is a common contributor to back pain and musculoskeletal imbalances. Chiropractors specialize in identifying postural issues and correcting spinal misalignments that contribute to poor posture. By restoring proper alignment and providing personalized ergonomic recommendations, chiropractic care helps patients maintain a healthy posture, reducing strain on the spine and alleviating discomfort.

  5. Holistic Approach to Wellness: Chiropractic care goes beyond simply addressing symptoms; it focuses on optimizing the body's innate ability to heal itself. Chiropractors assess the entire musculoskeletal system, as well as lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise, and stress management, to develop personalized treatment plans that promote overall health and wellness. By addressing underlying imbalances and supporting the body's natural healing processes, chiropractic care empowers patients to achieve optimal health and vitality.

  6. Preventive Care: In addition to treating existing back pain, chiropractic care plays a crucial role in preventing future injuries and maintaining spinal health. Regular chiropractic adjustments help keep the spine properly aligned, reduce wear and tear on joints, and enhance nervous system function. By proactively addressing musculoskeletal imbalances and promoting optimal spinal health, chiropractic care can prevent recurring back pain and improve long-term wellness.

  7. Cost-Effective Approach: Regular chiropractic care offers a cost-effective alternative to traditional medical treatments for back pain. While medical doctors, prescription drugs, and physical therapy can incur substantial expenses over time, chiropractic interventions often involve fewer visits and lower overall costs.

  8. Reduced Healthcare Expenditure: Chiropractic care typically involves fewer medical interventions such as surgeries or prescription medications, resulting in reduced healthcare expenditure for patients. This can translate to significant long-term savings compared to ongoing medical treatments.

  9. Preventive Approach: Chiropractic care emphasizes preventive measures to maintain spinal health and prevent future injuries. By addressing underlying musculoskeletal imbalances early on, chiropractors help patients avoid costly medical interventions and reduce the risk of chronic back pain, leading to savings in both healthcare costs and lost productivity.

  10. Long-Term Benefits: While prescription drugs may provide temporary relief, they often fail to address the root cause of back pain and may lead to dependency over time. Chiropractic care focuses on correcting spinal misalignments and promoting natural healing, offering long-term relief without the need for ongoing medication expenses.

  11. Accessibility: Chiropractic care is often more accessible and convenient than traditional medical treatments. With chiropractors located in communities across the country and flexible appointment scheduling, patients can receive timely care without the long wait times commonly associated with medical specialists.

  12. Insurance Coverage: Many health insurance plans cover chiropractic services, making it a financially viable option for individuals seeking relief from back pain. By utilizing insurance benefits for chiropractic care, patients can reduce out-of-pocket expenses and make treatment more affordable.


 

Let's tie this all up . . .


Bow Tie

Today we explored the global issue of low back pain and the effectiveness of aerobic exercises like Zone 2 cardio in prevention. We highlighted loaded stretching for relief and we offered insights into maintaining spinal hygiene to prevent injuries. Additionally, we discussed the affordability and accessibility of chiropractic care versus traditional medical treatments!


Looking to dive into the world of chiropractic care and its amazing benefits? Look no further! Visit www.mychirohousecall.com today. Our private house calls start at just $150, dropping to as low as $75 per session, right in the comfort of your home or office. Plus, grab extra discounts with group sessions at just $60 per individual. My approach is simple: get you out of pain ASAP and support you on your wellness journey. Plans usually kick off with 3 sessions a week for 2-4 weeks, then we reassess at visit 6 or after two weeks—whichever comes first. No endless appointments here—it's all visit-to-visit and fee-for-service. And hey, if you're like me, you might dig our monthly wellness care, ranging from 1-4 sessions per month. Let's get you feeling great again!


Have a wonderful week,


Dr. Lucas Marchand

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