Dr. Allin's Home Exercise Series

These exercise protocols are core to helping our new patients at Evolve Chiropractic of Woodstock get the most out of their chiropractic adjustments.

See each video below along with the accompanying exercise instructions.

(Exercises provided by Dr. Allin, your top chiropractor in Woodstock IL)

For a complete collection of Dr. Allin's videos, please visit the Woodstock Youtube page by clicking here.

Dr. Allin's Exercise Protocols

Spinal Hygiene

This is a series of exercises called Spinal Hygiene I give my new patients to help them get the most out of their care plans.

Chiropractic adjustments will loosen up your spine so you have greater mobility. Then these exercises will help train your body relax and realize it’s okay to go through a full range of motion. They are all very basic and can be completed in around 3 minutes. We recommend doing them 3 times a day.

Neck Protocol: This exercise brings your neck through 6 ranges of motion. If you feel any pinch or neck pain, don’t push through it. These stretches should be gentle.

Ys, Ws and Ts: These are for mid-back flexibility. Squeeze the shoulder blades back. You may feel a deep stretch in these movements. Moving through muscle tightness is good but back off if the stretch turns into pain.

Low Back Side Bends: Reach as far as you can comfortably. Don’t rotate. Stretch both

Back Bend and Toe Touch: Do these slowly so the body can ease into having a greater range of motion. Moving too quickly before the body is relaxed could create spasms.

Diaphragmatic Breathing

Teaching your body to breathe properly is very important for proper function. In this video, Dr. Allin demonstrates how to do Diaphragmatic Breathing.

As you breathe in and out, you start to activate the lower portion of your abdomen. To stop your chest from rising prematurely, press your ribs down into the floor and pull your breath deep into your belly.

When you get more comfortable with the basic breathing technique, you can go deeper into the exercise by placing your hands along the sides of your body between the ribs and pelvis. Then, as you breathe in and out, try to press your hands out to the sides using your stomach muscles.

The third step is backwall breathing. To do this, press your thumbs into your lower back and use your breath to press back into the floor.

Do this exercise twice a day for 20 breaths. It won’t take very long and the benefits are huge.

Isometric Neck Exercises to Stabilize Neck Posture

These exercises are designed to stabilize your neck muscles. Many new patients coming into our office are holding their neck and head forward, which is not a very stable position for the spine. The result is an increased risk of compression, bulging discs, pinched nerves and muscle strain.

As you get adjusted, you have more mobility in your spine. This is the time to create a neutral posture and stabilize.

All these exercises are isometric, which means we are activating the muscles without lengthening or shortening them. Essentially, we apply around 5-10 pounds of pressure to different sides of the head but do not actually push the head in one direction or another.
If that sounds confusing, you’ll understand when you watch the video demonstration.

Hold each position for 10 seconds. Repeat this entire exercise 3 times all the way through twice per day.

Keep up the good work!

Using a Foam Roller to Open the Thoracic Spine

This exercise will help with thoracic extension and mobility – which is a key area of discomfort for many people.

All you need for this exercise is a foam roller and a surface to roll on. If you don’t already have a foam roller, you can usually find one for $10-15 on Amazon or Walmart. A full-size, firm foam roller is best.

Lay back with the foam roller in your shoulder blade area. Place your interlaced fingers behind your neck (neck, not head!). Then, begin to extend back over the foam roller.

If you haven’t tried this movement before, it may feel intense. Don’t push it, just go to the edge of your comfort level – maybe a touch past it but don’t push too far. It won’t help.

Use your hands to assist in coming out of the stretch then roll over to your side and push up to get off the foam roller.

10 reps, twice a day should help keep your thoracic spine open and moving.

Advanced Neck Stretches

These stretches compliment the spinal hygiene exercises we’ve been doing. They help us to stretch additional muscles along the spine that are not accessible in the other exercises and will be a big help for anyone who spends a lot of their time in front of a computer.

To begin, rotate your head 45 degrees to one side. Then allow your head to drop forward. Place your hand on top of your head and let the natural weight of your hand deepen the stretch. Don’t pull!

Hold for 10 seconds.

To release the stretch, let your hand slide down your forehead then use it to assist your head back to neutral. Be gentle and don’t try to come out of this stretch super quickly. Otherwise, you could get a pinching in the neck.

Repeat on the other side.

Next, rotate your head as before but this time, let you head fall backwards. If you like, you can place your hand on your forehead and use very gentle pressure to deepen the stretch.

To come out of the stretch, slide your hand to the back of your head and gently assist it up. As before, repeat on the other side.

The last part of this series is retraction and protraction.

First, place your finger on your chin and press it straight back until you have a nice double chin. Hold for a few seconds then release and stick your chin forward – pressing it out like a chicken.

Perform 3 sets of these stretches twice a day.

Hamstring Stretches with a Yoga Strap

For this hamstring stretch, you’ll need a yoga strap (or belt or dog lease, etc.).

Lay on your back and place one foot in the loop of your strap. Squeeze your quadricep muscle tight while lifting your leg towards the ceiling. When you reach your barrier, take hold of the strap and add about 10-20 pounds of pressure to the stretch. Hold for 2 seconds and release.

Make sure to keep your quadricep squeezed tight! Repeat with the other leg.

In the video, you’ll see two additional variations of this stretch – one with the toe turned inward and one with the toe rotated outward.

Do 10 reps on each side, 2-3 times a day and stay consistent. These stretches aren’t super easy but keep at it and you’ll see progress quickly.

See more from Dr. Allin, DC at the Evolve Chiropractic of Woodstock IL homepage:

Finding Your Neutral Sitting Position

This exercise is to be used during your micro-breaks at work when you can take 15 seconds or so to help your body find its end ranges of mobility and where neutral is. This will help your body memorize the neutral position and recognize it as safe.

Begin with a pelvic tilt. Come to the edge of your seat, lift your tailbone and open your chest up to the ceiling. Next, we’ll find the opposite extreme by rounding the tailbone and the chest in, lifting the back and pressing the arms forward.

Go between the two a few times then find your neutral position where your shoulders are stacked on top of your hips and your ears on top of your shoulders.

Next, from the position, squeeze your elbows in to your sides with palms up, rotate the thumbs outward and bring the chin straight back. Do three diaphragm breaths.

These breaks will help your body find and relax into it’s neutral position. Try them several times a day (they don’t take long to do) and we think you’ll start seeing results quickly.

Pelvic Tilting

This exercise is called pelvic tilting and it’s all about regainig or maintaining fine motor control of the pelvis. If you’ve never thought about this before, some of the movement may feel unusual but you’ll quickly adjust.

To perform pelvic tilting, simply lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Then we’re going to tuck the tailbone up towards the ceiling. Next, tuck the tailbone towards the floor, which will create a slight arch in the back.

Ideally, we’ll do this exercise 10 times with a 3 second count for each movement.

Decompression Breathing

For most of us, our spines are continuously getting compressed throughout the course of our day. Decompression breathing reverses the effects of the compression while retraining the muscles of the torso to support postural alignment.

You can perform this exercise as much as you want and virtually everyone could benefit from daily practice.

Shoulder Packing

Packing the Shoulders. This is a great exercise for anyone with shoulder impingements or shoulder laxity (where they feel like their shoulder is unstable or ready to pop out). 

Hold the exercise for 10-15 seconds per rep and perform 10 repetitions a day for each side.

Serratus Anterior Muscle Activation (Shoulder Blade Stabilization)

This shoulder exercise helps stabilize the shoulder blade against your rib cage. 

The slower you go, the more muscle fibers you’ll engage and the more effective this exercise will be.

How to Use a Lacrosse Ball to Stretch Your Hamstrings

Using a lacrosse ball helps you stretch deeper into the hamstring muscles. The ball keeps your muscle tissue static while you stretch the muscle on top of the ball.

Two important reminders: We only want to go to a 4 or 5 out of 10 on the pain scale with these stretches. If you’re making strained faces, back off. Also, to prevent bruising, no single point should be stretched for more than 2 minutes at a time.

How to Use a Lacrosse Ball to Stretch Your Piriformis

The piriformis is a muscle that runs beneath your glutes on each side of the body. When it is tense, it can cause a lot of pain, including a sciatica-like pain running all the way down from your glutes to your feet.

This exercise can be completed either laying on the ground or against a wall – the video demonstrates both techniques.

Two important reminders: We only want to go to a 4 or 5 out of 10 on the pain scale with these stretches. If you’re making strained faces, back off. Also, to prevent bruising, no single point should be stretched for more than 2 minutes at a time.

Releasing the Lower Back Muscles (Multifidus)

The multifidus muscles are located in the lower back and can be a source of pain and stiffness for many people (especially if they’re sitting all day). 

If a lacrosse ball is too intense, you can always start with a tennis or racquet ball then work your way up. Just remember to a be kind to your body and not force anything.

"The Founder"

The Founder is an exercise developed by Dr. Eric Goodman. It is the core exercise in his Foundation Training and it strengthens the entire back of your body, activates the posterior chain and reinforces proper movement.

If you find this exercise challenging, don’t worry because that’s normal. The exercise shouldn’t cause pain (stop if it does) but your muscles will burn.

Wall Stretches to Open the Pectoral Muscles

This exercise will stretch and open up your pectoral muscles – which will help you maintain an open and upright posture instead of having the shoulders rounded forward.

Once you have the basic form of the stretch in place, hold for 10 seconds. Then go a little bit deeper and do the same. This cycle can be repeated several times. Once you start to feel discomfort, stop.

Additional variations can be accomplished by raising the arm 45 degrees and lowering it 45 degrees to stretch different parts of the pectoral muscles.