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)
Dr. Allin's Exercise Protocols
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.
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.
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.