For knee pain sufferers, getting regular exercise may seem out of the question. However, when performed properly, some exercises can actually decrease pain and stiffness in the knees by bringing blood and nutrients to the area and strengthening the surrounding muscles. Here are the best exercise tips to try, and a few things to avoid, when suffering from knee pain.
Rules to Begin With
Pain sufferers should consult with a chiropractor when starting any new exercise routine. It’s also important to remember that exercise, when performed properly, should not make pain worse or cause any new pain. Knee pain sufferers, in particular, should never allow their knees to extend past their toes during exercises or stretches.
The Best Exercises
- Partial squats: This is an easy, low-impact way to get the knees bending. Standing about a foot in front of a chair with your toes pointed forward and your feet even with your hips, slowly bend at the hips about halfway down to the chair. Keep your core tight and avoid letting your knees extend past your toes.
- Side-lying leg lift: Begin by lying on your left side and supporting your head with your left arm. Keeping both legs straight, raise the right one to about shoulder height, bring it back down, and repeat. Remember to switch legs once you’ve finished a set, and for added resistance, wear an ankle weight above the knee on whichever leg is being lifted.
- Safe stretching: To give your legs and knees a good stretch, lie on your back with one leg flat on the floor. Using a towel or rope around your foot, pull the other leg as far as it can go comfortably toward your chest, keeping a slight bend in the knee. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds, rest, and then repeat a few times with each leg.
Exercises to Avoid
A list of exercise tips wouldn’t be complete without a few warnings. These exercises are more likely than others to be done improperly and can lead to injury, increased pain, and more time spent in chiropractic care. Common exercises to avoid include the following:
- Full-arc knee extensions.
- Deep squats and lunges.
- Intense stretching.
High-impact aerobic exercises like running can also be hard on the knees, especially on harder surfaces and without proper footwear. If you are facing knee injury, Dr. Scott Nissenbaum will be glad to talk with you about specific exercises and proper chiropractic treatment for knee pain. To learn more about how a visit to our office can help you, fill out our online form or call 650-226-8348.
Core training is about so much more than just flat abs. A strong core provides the support your spine needs, while a weak core puts the entire body at risk for injury—especially the back. Toning the muscles in this area, including the abdominals, obliques, pelvic floor, and back muscles, can reduce back pain and prevent injury while effectively and safely building the core muscles.
How Does Core Strength Relate to Injury?
When the core muscles are too weak to support the spine, more pressure is placed on ligaments, bones, and discs. Over time, this can lead to increased wear and tear, heightening the risk for pain and injury. Strong core muscles allow all parts of the spine to work in harmony, improving balance, strength, and stability. Exercising the core muscles preserves mobility and makes certain regular activities easier, especially running, cycling, and swimming. In fact, almost every movement we make uses the core in some way, which makes these muscles a necessary foundation for strength training. With a strong core, posture is straighter, which keeps the spine in a healthy neutral position.
What Types of Exercises Build Core Strength?
Most core-strengthening exercises can be done at home, without the need for a gym membership or special equipment. Some of the most common core exercises include:
- Planks and side planks.
- Partial abdominal crunches.
- Pelvic bridges.
- Wall sits.
- Pelvic tilts.
- Fitness ball exercises.
Start slow. Form always comes before function. Work up to repeating exercises 10 to 12 times, and increase reps over time. Those who already have back pain should speak with their doctor to ensure these exercises are safe to begin. A doctor or physical therapist can also demonstrate the correct form and movements for each exercise to maximize the potential benefits and prevent injury. Modifications can also be made if certain movements cause pain.
Dr. Scott Nissenbaum offers a gentle, noninvasive approach to treating pain with chiropractic care and Active Release Therapy (A.R.T.). He can recommend exercises that strengthen the core and adjust your muscles and bones to reduce the risk of injury and alleviate pain. Those in the San Carlos area can contact Dr. Nissenbaum by email or schedule an appointment online.
As a chiropractor, I am often asked about the importance of stretching and warming up before exercising to prevent back pain. So, I’ve put together the top six tips for warming up and stretching before you hit the gym this January.
- Warm up before stretching. Make sure your warm up slowly over a period of five minutes or so. Everyone’s warm up is different. Your optimal warm up is going to be a process that you have to tweak until it’s dialed in perfectly for you.
- Get your heart rate up during the warm up. This is the purpose of the warm up. For healthy adults, it is recommended to get your heart rate up during your initial warm by doing low intensity exercises like a brisk walk, a slow jog, or riding a recumbent bike.
- Focus your warm-ups on the muscles your targeting during your activity. The whole idea of warming up is to increase your blood flow to the muscles you are going to use during your workout. Perform the same movement patterns you will use during the specified exercise. Move your muscles and joints through all ranges of motion that you are planning to do during the workout. For example, if you are going to play golf, before you start your round, start swinging your golf club slowly through the range of motion forwards and backwards. This will involve your arm muscles, shoulders, back and hips and get them all warmed up and ready to play on the course.
- Take your time to stretch after you warm up. Plan to spend between 5-8 minutes stretching after the initial warm-up. This insures that your body is moving blood to more specifc areas that you are using to decrease the likelihood of a pulled muscle or have a sprain/strain injury.
- Breath deeply. During the entire warm up and stretching period, make sure you breathing in through the nose and out through pursed lips. This will help to increase oxygen flow to your muscles to prepare you for your work out.
- Cooling down. Make sure to take at least 2-3 minutes after your workout to bring your heart rate down allowing your body time to recover. Begin the cool down gradually as you wrap up your exercise routine. Keep the joints moving through the same range of motion as your work-out. Complete the same stretches used during your pre-activity routine.