Want low back pain and sciatica relief today, right from your home? You’re in luck. Here are several free and inexpensive ways to decompress your own spine, from performing simple stretches to using an exercise ball or — our personal favorite — utilizing an Inversion Table. Trust us, these spinal decompression methods can make a world of difference.
Spinal compression occurs when excessive strain and pressure is put on the disks of the spine. These disks act as cushions between vertebrae. When undue pressure is exerted upon them they will flatten against the vertebrae and squeeze the nerves, causing stiffness and pain.
For the majority of us, the spine gets compressed from stationary positions and gravitational forces. To start with we will review several key stretches that help reduce the compressive forces caused by tight muscles. Then we will take things to things to the next level and cancel out the stresses created by gravity with an Inversion Table.
But before diving in, let’s quickly learn more about what is spinal decompression and why it is so important.
What is Spinal Decompression?
Quite simply, spinal decompression reverses compression caused in the discs. It releases and reduces the physical pressure placed on the vertebrae and nerves, returning the spine to its natural elongated state.
There are a total of twenty-three vertebral discs in the spinal column. These disks act as shock absorbers, hold the vertebrae together, and provide some mobility. Problems with any one of them can occur, prompting pain in the disc iteself or related ares, such as when they press on a nearby nerve causing sciatica.
Why You Should Do Spinal Decompression Exercises
Too many back pain sufferers rely on pain medications, motorized traction therapy, and surgery to fix spinal compression. Though there are a number of different spinal decompression therapy treatments out there that can help relieve pressure. However, these can often be costly and take time to set-up. More than likely you want immediate relief today, and waiting is just too much to bear.
Fortunately, you don’t have to leave your home to find relief. Sometimes natural methods are the best. Spinal Decompression exercises are a non-invasive, non-surgical means to improve mobility and reduce pain, and something that should always be considered first, before more drastic measures.
Best of all, you can do these exercises right at home.
The following spinal decompression methods, done carefully and consistently, can be some of the most effective ways to ease the pressure between disks, providing instant relief, and allowing the affected areas room to heal. As an added bonus they can also help reduce the cost of treatment.
So let’s get to it!
We will start with one of the easiest and most gentle spinal decompression stretches. Child’s Pose is a simple yoga resting position that stretches the spine by elongating the lower body along the natural curves of your thigh muscles.
To perform this stretch, start on all fours. Stretch your arms out in front of you as far as you can, then slowly lower your body down so your knees rest underneath your chest and your head rests on the floor. For an even more relaxed position, you can alternatively tuck your arms beside you, pointing away from the head with your palms facing upwards.
To enhance the stretch, gently pull you upper body forward. Be sure to take long, gradual breaths, concentrating on breathing into the lower back and expanding its curve.
Another gentle yoga pose that is an effective way to disperse pressure on the discs is the cat stretch. It helps stretch out each spinal disc paying particular attention to the lower lumbar spinal region and is often used as a warm-up to other more intense back exercises.
To perform this stretch, start on all fours. Positioning your arms and knees in line with one another about shoulder width apart. Ideally, your wrists will be beneath your shoulders and knees underneath your hips. Arch your spine upward. Tuck your tailbone inward and tighten your abdominal muscles by drawing your navel toward your spin. Bend your head slightly down, gazing at your navel. Remember to keep the neck long, helping to extend the spine.
This stretch can also be performed from a chair. Start by sitting upright, shoulders in line with your hips, feet flat on the floor, and hands on your knees. Then pull your navel in, curve your shoulders forward, arch your back, and gaze slightly downwards toward you navel.
Knees-to-Chest Back Arch
One of the best spinal decompression exercises to perform at home is a laying back arch. It helps to lengthen the spine while providing a gentle massage on your lower back using the floor.
To perform this stretch lay on your back. Curl your knees to your chest and wrap your arms around your knees. To get the most of this stretch ensure your hips come off the ground.
To enhance the stretch further, bring your head to your knees. You can also place the hands on the knees and roll gently back and forth to further massage different areas of the lower back.
Exercise Ball Extension
Aside from the three easy-to-do stretches above, there are a few other things you can do at home to relieve spinal compression. Though unlike those above, these require some additional equipment.
To perform back extensions with an exercise ball you will need — as you might have already guessed — an exercise ball.
Using a fully inflated large exercise ball, appropriate to your height, lay face upwards looking at the ceiling with your back stretched along the ball. Roll backwards to extend the spine, using your legs and core to stabilize.
We saved the best for last.
Most often, using an Inversion Table is what we recommend for spinal decompression treatment from home. An Inversion Table is a table that allows you to hang safely upside down to stretch out the spine.
Usually when people have spinal compression, a slipped disc, or disc bulge in the lumbar region, an Inversion Table is the most effective method in relieving the issue. As mentioned at the beginning, it will cancel out the stresses caused by gravity in a way that none of the other treatments above can.
To gain the benefits from using an Inversion Table, begin by locking, strapping, or hooking your feet and ankles at the table’s end, then slowly tilt back and let gravity do the work.
When it comes to purchasing and picking out the right Inversion Table, we suggest going with the most inexpensive one you can find. Typically a higher price does not provide that much of an improvement on effectiveness with these tables. A more expensive one may be a bit more comfortable and feel slightly more stable, but more or less they all do the same thing. So don’t worry about breaking the bank when buying an Inversion Table.
The other alternative is using ankle straps and hanging freely upside where there are bars like in a park or gym. But not everyone can perform that maneuver, and there’s an added risk of getting even more hurt. So trust us, it’s definitely worth the small investment to go with the Inversion Table.
Besides, the price of an Inversion Table that you can use again and again from the comfort of your home is far less expensive than a single treatment with a professional chiropractor or physiotherapist who use traction. In other words, the Inversion Table pays for itself. And your back will thank you in the long run.
What Next for Spinal Decompression?
When trying to remove or reduce back pain, it is important to remain consistent. So be sure to perform these exercises on a regular basis, enhanced with deep, controlled breathing. If after performing these stretches and trying an Inversion Table pain still persists, and you feel you need additional help, then it is a good idea to consult a medical professional.
A good next step is considering chiropractic, which just like the methods above is a non-invasive, non-surgical treatment and works specifically towards targeting lower back pain.
A key component of chiropractic care is alleviating the symptoms of spinal compression by addressing the discs and their relation to the vertebrae and nerves. Chiropractic adjustments restore normal movement of the lumbar vertebra. When normal movement is restored, fluids that contain nutrients in the spine move in and out of the discs. The solutions above do not serve as a replacement to a Chiropractic adjustment but they do serve as excellent tools of maintaining a healthy spine and preventing the disc from further degeneration.
If after trying the exercises above you still feel pain or discomfort in your back, we recommend contacting us for a consultation. We can outline in greater detail how an adjustment can best provide your body with these necessary nutrients and find a way together to rid your back of pain once and for all.