Do you have a burning health question that you’re dying to ask a medical professional, but haven’t had a chance to yet? You’re in luck, because that expert is here, and your answers will soon be found!
Welcome to the first installment of Ask Dr. Austin!
Dr. Austin Davis is a chiropractor specializing in central nervous system functions. He practices at Life Chiropractic SF in Hayes Valley, San Francisco. He has traveled the world to serve and provide chiropractic care to those in need, and he is excited to be joining the Good Men Project team to help answer your health questions.
Our first question comes from a writer who constantly experiences tightness in his lower back:
DEAR DR.AUSTIN: I’m a writer and I either sit a lot, or work at a standing (stationary) desk for most of my day. No matter what I do I always tend to have some tightness in my lower back and upper quads. What are some exercises/high leverage stretches I can do to remove the tightness? I’m also crazy tall (6’7/2.01 meters) so that might be affecting things. — WRITER IN PAIN
DEAR WRITER IN PAIN: There are a few issues to address here. Yes you are crazy tall, and not knowing what your weight is, often extra pounds in the mid section will put increased pressure on the low back. This can cause discomfort. In fact, most often, back pain is related to weak abdominal muscles. My patients commonly want to know what back stretches and exercises they can do to help the pain, and I always give them ab work in return.
I encourage you to test your abs: Lay flat on your back and hold your legs 10 to 12 inches off the ground. Then count to see how long you’re able to hold it. This will be your baseline. Once you know your baseline, do this exercise throughout the day and try to increase the duration by 10 seconds every time. Once you’re able to hold your legs off the ground for a full minute, start to include flutter kicks and scissors. This simple exercise can be done as many times as you want throughout the day, and it actively engages your core, stabilizer muscles, abdominal wall, obliques and pelvic girdle. Variations are endless and by simply lifting your shoulders off the ground, the intensity immediately increases. Stabilizing the cord is an amazing way to help prevent low back pain, and various other structural related injuries.
I also highly recommend seeking out chiropractic care. If you have vertebral misalignment that interrupt the communication between the brain and your muscle, by impacting the nerves, those muscles will always be dysfunctional. Restoring communication can restore proper function.
Do you have a question for Dr. Austin? Leave your question in a comment below, or e-mail him at [email protected]
Photo credit: Flickr/Mikerosebery