Archive for the ‘Spinal Decompession Seated Self Care Maneuver’ Category

Spinal Decompession Seated Self Care Maneuver

January 22, 2011

Chair care” or “spine unloading maneuver” (described in more detail below) takes about 10 seconds to perform. (Seated Spinal Decompression)

Description: The patient sits in an upright chair with their arms behind them, slightly bent. They push downward, straightening the arms and leaving the buttocks in the chair, unloading the trunk and spine. (see picture)

Teaching patients to fish is better than just giving them a fish–meaning an active therapy is better than a passive therapy.

The goal is to change the public’s chronic sitting pattern; we need to get them to participate daily in their own healing.

Much of our working world spends the majority of their time sitting.

We all sit too much.

It is common for people with back issues or sciatica to complain of an increase in low back symptoms with sitting.

Many published journal articles have shown that sitting, especially prolonged sitting is generally accepted as a risk factor in developing low back pain.

This video is on spinal decompression, but it gives you a good idea of what is happening as the spine decompresses doing this maneuver above:  DRX9000 Spinal Decompression Therapy:: Degenerative Disc Disease

So what are we supposed to do? As most of you know I suggest moving to a stand up work station, but “Chair Care”-coined by Dr. Fryer is a simple maneuver one can do that may help.

A recent study published in:   The Spine Journal April 2010 looks at MRI changes in discs in relationship to sitting.

It is a fascinating study. The investigators looked at MRI scans at several points in time and looked for changes in the intervertebral disc in relationship to sitting behavior.

The study looked at an MRI scan “before sitting, after 15 minutes of related sitting, immediately after seated unloading exercises and approximately 7 minutes after exercise.”

After 15 minutes of sitting, mean seated height on stadiometry decreased by 6.9mm

After seated unloading exercises, the mean seated height increased by 5.7mm

Loss of height in the discs was apparent after sitting for only 15 minutes. WOW!

Imagine what happens after sitting all day!

The “Chair care” or “unloading exercise” takes about 10 seconds to perform.

With that small intervention, most of the lost disc height was recaptured. WOW!

With that information in hand, doing this spine un-loading maneuver is a “no-brainer”.

Following is more of a detailed description of the steps involved in the unloading exercise evaluated in this study:

Sit and shift the buttocks towards the front edge of the seat

Push off the seat with their hands or fists

Extend the spine and simultaneously unload the spine

Relax the back muscles in this unloaded position and hold for 5 seconds

Then gently release the weight from the arms back onto the buttocks for 3 seconds

Unload the back every so often to help “plump up” and re-hydrate those discs.

What is the significance of sitting and unloading studies? Research shows sitting for just 15 minutes produces significant compression of the spine and loads the discs in an unhealthy way.

We can also tell and show the public/patients that these unhealthy changes can be decompressed rapidly using a seated unloading exercise.


Fryer J. Preliminary investigation into a seated unloading movement strategy for the lumbar spine: a pilot study. JBMT, 2010;14(2):119-26.

Fryer J. Quon J, Smith FW. Magnetic resonance imaging and stadiometric assessment of the lumbar discs after sitting and chair-care decompression exercise: a pilot study. Spine J, 2010 April;10:4.

Other good reads:

Sitting time-9 year all cause mortality in older women-Br J Sports Med. 2012

Stand Up Work Stations and Treadmill Desks

 Stand to sit too long

Your office chair is killing you

Sitting-Is Your Office Chair Killing you? Menshealth 2010

Sitting-The Most Dangerous Thing You’ll Do All Day-Mens Health 2011

Sitting-Can sitting too much kill you? Scientific American Jan 2011

Sitting-Is Sitting a Lethal Activity? The New York Times April 14 2011

Fascia-The Secret Life of Fascia-Charles Poliquin blog 2011

Myofascial Release Technique-Active Release Technique (ART)

Muscle Trigger points vs Acupuncture points

Manipulation in Improving Motion and Joint Health ~Review of Medical literature

Mechanobiology and diseases of mechanotransduction-Annals of Medicine 2003-Donald E. Ingber, M.D., Ph.D

If you are suffering from: Sports Injuries, Sprains, Strains, Car accident,  Herniated Disc, Disc Bulge, Degenerative Disc Disease, Neck pain, Headaches, Low back pain, of just want to feel better and have better life performance– please call our office in Irvine, California- at 949.857.1888 or visit our website at ADJUST2IT to learn more about Functional Fitness Chiropractic, Sports massage, Myofascial Release, Corrective Exercise, Non Surgical Spinal Decompression, Class IV laser,  and Functional Nutrition.