Yoga Poses that Strengthen Your Spine for Long Term Benefits

Often times, people don’t think about how important it is to have a strong and healthy spine. Especially now that the majority of people spend most of their days slumped over a computer screen or a smartphone. That’s why it’s so important to take time away from your devices to focus on your body, health, and well-being.

In this blog, we will discuss the top five yoga poses that you can use to optimize the health of your spine. Then we will explain why it’s important to maintain a strong and healthy spine for long term results and other ways to strengthen your spine outside of the yoga studio.

5 Yoga Poses that Strengthen Your Spine

The following yoga poses will help you build a stronger spine, which has many long term benefits.

1. Cobra Pose

Yoga Poses, Cobra Pose

How-To: Start flat on your stomach with your feet and legs pressed together. Allow your forehead to touch the floor and place your hands on either side of your chest with your fingers spread apart. Then breathe in as you lift your head and chest without using your hands. Next lift your hands about one inch off the floor and hold for a few breathes. Lower yourself on an exhale.

Long Term Benefits: This pose will strengthen and tone the muscles in your back while increasing the flexibility and stability of your body.

2. Locust Pose

Locust Pose

How-To: Just like the Low Cobra, start face down on your stomach with your feet and legs pressed together. Allow your chin to rest on the floor while you interlace your fingers behind you. On an inhale lift your head, chest, and arms reaching back towards your feet. Hold for a few breaths then lower on an exhale.

Long Term Benefits: The locust pose will help you strengthen your back muscles and correct any rounding of the shoulders. It’s also good for your spinal region since this pose is the beginning pose for learning a backbend.

3. Bridge Pose

Bridge Pose

How-To: Start lying flat on your back then bend your knees and place your feet on the ground hip-distance apart near your buttocks. Lay your arms out flat along your body with your palms on the ground. Then exhale, tilt your tailbone towards your pubic bone, flatten your back, and prepare to lift. On an inhale you will lift your hips upwards, allowing your chest and spine to curve. Stay there for a few breaths then lower on an exhale.

Long Term Benefits: This is one of the best yoga poses if you’re looking to strengthen the lumbar and buttocks/gluteal area. It also helps strengthen your shock absorption ability.

4. Warrior I Pose

Warrior I Pose

How-To: Start in Tadasana (aka Mountain pose) with your feet together and your hands at your sides with the palms facing the front of the room. Then step one foot back about three feet. Turn the toes on your back foot to a 45 degree angle then inhale and raise your arms straight up with your palms facing each other. Breathe out and bend your right knee 90 degrees. You can hold this pose for a few breaths then switch sides.

Long Term Benefits: During Warrior I, you will strengthen your arms and back muscles. This is great for the long term health of your entire body.

5. Child’s Pose

Child's Pose

How-To: Begin on your hands and knees with your knees spread hip distance apart. Rest your buttocks on your heels then bow forward, allowing your torso to rest on your thighs and your forehead comes to the floor. Extend your arms with your palms facing down or together. Hold for a few minutes then walk your hands back up while you lift your body and sit upright.

Long Term Benefits: This is a great pose to do at the end of all this. It opens the spine and stretches out the back.

Other Ways to Strengthen Your Spine

Outside of the yoga studio, you can also help the function of your spine through chiropractic care. Kelsall Chiropractic in Portland, Oregon offers the best in chiropractic care, massage therapy, and understands the benefits of spinal strengthening that yoga offers.

Our team of trained professionals help patients find health and happiness within their bodies so they can live a long and prosperous life. Strengthening the spine through yoga along with chiropractic care to optimize spinal health, ensures you are on the right track to see optimal long term results.

Kinesiology Taping and Functional Movement Technique® (FMT) Using RockTape®

Kinesiology taping can offer structural or muscle support, affect lymph function, assist in correcting joint problems, and decrease pain. When properly applied by a practitioner, the tape alleviates discomfort and facilitates lymphatic drainage by microscopically lifting the skin away from the muscle and fascia, which decompresses the area to reduce swelling/inflammation while enabling a more effective flow of blood and lymphatic fluid in and out of the affected area.

Taping can also lessen muscle fatigue, which is important not only for the parts of your body that are currently hurting, but also for the surrounding areas that may be compensating for muscles that are currently not working well. It is a non-restrictive type of tape, offering full movement of a taped area.

Unlike other kinesiology taping techniques, where strict protocol is key and specific muscles are taped for specific conditions using directional taping to activate or inhibit muscles, RockTape and Functional Movement Techniques (FMT) are more about taping for movement, not muscles. The goal of using RockTape is to encourage movement.

FMT is useful in acute, sub-acute, and chronic stages of injury healing as well as throughout active rehab. There are FMT applications for decreasing pain (Pain Taping), increasing circulation and movement of lymph (Fluid Dynamics Taping), postural applications (Posture Taping), nerve entrapment (Nerve Entrapment) and even for scar tissue (Scar Taping).

FMT begins with a simple framework that is applied consistently throughout the approach and is open source, allowing practitioners from a variety of disciplines to make FMT work for their practices and clients.

The FMT framework for Pain Taping uses between 1-3 pieces of RockTape. These are known as the stabilization strip(s) and the decompression strip. Stabilization strips typically run along the length of the area being taped. For example, if the low back is indicated as the location of pain, a stabilization strip would be applied from the sacroiliac joint toward the lower ribcage and parallel to the spine.

The client is positioned to lengthen the area being taped, and in this case, a flexed forward position. This stretches the posterior fascial chain and skin before the tape is applied. Lengthening will produce significant decompression and lifting and without restricting the client’s ability to move. The stabilization strip is applied with little to no stretch.

After the stabilization strip is in place, a decompression strip is applied perpendicular to the stabilization strip and over the area of the client’s greatest pain. The decompression strip is applied using 0-50% stretch in the middle of the strip and with no stretch on the tape at the anchors. More than one decompression strip may be used in an application for targeting multiple areas of focal pain.

The practitioner will rub the applied strips on skin to activate the adhesive tape.

RockTape and Functional Movement Techniques can be used on almost any client, at any time, and can be used for virtually all clinical conditions. Different sizes of tape can be applied, length of stabilization strips can be altered depending on the location of application, and the number and position placement of decompression strips can vary as well allowing the practitioner some variances to obtain best results for their clients.

Low Back Pain: Releasing the Iliopsoas for Relief

Having low back pain? Look to the front! Specifically the anterior thigh and the hip flexor muscles.

The Psoas major and Iliacus muscles, together called Iliopsoas, is a large muscle that is involved in the action of hip flexion. With muscle fibers originating from the lateral aspect of the twelfth thoracic vertebrae, all lumbar vertebrae and their corresponding discs, and the iliac fossa, and then attaching to the lesser trochanter of the femur, which is high up on the interior thigh, this large muscle is also involved in lateral rotation and adduction of the hip, and flexion of the torso.

The psoas initiates walking while the iliacus is active throughout walking. Iliopsoas plays a significant role in postural stabilization, contributing to the natural curve of the lumbar spine by controlling the pelvic tilt.

Although these two muscles, psoas major and iliacus, are often viewed as one muscle and as a singular discrete unit of movement, it’s important that anyone doing manual therapy can also differentiate the muscle fibers of psoas and iliacus individually in order to fully assess and treat.

In a recent seminar entitled Releasing the Iliopsoas presented by Peggy Lamb MA, LMT, NCTMB Ms. Lamb discussed the manual therapy technique she developed and named Muscle Swimming used to work this muscle. The core components of Muscle Swimming are:

1) Warming the tissue and freeing the fascia before any deep tissue work using Swedish massage strokes.

2) Pin and rock which, after passively shortening the muscle, combines pinning the muscle with a broad, dispersed pressure while using a slow rhythmic rocking of the joint. Rocking stimulates a parasympathetic response and allows the patient to relax and thus the tissue can soften and now be worked deeper.

3) Pin and move where the patient is now an active part of the technique. The muscle is first placed into a shortened state and then stretched to just the first barrier and pinned. The patient performs, in a slow controlled motion, the actions of the muscle. This is repeated 4-5 times then check-in with the patient for any noted change. If none or little change, then the therapist can either add resistance to the movement or try a different movement pattern.

4) Work the muscle from different positions. Ms. Lamb also detailed specific protocols using her Muscle Swimming for working/releasing iliopsoas and the secondary thigh flexors. When working the iliopsoas muscles it is always a good idea to first begin work with the secondary hip flexors: rectus femoris, adductors longus, brevis and magnus, Sartorius, TFL as these muscles can also be involved when the iliopsoas is problematic.

Address Low Back Pain and Other Symptoms

So, what are some indications that you need to have the iliopsoas worked on? Low back pain, pain in the anterior thigh, pain the in the lateral thigh due to active trigger points, and difficulty rising from a seated position are just a few that a Portland chiropractor can address by working on the iliopsoas.

Hold Your Head High: Knowing Your Neck

The neck is a delicate structure. Neglecting its well-being can lead to big trouble. Read on to learn about the neck’s complex nerves and bones, and how they interact to keep you going.

The nervous structure of the neck begins at the top of the spinal cord, which extends downward from your brainstem. The powerful nerves contained inside control every process of your body, from regulating your breathing to coordinating arms and legs to keeping your stomach digesting its food. They also enable you to move the surrounding muscles to nod your head or turn to look to the side. Naturally, this makes protecting these nerves crucial — which is the job of the bone structure.

The neck is made up of seven bones known as the “cervical spine.” Its curve begins developing when you are a baby and can just hold your head up to look around things. A properly-developed cervical curve ensures that your spinal cord is in alignment to promote normal function in the rest of your body.

Because the neck requires so much flexibility, its structure is delicate and prone to injury. Falls, car wrecks, sports accidents or other harmful injuries to the area can cause persistent long-term pain, as well as impaired nerve function or even paralysis.

If you’re noticing pain in your neck area, it’s important to get to a qualified chiropractor or other medical professional right away. While the inflammation and discomfort caused by an injury may initially seem minor and subside with over-the-counter medications, untreated problems can grow into major health risks.

An injury to the neck or back can cause pain to spread to other areas of the body. According to Shehee and Callahan Family Orthodontics, an orthodonist in Pensacola, the link between the neck and the jaw is very real: “there’s a strong relationship between neck health and development and jaw health. Because of the connection between the two, combining orthodontic treatment with chiropractic treatment after an accident or injury can produce better outcomes for many patients.”

Don’t want until there’s a problem — regular maintenance of your neck area is always a good investment. Qualified professionals can help you adjust your curvature and alignment to increase its functionality and enhance your quality of life.

For those in the Portland area, contact Kelsall Chiropractic for neck pain chiropractic treatments and care. If you are seeking a Fort Worth chiropractor, consider the help of ChiroPlus Clinics for specialized treatments.

How to Treat Back Pain Affected by Winter Weather

Many people report that their back pain can get even more severe during seasonal changes, especially at the onset of winter. After years of dealing with the discomfort and recognizing the first warning signs, some back pain sufferers can predict early winter weather developments more accurately than the local meteorologist.

It’s clear that seasonal changes can affect chronic conditions, but the question remains: what treatment options do you have when cold temperatures are affecting you? Here are some tips on how to treat back pain that is inflamed by winter weather.

When to Visit a Chiropractor

Even mild pain can be reason enough to schedule a visit with a back pain doctor. Just because your pain is seasonal and may diminish in time doesn’t mean you should avoid treatment. Don’t tough it out. Look for solutions!

If it’s your first visit, they will want to know about any history related to your pain. Be ready to tell them when it began, how long flare ups (if any) generally last, and common times for it to get better or worse. Definitely let them know if your back ever caused you to visit an orthopedic surgeon or an emergency room.

Treating Seasonal Back Pain

There are a few tips that can help you cope with severe discomfort during a temperature drop.

  1. Bundle Up

When being cold is causing you pain, it’s extra important to dress appropriately for the weather. Add an extra layer when you feel a cold snap coming on. Also, make sure you have all the warm accessories — hat, gloves, long underwear, etc.

  1. Stretch

Keeping your back loose and limber may reduce the chances of a flare up. It all depends on the specifics of your condition. Some people may experience negative effects from stretching. Make sure you consult with a doctor before starting a regular routine.

  1. Keep Heat on Your Back

Body trimming belts, available at fitness stores, are effective at delivering heat to the back. They are intended as waste slimmers, but the extra heat might be just what you need for pain prevention in the winter. Otherwise, consider using heat packs or similar products.

Schedule a Solution

The best solution of all is to seek professional back pain treatment from a chiropractor. There, you will find treatment options that get results during the worst stretches winter and throughout all the major seasonal changes of the year. Schedule an appointment with our Portland chiropractor today to make sure you aren’t slowed down by colder temperatures. If you are in the Denver Area, connect with Heritage Health for Centennial chiropractic care, including back pain support.

Kelsall Chiropractic Video

Hello, I’m Dr. Karen Kelsall and I started this clinic in 1997 to create a relaxing environment for chiropractic care, massage therapy, and other healing techniques. Come on in and I’ll show you around.

With my background as an Olympic gymnast and dancer, and my associate, Dr. Weber’s background as an international wrestler, we know what it takes to strengthen and train the body to perform well and recover from injury. We treat athletes, seniors, working professionals, families, and anyone experiencing pain from an injury or accident.

At Kelsall Chiropractic, we invite you to enjoy our relaxing environment while you receive an integrated approach to health and wellness.

Our clinic services include manual chiropractic manipulation, as well as gentler techniques. Therapeutic exercises, deep tissue massage before each chiropractic adjustment, cold laser to reduce inflammation and facilitate tissue healing, Graston Technique to relieve scar tissue, Leander Table to facilitate joint opening and relaxation, and melt: a technique the hydrates fascia and reduces pain.

We work with each patient to develop a plan that meets his or her individual condition and that can be maintained for long term health.

Contact us today to setup an appointment for during which we can evaluate your spinal health. No matter where you are in life, your spine and nervous system are vital partners in keeping you active and in balance.

Therapeutic Taping : Spider Tape

Kinesiology tape, invented by a Japanese chiropractor, has been gaining popularity since the 1980’s but most famously gained sight in the previous summer Olympics. There are now many brands producing similar lines of elastic therapeutic tapes; spider-tape, kinesio tape, rock tape, performtex. They are all readily visible on numerous professional athletes. No matter the brand, the function is all very much the same. Due to the tensioned property of the elastic tape it is able to microscopically lift the skin, allowing for increased lymphatic drainage and reducing pain. This effect allows your body to flush out the inflammatory products created from an injury, and bring fresh blood to heal the area quicker. The tape can stay adhered for up to 4 days, functioning as 24-hour daily treatment. Spider tape is made from breathable cotton with a poly-acrylic adhesive. There is no latex in the product, and it is 100% waterproof.

Your chiropractic physician at Kelsall Chiropractic uses Spider-Tape in Portland to treat the following conditions:

Lower back strain/sprain
-Postural imbalances
-Shin splints
-Rotator cuff injuries
-Ankle sprains
-Tennis elbow
-Golfer’s elbow
-Patella tracking
-Pre and post surgical edema
-Knee conditions

Further information links and videos:

Spider Tech
Spider Tech: Video
Instructional Video: Shoulder Kinesiology Taping
Kinesio Taping
The Guardian: Dr Kenzo Kase: My magic tape can aid injured muscles

10 Reasons To Ask Your Chiropractor About A New Pillow Or Mattress

When To Get A New Mattress

1. Neck discomfort is noticed as you get out of bed.

2. You spend a lot of time changing sleep positions throughout the night. Can’t get


3. Headaches that originate at the base of your skull.

4. You have low back pain every morning.

5. Mattress is over 6 years old.

6. It’s only possible to get comfortable with several pillows stacked/bunched/rolled etc.

7. Discomfort is felt in your shoulder or hip while lying on your side.

8. Quality of sleep has gradually worsened over time.

9. You don’t feel well rested in the morning.

10. You’ve tried everything else!

The chiropractic physicians at Kelsall Chiropractic Clinic can help direct you towards the correct mattress or pillow that will further improve your quality of life. In the next blog we will talk about choosing the right mattress or pillow, and recommendations for knowledgeable, locally-owned retailers nearby.

Correcting Posture

The position you sit, stand, or perform daily activities are all related to your posture. The potential for injury increases tremendously with poor posture. Prolonged sitting is a frequent cause of back and neck pain and overall body fatigue. Some simple modifications to your positioning can take a lot of stress off your joints, and allow for more energy throughout the day.

The chiropractic physicians at Kelsall Chiropractic are trained specialists in locating postural stresses and correcting them. With most patients a standing and seated examination will help determine which areas need the most attention. The practitioner will observe various anatomical structures including the position of your head, shoulder, hip, pelvis, knee, and feet and in relation to the spine. Chiropractic manipulation, massage therapy, and other related treatments would provide relief; however combining patient education with home care will allow for greater improvements.

Common complaints from a person who sits most of the day while working on a computer, or doing desk work include; tightness in the upper back and shoulders, headaches due to forward head placement, lower back strain, fatigue and shallow breathing patterns. Many of the complaints can be corrected with some simple exercises. It is very difficult to retrain habits, especially with poor posture, but the payoff is exponential.

Simple ways to help with postural stress and fatigue are; take frequent micro-breaks and stand up, practice light stretching or range of motion of your arms and legs and incorporate yoga and meditation. Postural awareness exercises, such as the Brugger’s position teach patients how “perfect posture” should feel, and awakens the appropriate muscles through habitual training. Below you can see the how the Brugger position can be performed while standing or seated.

Brugger’s Postural Awareness Exercise

1.) Sit on edge of a chair or stand in neutral position

2.) Elevate chest diagonally towards ceiling

3.) Bring shoulder blades together and downwards, letting shoulder roll back and arms hang down with palms open

4.) Look straight forward and position head in neutral position.

Hold position with full belly-breathing for 30 seconds per hour, within pain-free tolerance

Posture_Portland Chiropractor

To learn more about improving the performance of your body through Portland chiropractic care or massage therapy, contact Kelsall Chiropractic Clinic, P.C. today at (503) 223-8719.

Graston Technique

Graston Technique is an instrument assisted soft-tissue mobilization treatment. Utilizing medical-grade stainless steel instruments practitioners are able to treat fibrotic tissue by detecting variations in texture of the problematic area with more precision and effectiveness. The treatment is similar to cross-friction massage in that it creates a controlled microtrauma by breaking apart scar tissue from poorly healed injuries.

The clinicians at Kelsall Chiropractic may include the Graston Technique in Portland in a treatment plan to effectively reduce and prevent scar tissue or fascial restrictions.

Graston is typically used in sport injuries chiropractic, treatment of postural stress, rehabilitation of postsurgical scarring, and treatment of auto accidents. It also has proven effective on plantar fasciitis, sprains, strains, headaches, and carpal tunnel.

Treat Inflammation, Improve Blood Flow

The treatment area reacts with a controlled, low-level inflammation, increased blood flow, and a breakdown of mismanaged collagen fibers, allowing for replacement of new muscle, ligament, or tendon. Basically, initiating and speeding up your bodies natural healing mechanism. Some patients temporarily experience bruising, redness, or increased sensitivity leading to increased flexibility and decreased pain.

Ask your practitioner if a course of Graston Technique is a necessary addition to your treatment for:


Cervical sprain/strain (neck pain) Lumbar sprain/strain (back pain)
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (wrist pain) Plantar Fasciitis (foot pain)
Lateral Epicondylitis (tennis elbow) Medial Epicondylitis (golfer’s elbow)
Rotator Cuff Tendinosis (shoulder pain) Patellofemoral Disorders (knee pain)
Achilles Tendinosis (ankle pain) Fibromyalgia
Scar Tissue Trigger Finger
Shin Splints


For further information, visit the Graston Technique website.