2 Things to know about back pain and “Random Thought” Friday

November 7, 2008

No back pain, with glutes like that!

No back pain, with glutes like that!

1. I’m pretty sure its been around a couple weeks since I posted last, so to make a post here’s collection of my currently random thoughts…

2. Lately there’s been several search engine searches related to back pain, and since this is a problem I’ve been dealing with on-and-off for the past 14 months or so I’m going to chime in with some insight I have gained both from my own education on the topic as well as the training I’ve been performing to deal with it.

The first thing I want to touch on is that the solution doesn’t involve those hot/cold therapy packs you can pick up in pharmacies or grocery stores. These are simply bandaid solutions that treat the symptoms as opposed to the underlying problem (the cause of your back pain). These therapies reduce or alleviate the symptoms so that you can resume your regularly activities again, but nothing has really changed in your body to prevent re-injury.

Very often the cause of back pain (or any other non-contact injury) is a result of something going wrong somewhere else in the body and pain is presented at a weak or the weakest link. So, commonly in back pain it is a hip issue – specifically an inability to move your hips (to the front, rear, left or right) as freely as they should. As a result of this lack of hip movement, the lower back is the point of compensation and so it moves more than it should (either in forward flexion, extension or rotation…or a combination of these). The lower back is what becomes upset and ends up hurting. (kepp in mind this is a very simplistic view for brevity’s sake).

In this case, the solution should be fix the hips and the lower back will no longer be placed in at-risk situations.

How do we fix the hips? Should you add more deadlifts? Maybe some more lunges? Is stretchign going to cure the problem? “I know, I haven’t been doing my hip mobility drills, maybe those will be what fixes the problem!”

Doing just one of these doesn’t seem to make much of a difference. I know this has been a mistake I’ve made up until a few months ago. At first, I thought “well I’ll just do more single leg work and drop some of my deadlifting and squatting”…so I tried that and shortly after I was healthy enough to deadlift/squat again, I reaggravated my lower back. The thing I have learned is that it really is a multi-faceted approach that works: stretch the muscles that need are short, foam roll knotted up tissue (big ones for me are my adductors [groin muscles]), improve movement patterning first during warm-ups then including these as strength exercises with added load, and strengthen stabilizing muscles that needed to be strengthened. This part could be a whole article by itself.

So bottom line: if your lower back hurts, don’t just think its a “lower back” problem…look at the rest of your body and how it moves. A qualified professional will be able to find the areas of need in an assessment. Also, trainers aren’t doctors or physical therapists so anything more than a minor pain seek out help from those qualified. If your on your way to recovery from a non-serious epidsode of lowerback pain, remember there’s numerous parts to the puzzle to get you healthy; don’t just focus on one aspect.

3) In the midst of my schoolwork and “term paper season”, I’m making it through strength coach Eric Cressey ebook on unstable surface training (think stability balls, etc). Eric, being only a few years older than me and already extremely successful is one of the coaches that I look to for quality training information. I’m about half way through the book, and already have a few pages of application worthy tidbits. When I’m finished the book, I’ll be sure to post a review.

4) The Toronto Raptors are 3-1 to start the 08-09 NBA season…so far the most successful pro team in Toronto for this year.

5) The Brock women’s soccer team advanced to the Nationals last week, and are playing this Saturday in the semis!!


5 Responses to “2 Things to know about back pain and “Random Thought” Friday”

  1. And here I go again… figured I’d check out the rest of your blog. As a physical therapist assistant I’ve seen quite a few pt’s with back pain. Many many times it’s tight hamstring muscles that lead to the back pain. I feel horrible for people who get surgery who’ve never tried just stretching their hamstrings. I’ve had low back pain since an injury and since then my hamstrings are also tighter which is leading to increase in my symptoms from the original injury.

  2. Chris Brown Says:

    Thanks for both of your posts!

    I checked out your blog, are you doing the new rules of lifting program or another one by Alwyn??

    Either way, good luck with the program! :)

  3. I’m doing the workouts from NROL. Though at times I think of ways to maim him for the workouts, the results are showing :). Finally getting one of the girls at work on board. Took forever to convince her she can lift something heavier than a can of soup…

  4. Chris Brown Says:

    Congrats and keep up the great work!! Also way to get other people onboard!

  5. tripplex5663 Says:

    Excellent post. I want to thank you for this informative read, I really appreciate sharing this great post. Keep up your work. Loveland CO Chiropractor Loveland CO Chiropractic

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: