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Posts Tagged ‘core strengthening’

Back Pain Relief: Part 2

Back Pain Relief: Part 2 – Solutions

Preventing Pain Before It Begins
Since pain occurs after the imbalances arrive, not before, relying on pain as the only indicator that your interconnective chain may be imbalanced or overstressed could lead you to a life of back problems. While statistically it is likely that you will suffer from back pain at some point in your life, taking preventative measures may help reduce the severity of the strain and positively impact recovery time.

Keeping your posterior chain (calves, glutes, hamstrings and lower back) strong and flexible is one of the best things you can do to prevent back pain. Exercises that increase balance, flexibility and strength can decrease your risk of injuring your back, falling, or breaking bones. (5)

 

Long-Term Back Pain Relief
Any sufferer of back pain will tell you that their immediate objective is to reduce pain and restore mobility. While the natural tendency may be to rest, exercise may be the most effective way to speed recovery from low back pain. A Finnish study found that persons who continued their activities without bed rest following the onset of low back pain  appeared to have better back flexibility than those who rested in bed for a week. (6)

Exercise, including stretching and strengthening of the muscles along the posterior chain (calves, glutes, hamstrings and lower back) has been shown to benefit many lower back pain sufferers by restoring muscle balance, strength and flexibility. 5, 7

  • Strengthen your core: Not surprisingly, a person in good physical condition will generally reduce their risk of back injuries while the risk for those with weak core fitness is nearly doubled. Your core is made up of much more than your abs. So be sure to focus on the bigger picture. True core exercises work both your posterior chain and anterior chain (abdominal muscles) to increase your strength and flexibility.
  • Increase flexibility: By stretching the muscles in the posterior chain and anterior chain, you can maximize your flexibility and drastically reduce your risk of muscle imbalance injury. Key muscles to target include the gluteus maximus, piriformis, the iliotibial (IT band) and hamstrings. Tight hamstrings can cause the hips and pelvis to rotate back flattening the lower back and causing back problems.
  • Work on coordination and balance: Just walking regularly for exercise can help you maintain your coordination and balance. Performing balance exercises can also help to keep you steady on your feet and reduce the risk of micro injuries.
  • Check the foundation: Your feet are designed to protect you against the shock your body feels when you take a step. Every time the heel of your foot hits the ground, a shock wave travels up through your body, all the way to your head. A healthy body will absorb this shock. But if your feet are not in their correct functioning position, more of this shock is allowed to move through the body to weaken other joints including the hips and spine. So be sure that your feet are healthy, that your arches are properly supported and your shoes are providing maximum shock absorption.

A Medically Proven Solution
Originally developed for use by physical therapists, the CoreStretch was developed to provide the deepest, most effective way to stretch your posterior chain and restore muscle
flexibility and interaction, thereby, increasing range of motion, reducing pain, preventing further injury, and speeding up recovery. In fact, studies have shown the CoreStretch to be an effective way to stretch the hamstrings and contribute to posterior chain flexibility.

Unlike conventional stretching methods that force the back to curve, the unique design of the CoreStretch decompresses the back, enabling a deeper, more effective stretch of the posterior muscle chain supporting your back, spine, and legs.

The CoreStretch provides a stretch that both allows the tissues to relax and elongate developing the major muscle groups that make up the core. That’s why in therapeutic environments the CoreStretch is used to treat back, shoulder and hip pain, piriformis, fibromyalgia ,sciatica, arthritis and osteoporosis.

Most people find that just a few minutes of stretching every day with the CoreStretch reduces the pain associated with RMIs and improves quality of lifeis a light-weight and  portable stretching device that takes the guesswork out of stretching your back muscles and relieves the pain associated with RMIs

Comprehensive
The CoreStretch provides the same instant decompression and relief you get with inversion tables by creating a natural, safe traction that you can control but goes beyond the immediate relief to become part of a more comprehensive program that delivers long-term repair. The three-plane swivel enables up-and-down, side-to-side, and twisting motions for the entire posterior chain — back, hips, hamstrings, shoulders and glutes. And with three levels of fitness and 10 sizing options, the CoreStretch provides the optimal stretching tool which can easily and effectively be used in seated, standing or floor positions.

Portable
Light-weight and collapsible, the CoreStretch can conveniently be taken to the office or job site to be used daily, even several times a day as a fast an effective way to break the repetition and combat RMIs.

For causes of back pain read Back Pain Relief: Part 1 – Causes

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Are You Suffering from a Chain Reaction Injury

Chain Reaction Injuries – They’re Not What You Think They Are

You’ve probably heard it all your life…the toe bone connected to the foot bone, and the foot bone connected to the ankle bone, and the ankle bone connected to the leg bone…   So it’s really no great leap of faith to think of your ligaments, muscles, bones, and tendons as an interconnected chain that work together to ensure your ability to stand, sit, walk or run.

So why is it that we so often try to treat the symptoms of our pain rather than look at the chain as a whole?

Case in point:  We recently read an article about TCU athlete Clint Renfro.  This young man is an outstanding athlete.  But Renfro’s first years at TCU were plagued by one minor injury after another. Note the word “minor”.  No one injury, in and of itself, seemed to be enough to force him to the sidelines.  Yet that’s where he remained – on the sideline or more appropriately, with the athletic trainers.

Although he initially suffered from hamstring pulls and lower back pain.  Then he began to experience increasing foot pain (which was later diagnosed as Achilles tendonitis).  When we think back to the interconnective chain we really shouldn’t be surprised by this domino effect.

When one of the links in your body’s interconnective chain is broken (pulled, sprained, inflamed) other areas in your body suffer. In an attempt to maintain your performance levels, other parts of your body compensate for the ‘kink or break’ in your chain. What may have started out as a simple muscle imbalance or slight injury can ultimately lead to increased injury, pain, and potentially a significant breakdown of your body’s interconnective chain.

A breakdown within your interconnective chain can cause you to alter your focus. Instead of solving the actual problem, you are drawn towards the area surrounding it; those muscles forced to bear the burden of compensating for the weakness of the real problem.

Whether you are a weekend warrior, a competitive athlete, athletic trainer, physical therapist or just someone who’d like to live without pain, we challenge you to do a true evaluation of muscle strength and compensation.  Look for the real problem.  See which muscles are compensating for others.  Realize that next time you suffer an injury the breakdown in your chain is not always what it seems, start from the bottom (your feet) and move towards finding a solution that ensures long-term healing.

So, what happened to Renfro?  When his injuries continued and his healing did not, Renfro sought the specialists. After dozens of consultations and increasing personal frustration, Renfro was finally diagnosed with the real problem.  A previously undetected dislocation in his right foot was determined to be the spark that lit the fuse leading to four years of fire to Renfro’s health.  Renfro suffered a simple ankle sprain, but the damage caused a chain reaction that manifested into years of injury and frustration.

You can read more on Renfro at the link below (originally printed in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram): http://texasjournalofchiropractic.eznuz.com/printFriendly.cfm?articleID=23079

Your body’s only as strong as your weakest link?  What’s yours?

Your Back Pain May Be All in Your…Legs?

A misalignment of your body no matter how small, can wreak havoc from your head to your toes. Because the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints in your body act as links in an interconnective chain it takes these links working together to allow you to accomplish basic motions like sitting, walking, and running. If any one of these links is injured or not functioning properly the entire chain suffers. For millions of people each year that breakdown occurs first in their legs and feet.

The Weak Recruit the Strong

Lower body muscle imbalances put the back and lower extremities at high risk of injury. Weak muscles cause tighter, stronger muscles to be recruited by the central nervous system in order to perform the same movement, doing jobs they were never intended to do. Often time weak legs or misaligned lower body extremities cause tighter core muscles to be recruited in order to support the back. Over time this can cause pain in the joints, muscle strains, and/or injuries. Most people don’t realize they have these imbalances until it’s too late.

Make Your Legs Work for You

You can realize both short-term relief and long-term healing by making sure your feet and legs are doing their jobs properly. Building stability, flexibility, and strength in your lower body, helps ensure the lower body is functionally supporting your back.

A simple step that leads to short-term relief is promoting stability and proper alignment. Walking, training or stretching with your legs and feet parallel, hip-distance-apart, with your toes pointed forward and your hips balanced over your knees will promote basic alignment. Also using supportive foot care products, such as Tuli’s reinforcing insoles or heel cups, will help to prevent misalignment caused by the feet or ankles. Maintaining correct structure is only possible if the muscles and fascia are balanced and operating correctly.

The next steps that will help to heal and alleviate pain from your back include stretching and strengthening your lower body muscles.  Although the skeletal system aligns our body, it is our soft tissues (muscles) that pull our alignment out of place.  Focus on stretching your hamstrings to recover correct posture, your piriforms which run from your thigh bone to the base of the spine, and your gluteus muscles for hip flexibility and pelvis support. The CoreStretch helps to provide an extended stretch for your hamstrings, hips and back.  Squats, lunges, or even lateral leg lifts will also increase strength and flexibility of tight, lower-body muscles. Such self-care solutions can help take you toward reducing and preventing back pain.

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