Back to life or stuck in a rut?

I don’t know whether you have seen that I’ve been doing live streams on Facebook on my Kick Start Fat Loss Thurrock page. I tend to do motivation on Mondays and Thursdays and then tips yesterday and talking about workouts on Wednesday finishing the week on Friday talking about food.

Yesterday I was talking about back care so I thought I would do a blog just as a reminder of how important it is to exercise safely and effectively (and do your daily activities with the same thinking) so that you apply good technique to all your movement.

From what I have read, it would appear that few back injuries result from a single moment and are more often the accumulation of trauma that will eventually lead to an event so it is not the actual event itself that causes the injury. What appears to have happened is that finally the tissue failed, it could no longer stand the load.

Acute pain is something that has just started and may well last for 6–12 weeks but should start to get better during that time. If however it continues longer than 12 weeks then this would be classed as chronic which doesn’t necessarily mean that it is a majorly serious injury but that you have still got pain/dull aching after this length of time.

People who tend not to suffer too much from back pain really understand their bodies very well and are able to move freely and easily. When you look at athletes you can see how their bodies just flow as they move. They have an easy ability to control their motion.

So how do we move — it can be conscious where the brain tells the muscles to work to achieve movement, or it can be subconscious where we react. However if we have been injured this will change the way our brain communicates with our body creating poor movement patterns that bring about imbalance in how our muscles and joints work. And FYI back pain and sciatica does not necessarily mean tight hamstrings!

Some things to consider:-

Fast walking is better than slow which can make symptoms worse. The fast walk achieves more muscle activation and tissue load sharing and you really do have to consider your arm swing.

Arm swing — if you swing your arms from your elbow this will aggravate an already irritated back and is not the most effective way to move your body. The arms should be swinging from the shoulder.

Sitting — you need to be constantly moving, shifting the load through your tissues.

Standing — the same applies moving around, feeling the load changing within your body.

Job wise — make it varied rather than repetitive. Plan your day if you can to vary your activities.

Do not repetitively forward bend as this could lead to disc problems but more likely when you are younger than older.

People who have lower back pain will have made changes in their motor control systems to deal with it which will be causing the continued aggravation.

It tends to be that people with a larger waist that are more troubled with back problems.

Those who have had many years of back problems will have a lower muscular endurance threshold in their core/middle and probably less hip extension and internal rotation which would lead to thinking that the hip flexor is involved in the back pain.

It has also been noticed that people with back pain are not as good at breathing deeply and can also struggle more with balance.

Did you know that according to research you only need to achieve 10% muscle activation depending on the task and we are looking at stability throughout our activities.

Stability will not be obtained by targeting some muscles, your whole body has to move effectively, efficiently which may mean learning/re-learning movement patterns. Ultimately looking to get the right amount of stiffness to deal with load.

Remember when you train it should be for your health so don’t start copying what you see other people do. You need to be looking to:-

Rebuild motor/movement patterns so that it feels good

Help your whole body regain joint stability

Improve your muscular endurance

Then you can start to build strength

After this you can look to developing power, speed and agility.

So does your exercise programme do this? If you are interested in learning more about how to improve your mobility and reduce lower back pain, then please feel free to get in touch.