Back Pain, Neck Pain, Stretching

Back Pain: Is it just Normal Aging?

I get this question all the time. What is interesting is how many doctors and therapists ask me the same question. It does seem like the older we get, the more back pain we endure. I remember when I was 49 years old getting ready for my 50th birthday, all my friends teased me about the amount of pain I would be feeling once I turned 50. Of course, these are the same friends that teased me about the same thing at 40 too. I remember thinking, if they are right, who wants to be 50. Why not just die before 50 and save yourself all that pain. Just kidding, but I did laugh at them at 55 when I said I was not going to sit wait for the pain they promised at 50. I am 59 and still no pain, but I am sure my friends will promise the same pain at 60 too.

The truth of the matter is, age has little to do with your back pain! Barring a trauma to your back, most back pain did not start as a back problem. Back pain and subsequent disc damage comes from your posture, how you walk, shoes you wear, and inflexibility of the hips and/or neck. Think about this for a moment. You back is made up of 26 vertebrae with disc in-between. These bones cannot apply pressure without the use of your muscles. Damage to discs and nerves is the result of muscle pressure, not a bone that moves on its own.

If you sit a lot, chances are the front of your thighs or the inner thighs will shorten and you will feel morning back stiffness or stiffness when you get up out of a chair. I always chuckle a little when I see people wearing an elastic back brace to support their back. Even if you use the brace to lift things properly and use your legs, back stiffness can still occur. This happens because the thigh muscles tighten from the lifting and the pain can show up in your back.

As a practitioner, we are all taught to focus on the symptoms and not the cause. First of all, most doctors don’t have the time and most therapists need to study the mechanical movements of the human body. So when your back hurts, the practitioners focus is on stopping the pain by drugs, braces, deep tissue massage on the back, or strength training. All of these can actually make it worse,long term.

The surprise thing about upper back pain is that it can be caused by the way you walk. When your ankles only bend to 90 degrees, you will likely lead with your head putting a lot of pressure on your mid back and neck. The front of thighs play a role in this as well. yet few people ever think to look at the ankles when dealing with a back pain patient. Your practitioner can only do what they are taught to do. Most are not trained this way. I know I was not initially.

Here are some things to think about if you are experiencing back pain. Does you back hurt more when you stand for long periods of time, walk for a little distance, or when getting up out of a chair or bed? Chances are, it is your thighs, front or inner, and not your back.

Does your back hurt if you sit too long and you feel a need to stand up to stop the pain? Chances are the back of your thighs and calves are too tight. If you neck and mid back hurt, check your stride, are your shoulders rounded in, or is your head leaning forward? usually the chest muscles are too short, the front of your neck is short, or your stride is too short and that sets off the chest and neck to cause the pain.

To learn more about what to do, go to http://www.musclerepairshop.com or my YouTube channel at The Muscle Repair Shop.

Back Pain

The Secret to Stopping Low Back Pain!

Do you have to work to stand up every morning as you get out of bed? Usually, once you start walking, the pain will subside. How about when you get out of a chair after sitting for a while? Your low back can make you feel old? Or, what if you have to stand for a while? You feel the need to sit down to relieve your back pain. I have been there, done that!

In 2002 I was 42 years old and I felt all of those things. I just could not believe that I could be in that much pain. I was too young and too athletic to have my back disable me. I remember, at my worst, crawling out of my car onto my hands before I could stand up. That was crazy! Yes, I did exactly what everyone else did. I went to my doctor and she offered me some pills, then PT, then a back brace, especially when I was doing any activities. Finally, she said, if those didn’t help, surgery could be in my future. She certainly thought my back pain was here to stay for the rest of my life. I could not believe my ears. I had always been very strong. I was working out at the gym 3-5 days per week, running, and eating better that I ever had. I did all the things every professional had told me to do. I was mad!

Today, at 59 years old, I wake up with no pain. I work in my yard with no pain. I can do anything I want with NO PAIN! Want to know the secret? IT WAS NEVER MY BACK! You heard me right. I did have pain in my back. Every time I bent over and tried to stand up, there was pain in my back, but it was never MY BACK!

What I learned 15 years ago changed everything for me and I am sharing it with you today. I began studying the mechanics of the body and how the body balances from side to side and front to back. The muscles on one side will influence the muscles and bones on the other side. Next, I studied the relationship between my muscles and my bones. Believe or not, this stumps many doctors and therapists.The bones follow the muscles. This is scientific law, Wolff’s Law. Your muscles can, and will, apply pressure to your bones. You’ve heard of bone on bone in joints or compression of the vertebrae. This is a prime example of how the tension from the muscles literally wear out the bones and discs. Finally, I studied how the brain, mainly our emotions,and how it affects our muscles. Just a thought can create stress in our muscles which will make them contract as if we were lifting weights. When I put all that together, the secret to my back pain was right in front of me.

My back was hurting because the muscles on the front of my thighs and inner thighs were so tight from working out, working in my yard, and just moving through my life. When these muscles get tight they can shift the pelvis forward causing compression in my lower back. When I stood and gave them a moment, they would release partially which took the pressure off my back and I could move. Same thing happened when I sat too long. When standing, the pain in the back came from the muscles fatiguing while pulling against these muscles on the front that were short. Once I learned how to stretch them, I never had that problem again. The stretching we do at the gym or PT, will not work. I have developed a better stretching, Stretch n’ Release Technique that will teach you how to do it correctly.

How do you know if this is your back problem? If your back hurts when you stand up, you need pillows under your knees to ease the pain, back hurts after sitting. or when you get out of bed, you probably have the same issue. In my practice, 90% of my back pain clients have this same issue. Got to my video site at Youtube.com/themusclerepairshop/ to see videos of what I am talking about or you can go to http://www.musclerepairshop.trainerize.com and sign up to learn how to stop your back pain now!