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Reversing Injuries

Fixing a bad back

Making your body injury proof and fixing those "permanent" injuries you have.

Fixing a bad back

Postby Tony Manifold » March 24th, 2011, 3:07 pm


First a disclaimer: Unless otherwise stated, I stole this info from someone else. There are some great resources out there that I get a lot of info from (some of which I will mention) and I have also worked with some very good chiro's and PTs over the years which have added to my knowledge. I am also not a doctor or certified PT, so do your own research to back up what I say.

The first thing that is important is the why. What made my back hurt? If it was a recent injury, go to the doctor. Wether it is an MD, DO or chiro, see a professional.

One we have ruled out acute injury we can deal with long term issues. The first place to look is posture. A critical examination of your posture can give you a lot of clues as to weaknesses and tight muscles that can cause pain or injury. Mike Robertson and Eric cressey did a great series of articles on this for T-Nation.com call Neaderthal no more. Part one can be found here: http://robertsontrainingsystems.com/blo ... ic+Cressey


The basic concept is that from the front or back view your shoulders and hips should be parallell. Your head should sit straight up and down in the center of your body. And your knees and feet should be more or less pointing forward. From the side your pelvis should be neutrally titled the same for your shoulders. Your hips, upper back and back of the head should all be in line. Common problems include hips tilted forward (ie butt up) and shoulders rolled over (humpback).

For the hip tilt one of the best exercises is the split squat or variations like the bulgarian squat. This streches the muscles in front of the hip, while strengthening the glutes which need to be strong to keep the hips in the right place. Here is more info on the split squat:
http://robertsontrainingsystems.com/blo ... lit-squat/

For that upper back hump, there are two things you need to do. First is get more mobility. One way of doing that is thorasic extenstions with a foam roller. Basically put the roller on the floor and us it to extend your upper back over. start at the mid back and move up slowly arching back every inch or so.

The next thing is strengthing it. The guys at Westside Barbell use a modified seated good morning to train that area. Using lift weights on a barbell, sit on a bench and bend forward as if you were doing a good morning. Then break form and curl you upper back. Next arch your upper back and then return to the start position. If this works for guys whose back need to support a 1000 pound squat, it will strengthen your back. Matt Wenning shows the exercise during this portion of a series on squat technique. http://articles.elitefts.com/articles/t ... at-part-4/

The final thing that I will mention is core stability. This is one of my weakest areas. For years I have used "beach ab" type exercises and rarely because they suck to do. There is a lot of evidence that this focus on the rectus abdominals (ie the six pack) causes imbalances which lead to back pain. Key areas are the transverse Abdominis (ie Cat vomit), Obliques (side plank, One arm farmer, or waiter walks) and the posterior chains (reverse hypers, kettlebell swings, good mornings). Mike robertson has a good artcile on core stability here
http://robertsontrainingsystems.com/blo ... s-part-ii/

That will do for know I guess. Here are some more resources.

Robertson Training Systems - You may have noticed I am a fan of Mike Robertson. He is my first stop for Rehab stuff right now. His asses and correct DVD is very good.
http://robertsontrainingsystems.com

ericcressey.com/ Eric works a lot with Mike and is one of the authors of the Assess and Correct dvd mentioned above. He works a lot with pro baseball players and his shoulder stuff is great.

Elitefts.com A powerlifting sight but a lot of good rehab, strengthing articles

t-nation.com Bodybuilding specific site but features a ton of guest articles which are very helpful
Tony Manifold
 
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Joined: March 16th, 2011, 1:34 pm

Re: Fixing a bad back

Postby hw2084 » March 28th, 2011, 12:51 am


Thanks for the info! Seems like wise advice regarding the core exercises. I've stopped doing crunches and only do planks and birddogs now. Doing too many crunches can lead to imbalance, and more back pain due to weak back and psoas muscles.

While we're on the topic of recommending back treatment links, I found a couple of sites I like for diagnosing and treating psoas problems. I feel like psoas and quadratus lumborum problems are a frequent culprit of back pain, but are relatively unknown.

Here's a site with a good psoas stretch, better than the standard lunge, plus a great quadratus lumborum stretch:
http://www.floota.com/PsoasStretch1.html

And here's a site with lots of good background on why the psoas can contribute to back pain:
http://www.somatics.com/psoas.htm
hw2084
 
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Joined: January 22nd, 2011, 4:11 pm

Re: Fixing a bad back

Postby Tony Manifold » March 28th, 2011, 12:33 pm


I posted a nice long reply to you post but the computer lost it. Argh! So I will suffice to say nice post.
Tony Manifold
 
Posts: 18
Joined: March 16th, 2011, 1:34 pm

Re: Fixing a bad back

Postby Tony Manifold » March 28th, 2011, 1:08 pm


As a bit of a case study and an example of what I am talking about I will briefly discuss my back problems and what I am doing to fix it.

I have a long history of back injuries. The first big injury I remember was when I threw my back out playing football at 17-18. My back went so far out that my shoulders shifted about 2-3 inches to the right. In true meathead fashion I ignored doctors orders. It happened on a wedsnesday, I had a chiropractor appt on Thursday, We lost on Sunday and I was back at practice on Monday. So, first lesson learned: If the doctor says take two weeks off, take two weeks off. 15 years later, I am starting to learn that one.

I also joined the army at about this time. Army training is not back friendly. In addition to carrying about 100 pounds of kit on my back, I have had a number of training injuries which were not given time to heal. The army mentality, for years, has been a suck it up mentality. Slowly the army is learning that injuried soldiers should be given time to heal during training or else they are less effective down the road.

Do to these injuries, as well as a generally poor attitude to back health, I have developed some major imbalances and weaknesses in the hips, low back and upper back. I used to go to a chiropractor but it didn't work any more. For example, the standard twisting lower back adjustment ceased to cause any movement for my right side. When I did get movement, I would immediately go back to where I was. Now I have surmised that the muscle tightness/weakness is preventing adjustments from being effective.

Here is where I sit right now:
Anterior Pelvic tilt (lordosis) on the left side
Right side postior tilt
Minor Kyphosis (shoulder hump)
Easily injuried

Problem areas
Short/Tight left hip flexor, quad, psoas and erector spinous
Weak left glute, hamstring
Short/tight right glute, hamstring
Poor thorasic mobility
weak rombiods/upper back
short, tight chest and abs
Poor core stability

Corrective exercises
Split Squats
Good mornings
Glute Ham raise
Band pull aparts
Rows
Planks
Anti-rotational exericises (Example http://robertsontrainingsystems.com/blo ... s-part-ii/)
Cat Vomit (for Transverse abdominals)
Thorasic extensions and mobilizations
foam/ball rolling

This is in addition to my standard strength work out which typically involves a big bench day and a big Deadlift/squat day a week plus some extra assistance work. I also occasionally do a yoga based program that uses body weight to build some strength in muscles while in a streched positon.

The general goals is to loosen tight muscles while strengthening opposing muscle groups. Teach the weak muscles to do their job again. And come back to a neutral state. I plan on getting some more ART or deep tissue work done to help this along and once I am limber enough, it is back to the chiro to address the spinal joints themselves, although these exercises will help somewhat.
Tony Manifold
 
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Joined: March 16th, 2011, 1:34 pm

Re: Fixing a bad back

Postby BillBailey » April 5th, 2011, 6:50 pm


Several years ago I badly injured my lower back carrying some heavy studio lights in Germany and to make matters worse I was forced to sit in the back of a car for another week, while travelling around the country. Then every couple of hours I would have to get out and carry those lights again. The combination of repeated stiffness and continually forcing the muscle was agony and I have experienced recurring injuries in the same place on several occasions over the years, since it has never been right.

On top of that obvious problem mentioned above I have also spent the last 12 years hunched over the computer every day for work, which can ruin your posture over time. About three months ago I studied myself while standing sideways in the mirror and realised I was a mess. My head and neck were positioned forward like a chicken, while I had become seriously round shouldered and my hips were fixed well forward. In short, my standing position was basically a reflection of how I had been sitting for the last 12 years and I couldn't begin to imagine how I would put this right but using the Russian kettlebell with a double handed swing fixed my posture completely in 10 weeks and I no longer have any back ache.

Very unexpectedly it has even sorted out my knees that have been crackling since I was 20 whenever I bent down and now they are silent. Trying to touch my toes in the past was something that was almost tear inducing, due to ultra tight hamstrings that probably contributed to shin splints, but a few days ago I tried and was able to touch the ground with the flat palms of my hands without too much difficulty.

The only other strength exercise I am doing apart from the kettlebells are push ups with raised legs using some discs similar to the push up pro and it seems to be a good combination. I started skipping last week, which used to be hard for me because my lower legs would tire too quickly in the past but now I am managing quite easily and this is allowing me to improve my aerobic performance much more easily.

Overall I am thrilled by the results I have seen using the kettlebell; not so much for the strength but the way it has sorted out my posture etc. in such a short time. I shall keep going with it to make sure I maintain the new direction. Apart from a few wrinkles I am in better shape than I was 25 years ago.
BillBailey
 
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Re: Fixing a bad back

Postby Tony Manifold » April 5th, 2011, 10:21 pm


Glad everything is going good for you. A weak posterior chain is a huge reason for a lot of back pain. Kettlebell swings are a great exercise for that.
Tony Manifold
 
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Joined: March 16th, 2011, 1:34 pm

Re: Fixing a bad back

Postby BillBailey » April 6th, 2011, 1:30 pm


Tony Manifold wrote:Glad everything is going good for you. A weak posterior chain is a huge reason for a lot of back pain. Kettlebell swings are a great exercise for that.


The first time I picked up the 24 Kilo kettlebell I was concerned that I was very likely to seriously injure my lower back, especially given the swinging action, while I also thought my knees might take a bashing. Without doubt the first times I used the kettlebell it was very hard work and I'm sure I did the right thing by building up slowly.

Like many people my first interest in the kettlebell started when I read Tim's blog post written just before his book was released. Losing weight was never an issue for me but after all the positive things he was saying I thought I would give it a try and I'm glad I did. As you correctly pointed out a weak posterior chain is the cause of many problems and without realising it this was having a far more detrimental effect then I realised.

One point from the book which I took on board very seriously was the importance of injury prevention and basically preparing the body properly before undertaking serious exercise. I'm reminded how I quickly succumbed to injury in the past when I just started exercising without having previously prepared my body in the ways that Tim suggested. I think the kettlebell has been an excellent starting point and I'll take it gently forward from there.

At first, it wasn't apparent that the exercise was helping in this way, but then at a certain point after about eight weeks I suddenly realised I was standing much straighter without the round shoulders and forward leaning neck. I was also finding it easier to lift the weight, but my hips were still little forward. Then after another couple weeks I realised my hips were now in the correct position for probably the first time since I've been in adult. This was actually a little sore at first after being out of place for so many years, but now it's fine.

I was so impressed by this change, which really took me by surprise because I previously didn't have a clue how I could possibly repair all those years of neglect and damage. I had even asked a trained Bowen specialist for advice and she was unable to suggest anything particular beyond “try to stand straight". When I told her about the kettlebell and how miraculously it had worked for me, she told me she had never heard of it!
BillBailey
 
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Re: Fixing a bad back

Postby chal.nikkal » January 14th, 2015, 11:43 pm


couldn't begin to imagine how I would put this right but using the Russian kettlebell with a double handed swing fixed my posture completely in 10 weeks and I no longer have any back ache.
Very unexpectedly it has even sorted out my knees that have been crackling since I was 20 whenever I bent down and now they are silent. Trying to touch my toes in the past was something that was almost tear inducing, due to ultra tight hamstrings that probably contributed to shin splints, but a few days ago I tried and was able to touch the ground with the flat palms of my hands without too much difficulty. ???
aaa
chal.nikkal
 
Posts: 1
Joined: January 14th, 2015, 5:25 am


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