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Author Topic: November 2006 healthletter.- The Best Exercises for Back Pain.  (Read 5990 times)

Steve Lockhart

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November 2006 healthletter.- The Best Exercises for Back Pain.
« on: November 07, 2006, 05:39:45 AM »
One question I get asked often by my patients and so thought would be a good subject for this months newsletter is ?what are the best exercises to do for back pain??

To begin, let me explain a bit of background as simply as I can.

Back pain is set up in the first place because certain muscles in the body are dysfunctional. That is the fibres are stiff and stuck together, they are dry and they don?t extend and contract the way they should because of a lack of lubrication from blood and lymph. Being in this condition affects the body?s movements overall and ultimately is what creates imbalances.

When a muscle is exercised it needs to release and contract efficiently as it pumps blood and lymph to all the fibres. The circulatory system carries oxygen and nutrients into the muscle and the carbon dioxide and waste products out during a workout and for the muscle to carry on working efficiently it needs this process to happen continuously.

The volume it has to move depends on the force the muscle is exerting and the speed at which it is working.

A dysfunctional muscle doesn?t do that well and under pressure the body protects it by keeping it in a permanently contracted state.

For this reason the exercise you do is very important because you don?t want it to overload and shut a muscle down, locking in the imbalances that already exist. Rather, you want the problem muscle to start to move and your goal is to try and get the circulation moving back into the muscle again as you coax it back to its working state. For this reason the exercises you do and more importantly the self treatment you perform, is critical in improving the condition of problem muscles in your body.

One of the reasons I created the SLM Yoga program was to provide a gentle form of exercise that would help me become more in tune with the different parts of my body. That way I could work out which areas were not moving properly and needed more focused attention with self treatment techniques, rather than just doing an exercise routine that would exasperate my problems. Once I had corrected the problems I identified I could do the other sports and exercises I liked without ending up with pain.

These days too many therapists prescribe the wrong exercises as a way of rehabilitating the problems in the body.

For example most people would tell you swimming was a good exercise to do when you had back pain but if one of your shoulders is locked up and you do freestyle which involves reaching forward with each stroke the tightness will just move down your body into your lower back and irritate the pain you already have. On the other hand if your shoulders are fine and your back pain is coming from somewhere else in the body then the freestyle would most likely be a good exercise to do.

Similarly most people would be led to believe that walking is a good exercise to do if you had back pain but if the problem muscles are in your legs and causing your pelvis to be tilted or rotated then every step you take will twist or pull the muscles and ligaments in your lower back which can irritate and inflame a problem you have there.

Without an exercise routine that allows you to feel your body and the movements that are restricted you would never be able to accurately determine whether you are someone that could safely do swimming or walking or some other form of easy exercise, as therapy for your lower back.

When a muscle in the body has been dysfunctional (dry, stiff and contracted) for a long time there is really very little you can do in the way of the run of the mill exercises that will get the circulation working though it properly, so that muscle keeps working under pressure. If this is attempted with even fairly gentle exercise such as walking or swimming it will generally irritate your pain. This is why specific self help techniques are important so the circulation can be improved without the muscle being under any pressure to function and provide strength or support as is the case with exercise.

So in summary, it is really important you know which muscles in your body are setting up your problem, plus other factors that might be contributing, before deciding which exercises you can do to provide a benefit rather than exasperate your problem and irritate your pain. One thing you should try to do in the early stages of your pain is determine exactly what is causing it so you can make better, more informed choices to do with your treatment and recovery.

That?s it for now, please post any questions you have in this forum.

I don?t have a recipe for you this month but I am trying to secure you access to a free book full of healthy recipes so hopefully that will happen for next month.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2009, 05:14:03 AM by Steve Lockhart »

 

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