Back Pain Article

Back pain Article


I am not a therapist I’m a movement and performance coach and this is a collection of information I’ve gathered over the 16 years in the fitness industry.

There is not one type of back pain there are many different variations of back pain.

I myself have a lower back disc injury sustained over 12 years ago training vigorously for competitions and not adhering to warning signs (too goal focused) I recently have had a Microdiscectomy ( back surgery) and all this since my original back injury has encouraged me to learn more over many years about back injuries and back pain in general looking at literature, studies and continuous education on movement quality and performance.

If you’ve got tight hips, being able to Squat deep can be a grind and even if you do manage to get deep (with compensation), you’ll often end up with sore knees. You could have tight hips and not know it because it’s something you’ve adapted to.

Forward Bending can wreak havoc on your back because you can’t maintain a neutral lumber (Neutral spine is different foreveryone). And you’re running gate is limited because when your hip fully extends, tightness slows it down, slowing YOU down.

But when you “release the brakes”, or learn how to you can quickly gain motion, strength, speed and power simply because you’re not fighting against your own body anymore.

Plus, nagging knee pain can become a thing of the past because your body no longer has to compensate for your tightness.

One thing that happens to people with low back pain is that they become rigid. Thing is, 80% or more of people experience low back pain at some point, which contributes to our tightness.

Mechanical back pain is related to the muscular system. The postural muscles of the body, such as the quadratus lumboroum , hamstring’s, piriformis (muscles on the back side) and many more tend to alter in length  due to poor posture. Poor static posture promotes tightness or shortness in the tonic muscles (flexor muscles) located mainly in the front of the body.

Conversely the phasic muscles (extensor muscles) located mainly in the back of the body become weak or inhibited this version of back pain can be remedied with a properly designed exercise approach and movement screening is one key element to properly asses movement and functionality , and contrast those finding’s with a medical history evaluation.

Mechanically speaking the pull of the posterior muscles is altered. Muscles that are designed to initially stabilize now become prime or associated movers. Muscles that are designed to lengthen during certain lifting movements, now contract against a limited range of motion that may promote injury, in other words muscle sequence and muscle behaviors have altered. Performed repetitively the central nervous system is programed to memorize this pattern and translate it to everyday functionality.


This version of back pain can be remedied with a properly designed exercise approach.

(There are many different various versions of back pain!) In simplistic terms, muscles that are tight can become lengthened. Muscles that are weak can become strengthened. Just doing a stretching program is not enough to impact or promote nervous system change and improve mobility and movement patterns, So what to do then!


The key is to properly assess movement and functionality, and contrast those findings to a medical history evaluation. Each individual should have a customized program specific for them based on this information.

There is no cookie cutter approach or one set of exercise’s that fixes everyone so don’t’ be tricked into or believe people that tell you just strengthen the core and that will fix your back pain.

Generic program’s or exercise’s prescribed to you via alternate mediums or by some fitness guru or trainer who has not screened or assessed you properly are essentially making assumptions or guess work!

If you don’t won’t to be hindered by back pain! And the consequences from back pain and the lifestyle it hinders then at least get assessed! If you want to know more then

Click on our free movement assessment link

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More than just an exercise

Why do I like the push up so much? Well here are some of the many benefits you get from the push up.

You can draw some stability from the floor in using our hand print

It Creates Compression for the shoulder joint which when aligned has a reflex rotator cuff stabilizing effect.

Challenging trunk stability and anterior core function

Challenging spine alignment, cervical posture

Requires hip extension pelvic control

Requires scapular motion with control (shoulder blade gliding on ribs) Not winging off the ribs.

The push up requires a full body contribution, controlling body through space resisting gravity.

The other benefit is it’s a very versatile exercise.

Once you have progressed to preforming push ups with good technique you won’t need to do planks in your training.

While the push up is often used as a strength exercise for the chest and arms, it demands the strength of the core, hips and hands. It also requires flexibility in the wrists, stability in the shoulders, plus endurance, breathing, coordination and even awareness of where you are in space. When you take all of this into consideration you realize it’s not a simple exercise but relatively complex exercise when done properly.

The flip side to this is if you preform the push up with poor technique you will forfeit most of if not all of these benefits.

As what I see in a lot of training programs and circuit style, group, boot camp style training is the push up being butchered and miss used which not only minimizes results but also increases micro trauma and stress to connective tissue and joint structures. In turn this has a negative effect on the nervous system as well.

This is why I believe technical proficiency is a must! When doing the push up to get the maximum benefits from this fantastic exercise, the focus shouldn’t be on how many you do but rather how well you do them.


If you don’t have the requisite strength or struggle doing push ups you should start making sure you have the requisite mobility then with a static holding position usually on an incline to learn how to hold optimal posture with good breathing patterns then progress to static holds on the floor and start your push ups on an incline and master it there before moving on.

Push pus done correctly



Push ups done poorly !

push ups done poorly



Starts here incline push up holds start 10 seconds and work up to 30 seconds then gradually decrease incline till your on the floor, take note of her alignment from the top of her head to the bottom of her feet learn how to hold alignment and resist gravity before you start your push up pattern.


Maybe it is all in the head


In 1974, Robert Ader, a psychologist at the School of Medicine, University of Rochester, discovered that the immune system could learn. This discovery has forced a new look at the relationship between the immune system and the central nervous system.

Researchers have found that the chemical messages that operate most extensively in both the brain and the immune system are those that are most dense in the neural areas that regulate emotion.

Further studies have shown that stress and negative emotions weaken the effectiveness of various immune cells. In addition, people who experienced chronic anxiety, long periods of sadness or pessimism, permanent tension or incessant hostility were found to have double the risk of disease – including asthma, arthritis, headaches, ulcers and heart disease. This indicates that distressing emotions are as toxic to our health as smoking and high cholesterol.

Being prone to anger seems to be a stronger predictor of dying young than smoking, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. It is not clear yet whether anger and hostility cause the development of heart disease or whether they simply intensify the problem once heart disease has begun.

While on the subject of hearts, a Yale study of 929 men who had survived heart attacks tracked them for up to ten years and found that they were even tempered. The Yale researchers point out that it may not be anger alone that heightens the risk of death from heart disease, but rather intense emotionality of any kind that regularly sends stress hormones throughout the body. Overall, the strongest scientific links between emotions and heart disease are those to anger. A Harvard Medical School has linked positive emotions to better health.

This does not mean that anger should be suppressed. Trying to completely suppress anger results in making us angrier and may raise our blood pressure further. These research examples make it clear that we need to learn to handle our anger.


Interesting Facts

Your brain uses 20% of your blood, which needs it to keep up with the heavy metabolic demands of its neurons.

Risk Homeostasis

Untitled Author Malcolm Gladwell Wrote shorts stories.

In one particular short story, Gladwell introduces the concept of “risk homeostasis.” Essentially, risk homeostasis refers to the fact that modifications that are designed to make things safer often eventually have a break-even effect on safety because of adaptations to those modifications. In other words, something that should protect us doesn’t because new compensatory factors make things more dangerous.

As an example, Gladwell observers that taxi drivers who are given anti-lock brakes actually wind up with higher incidences of traffic violations and accidents. Presumably, this occurs because the drivers feel they can drive faster and more aggressively because of this added “protection.”

In another case, a study showed that adding childproof lids to medicine bottles actually increased the likelihood that children would die from accidental overdose of consuming drugs not meant for them. The added “safety” leads to adults being less cautious with where they hide bottles of pills.

. There are actually some remarkable parallels in the world of  public Gyms , home training set up’s and in some cases personal training strength and conditioning .

1. Wearing a belt.

When a lifter throws on a belt, he assumes that it will make an exercise safer for him. While the research isn’t really in agreement with this assertion, we’ll roll with this assumption.

In real life, most lifters throw on a belt because it helps them handle additional weights – and at these weights, their form usually deteriorates rapidly, and does so under additional compressive loading.

2. Popping anti-inflammatories and getting cortisone shots.

When a doctor gives you a cortisone shot or recommends oral anti-inflammatories, it’s because he believes you have some level of inflammation, whether it’s a bursitis, tenosynovitis, or other issue. This short course of anti-inflammatories will reduce that inflammation.

You rarely see these issues in isolation, though; they’re usually accompanied by degenerative changes (e.g., tendinosis) or structural changes (e.g., bone spurs) that could also be causing your symptoms. Unfortunately, your anti-inflammatories don’t know that; they just know they’re supposed to kill off all your pain. They make you asymptomatic, but not necessarily “healthy.”


Many individuals get a cortisone shot or take a few days of NSAIDs and assume they can just go right back to training hard with no restrictions because their pain is gone. A few weeks or months later (when the cortisone shot wears off), they’re back in pain (and usually it’s worse than before) because they’ve done nothing to address the underlying causes of the problem in the first place. They shut off the inflammation and pain, but kept the degeneration, structural changes, and stupid.

The anti-inflammatory intervention is supposed to be part of a treatment plan to make folks healthier, but actually gives them a false sense of security, which in turn makes an injury or condition worse.

Just some Things to keep in mind!!

Why are my muscles stiff?


This is the joint by joint approach

Gray Cook is a mentor of mine and he advises:

Ribs, vertebrae and lots of muscle and fascia crisscrossing the front and back of the thorax cause thoracic stiffness. We don’t inherently have a lot of mobility there, but we need all we can get. However, stiffness isn’t just something we need to get rid of. Stiffness is there for a reason. Biological mechanisms that move very well in childhood will develop stiffness following an injury or following repetitive bad mechanics over time. If the body doesn’t stabilize correctly, it will figure out another way to get stability: it’s called stiffness.

A quick summary looks goes like this–

1. The foot has a tendency toward sloppiness and therefore could benefit from greater amounts of stability and motor control. We can blame poor footwear, weak feet and exercises that neglect the foot, but the point is that the majority of our feet could be more stable.

2. The ankle has a tendency toward stiffness and therefore could benefit from greater amounts of mobility and flexibility. This is particularly evident in the common tendency toward dorsiflexion limitation.

3. The knee has a tendency toward sloppiness and therefore could benefit from greater amounts of stability and motor control. This tendency usually predates knee injuries and degeneration that actually make it become stiff.

4. The hip has a tendency toward stiffness and therefore could benefit from greater amounts of mobility and flexibility. This is particularly evident on range-­of-­motion testing for extension, medial and lateral rotation.

5. The lumbar and sacral region has a tendency toward sloppiness and therefore could benefit from greater amounts of stability and motor control. This region sits at the crossroads of mechanical stress, and lack of motor control is often replaced with generalized stiffness as a survival strategy.

6. The thoracic region has a tendency toward stiffness and therefore could benefit from greater amounts of mobility and flexibility. The architecture of this region is designed for support, but poor postural habits can promote stiffness.

7. The middle and lower cervical regions have a tendency toward sloppiness and therefore could benefit from greater amounts of stability and motor control.

8. The upper cervical region has a tendency toward stiffness and therefore could benefit from greater amounts of mobility and flexibility.

9. The shoulder scapular region has a tendency toward sloppiness and therefore could benefit from greater amounts of stability and motor control. Scapular substitution represents this problem and is a common theme in shoulder rehabilitation.

10. The shoulder joint has a tendency toward stiffness and therefore could benefit from greater amounts of mobility and flexibility.