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EBM rehab

5 best strategies to manage low back pain.

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5 best strategies to manage low back pain.

Low back pain (LBP) is common. Way too common. Treating it is difficult as there are often many factors contributing to your pain. The strategies I am going to share are meant to improve your situation. At worst, they should do nothing, meaning they will not make it worse.

All of the strategies will have multiple videos to help guide you through the process. These are strategies I have used with both clients and patients to not just manage, but ultimately resolve their LBP.

I am going to go over each in more detail, but the 5 strategies are:

  1. Supine deloading - I will also share how to deload in sitting and standing

  2. Core stabilization - it’s not so much what you do but HOW you do it

  3. Glute exercises - in general, when the glutes are strong there are less issues with the knees and low back

  4. Hip mobility - when the hips are tight, there tends to be more movement through the low back to compensate

  5. Hip hinge - poor awareness and understanding of how to properly bend at the hips will routinely flare up the back

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Lat stretch tutorial. [video]

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Lat stretch tutorial. [video]

Low back tightness is common. Feeling some tightness in the low back is not uncommon. The reasons why the back can be tight are numerous. Most do not even involve the low back itself.

Other problems in the body (weakness, tightness and poor mechanics when moving) tend to manifest as low back pain. Sneaky sneaky.

Because of this, stretching the low back directly is often not the solution.

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Do not let tight ankles ruin a good time. [video]

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Do not let tight ankles ruin a good time. [video]

Don’t just start running. At some juncture, people realize they need to exercise. Or maybe they used to and they want to get back into it. They grab their favorite shoes and go for a run. Sounds harmless, right?

Wrong!

Don’t just start jumping. Maybe you were never much of a runner. You decide to join a gym. Or maybe you already belong to a gym but visit it “occasionally”. You think about taking some strength training class the gym offers.

It’s day one and you are squatting, lunging, pushuping and jumping more than you have in months. You feel like a dish rag when you are done. You are on your way, right?

Wrong!

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Thoracic mobility tutorial. [video]

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Thoracic mobility tutorial. [video]

Shoulder pain.

Neck pain.

Headaches.

Decreased shoulder range of motion.

Decreased neck range of motion.

Numbness and/or tingling in the arm or hand.

Any of these issues can have an origin within your thoracic spine. In case you are not familiar, the thoracic spine is that fancy piece of real estate between the neck and the low back.

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Core stabilization tutorial. [video]

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Core stabilization tutorial. [video]

LBP is complex. No one thing is going to resolve your back pain so stop looking for it. If you truly want to resolve your pain, you will have to tackle this on multiple levels. This means you will have to:

  • strengthen some areas

  • stretch others

  • change how you sit

  • change how you move

  • change how you lift

  • change how you bend

  • spend time focusing on movements that you have been doing for a long time and routinely do not think about

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How to dominate the holidays. Part 2. [9 videos]

Let’s keep the holiday train rolling along. In Part 1, we discussed just getting moving more using dynamic warm-ups.

In Part 2, we are going to look at a bunch of different stretches that you can utilize to avoid ending up a complete ball of stress and knots come January.

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How to dominate the holidays. Part 1.

Back on Thanksgiving morning, I started sharing different ways to help get people through the holiday season without having to give up exercise.

I even suggested that it is NOT a crazy thought to begin doing some extra activity or exercise during this time of year.

Understanding that many people would view that as crazy advice, I gave examples of things you can do.

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Pulling exercises. You're doing it wrong (video).

Rows, pulldowns, pull-ups, and other movements that initiate movement through the scapula should make up a good amount of your upper body exercises in your program.

Rows and other horizontal pulling movements should outnumber both pressing movements and vertical pulling movements. 

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Standing thoracic mobility (video)

Stand in front of a bar (or another surface that is stable and will not move - kitchen counters also work great for this).

Walk the feet back, perform a hip hinge and pivot forward until you feel so resistance to the movement in the thoracic spine. Hold this position for 5-6 seconds. Repeat as needed.

NOTE: this may cause the back to crack. Not getting a crack in the back does not mean the movement was ineffective.

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1st rib mobilization (video)

Mobilizing the first rib is not something many people know about which is unfortunate. The first rib is right under your collarbone and can be elevated which causes all sorts of issues for the neck and shoulder(s). Check out the video to see how to mobilize the fist rib.

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Spiderman hip stretch (video)

This is an excellent movement for mobilizing and stretching the hips. Start with the first position and progress to the others as needed. Remember, focus on a mild-to-moderate intensity in the hip and glute area when performing these. Start in a pushup position. Bring one leg forward to the outside of the arm. In the second video, bend the elbow and try to get it as close to the floor as you can. In the third video, rotate the arm up towards the ceiling. Make sure to rotate the body, not just the arm. One way to help do this is to keep your eyes on your hand. The arm should not travel where the eyes cannot follow it.

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How to train around PAIN.

The fact of the matter is, pain can bring each one of these situations to a grinding halt. Even worse, if the pain is left unchecked it usually gets worse and can even cause pain in different parts of the body.

It is not uncommon for a right ankle or knee issue to cause pain in the low back or the opposite hip and knee. I will explain how at a later date. The short answer as to how this happens is that everything is connected. 

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My first experience as a patient.

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My first experience as a patient.

If you have been through a certain experience, you will undoubtedly have some practical advice to share with someone going through the same situation.

That experience allows you to speak with a voice that resonates greater than someone who lacks this experience.

Makes sense.

I work with people all the time that have injuries and associated pain and other symptoms. I have become very skilled at helping these people, even though, I have suffered only minor injuries to this point in my life.

If you truly want to understand someone's situation, walk a mile in their shoes, right?

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Stop Stretching Your Tight Muscles

It seems simple enough. If you have muscle tightness, the remedy is to stretch said muscles.

Simple. Easy. Done deal. Moving on.

Not so fast.

There may be a better way. An approach that, on the surface, seems ludicrous and absurd.

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Tell your doctor to go pound sand.

Tell your doctor to go pound sand.

No disrespect for these health care professionals, but their evaluations skills are average at best. And, they often do not have the time to truly evaluate someone even if there skills are not subpar.

And, treating pain with meds only attempts to deal with your symptoms. It DOES NOT deal with the underlying problem that is causing the pain.

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