MRIs can be very good at detecting certain “problems” in and around the spine. MRI demonstrated high sensitivity for spinal soft tissue injuries. However, MRI showed a definite trend to overestimate interspinous ligament, intervertebral disc, and paraspinal muscle injuries .
Don’t get too wrapped up in googling the vocab words above. Here’s part of the problem with the above information. If the doctor is trying to appease the patient by ordering the MRI or the patient has demanded one, they will find something.
Whether that something is the actual problem is another discussion completely.
Nothing will make you feel old like a bum pair of knees. Walking can be a laborious. Climbing stairs resembles climbing some snow-covered mountain. Even sitting and standing can become an Olympic event.
Maybe you want to start exercising to take off some lbs so you can save your knees. Not a bad plan until you follow a bad plan.
Following the wrong program when you have bad knees will absolutely make them worse!
I am going to go over each in more detail, but the 5 strategies are:
Remove/modify pain stimulus - this often means things like squats, lunges, running and jumping need to be tabled or altered.
Soft Tisse Mobilization (STM) - this is a $2 word for massage. Issues with your quads, IT bands, hamstrings, adductors and calfs need to be addressed.
Ankle mobility - when your ankles do not move, your knees try to move more to compensate. This is bad news for your knees.
Hip-dominant movements - this serves two purposes. It assists #1 and it builds up a part of your body that is probably weak to begin with.
Deloaded knee-dominant movements and controlling knee valgus - all the squats and lunges and running and jumping that we took away in the beginning are brought back to finish your rehab.
Many of us know someone who seems to be a little more clumsy. Maybe they trip a lot, stumble often and sometimes even fall. Maybe I am describing you.
Occasionally losing your balance or stumbling here or there is not a balance problem.
Vertigo is a true balance disorder. Issues that involve the vestibular system (which is a fascinating system) are true balance disorders. These can be triggered by head, neck and eye movements and are often associated with nausea, dizziness and true loss of balance (LOB) which often results in a fall.
Balance is a difficult thing to quantify since it involves many systems and many variables. Your balance is maintained by a dynamic interplay between three systems in the body. In the ideal world, all three systems would work harmoniously together.
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:
Supine deloading - I will also share how to deload in sitting and standing
Core stabilization - it’s not so much what you do but HOW you do it
Glute exercises - in general, when the glutes are strong there are less issues with the knees and low back
Hip mobility - when the hips are tight, there tends to be more movement through the low back to compensate
Hip hinge - poor awareness and understanding of how to properly bend at the hips will routinely flare up the back
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:
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.
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.
Most people stretching their hamstrings are really stretching their sciatic nerve. The hamstring runs from the bottom of your butt to the back of the knee.
Rounding your back to stretch the hamstrings makes no sense. It does not improve hamstring flexibility but it does tension the sciatic nerve.
Most people attempt to stretch the hip flexor incorrectly by moving too far forward and arching the low back too much. If this is you, watch the video. The key is the setup.
Set up with your feet anchored under a dumbbell rack or other solid structure that will not move. Focus on bracing the abs, staying tall throughout the motion and not bending at the hips. Perform the hamstring drop with only one leg on the way down and both legs coming back up. Try to keep the emphasis on the hamstring, not the arms and shoulders. The upper body is definitely assisting the movement, but the hamstrings should be the focus. Enjoy.
This will punch your hamstrings right in the mouth. Set up with both knees bent, feet flat on the ground with a slider under one of your feet. Lift the foot that is not on the slider off the floor. Perform a single-leg bridge with the other leg. Once at the top of the motion, straighten the knee by sliding the foot away from the body. When the knee is extended, keep the hips on the floor, bend the knee and start again with the single-leg bridge.
This is a great alternative if using some attachment for the hands increases back pain or you find yourself pulling too much with the arms. Start by setting the pulley so it is around hip-height. Set the strap so it goes around the front of your hips. Set and brace your neutral spine position. Focus on keeping pressure through the heels and sitting back through the hips. To return to the start position, squeeze the glutes and push the hips forward. Avoid overextending the hips and straightening the body as this will cause you to lose your balance and fall back.
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.