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EBM Fitness Solutions

Why getting that MRI won't help you get any better.

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Why getting that MRI won't help you get any better.

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 [6].

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.

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The best guide to rehabbing injuries.

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The best guide to rehabbing injuries.

At some point you are going to deal some sort of an injury. Maybe you are already have. Maybe you are dealing with something right now.

I am going to walk you through some different ideas as you approach different scenarios or pain and rehabbing injuries.

There are going to be 6 parts to this post, with each part having its own video.

  1. General guidelines for rehabbing injuries.

  2. Post surgery.

  3. Your post-surgery home exercise program.

  4. Chronic pain.

  5. The idea of layers. Fixing one problem often reveals another one.

  6. Modify your approach to sets and reps.

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All exercise programs should start with an assessment.

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All exercise programs should start with an assessment.

You are thinking about starting an exercise program. You are ready. You are motivated and you are going to dominate and accomplish all of your goals. How do you know what exercises to start with?

Is it some random drawing by throwing exercises in a hat and pulling them out? Do you hit up the internet and find the latest and greatest to follow? Do you turn to Instagram and the girl with the painted-on yoga pants or the guy-that-never-seems-to-wear-a-shirt-in-any-video?

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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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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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Single-leg hamstring drops w/ ball (video).

Single leg hamstring drops w/ ball.

For now, this one if the grand daddy of the hamstring drop family. 

Set up with your feet under something that will not move. A dumbbell rack works great but not all are low enough to the ground. 

I have used a standing hamstring curl machine to perform hamstring drops when the DB rack was not an option. See below.

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Did I just make hamstring drops harder (video)?

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.

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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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A quick and dirty breakfast idea.

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A quick and dirty breakfast idea.

Here is a really easy recipe that sets you up for success in the morning. These are mini egg omelets.  You can also call them egg muffins but I wouldn't trust a person that said that.

Once these are made, stick them in the fridge and wait.

In the morning, put one, two or three in the toaster oven (or microwave, if that's your thing) to heat up. They take as long to heat up as a piece of toast.

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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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I will start Monday. And a cool recipe.

One of the first steps in not bringing the temptation into the house. Unfortunately, the bad stuff is usually the easiest stuff to grab in a hurry and also things that you can eat a lot of before the brain triggers you to stop.

But, what do we do when we need a little something and we do not want to go face first into some ice cream, chips or cookies?

Check out this recipe.

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Time-Constraint Workouts (TCWs).

Time.

This is probably the number one reason people use as to why they cannot do something, especially exercise and nutrition. And don't even get me started on how much time is spent on Facebook, Instagram and the internet searching for inspirational memes.

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Protein smoothie cheat sheet.

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Protein smoothie cheat sheet.

Most people know, on some level, that nutrition is vital to reaching any goal you have. Most people would also agree, or at least acknowledge, that protein is a key cog in that wheel.

You want to be taking in enough to feed the lean mass (muscle or fat-free mass) you have and have enough to build more muscle. It is almost always a good idea to add muscle when you can.

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