Moving well is like eating well: You have to do it all day!
Building the Ultimate Back: From Rehabilitation to Performance: Stuart McGill, Ph.D, University of Waterloo
I just spent the weekend with two greats when it comes to learning! Dr. David Olson from Edgemont Chiropractic and I attended the above course that Dr. Stuart McGill was presenting here in Vancouver. It was one of Dr. McGill’s last presentations before his upcoming retirement after 35 years at the University of Waterloo as a researcher in spine bio-mechanics.
There was no shortage of material: research reviews, clinical stories, power points, and volunteer demonstrations left no learning opportunity untapped. It’s exciting to have Dr. David Olson on the Jon McComb show’s Fitness Segment with me this week (CKNW Thursday 9:05 am) to share the highlights from a Chiropractic perspective of what he felt the takeaways were from the weekend.
From the personal training perspective, I have come to realize that there are many opinions on movement and proper training techniques. Adding to my toolbox from experts like McGill helps me to lead and train confidently when it comes to important matters like back health and core development. The trainer in me uses art and science to get the clients their results. This past weekend I got a lot more science!
Sheila and Dr. Olson’s take aways:
1.YOU MUST BREAK BAD MOVEMENT PATTERNS
Your movement patterns were learned and affected by variables such as anatomy and neurodevelopment which you can’t control. Environment, experience, trauma, surgery, injuries, sports, exercise, emotional state and lifestyle are other variables that, to some degree, we can re- learn or improve. There is hope and Dr. McGill states that it takes 10 years for a discogenic back to become bulletproof. The core must not only keep up but underpin all other strength. Spare the spine and increase training capacity.
We have the under trained and the over trained. To those that are over trained: “You will never re-gain your health until you build tolerable capacity.” Hitting your thumb with a hammer is not going to take the pain away. More exercise is the same as getting a bigger hammer.”
2. THE PILL TO IMPROVE YOUR BACK BY 40% IS IMPROVING YOUR POSTURE
Many are used to getting a pill, so here is your movement pill. To those that don’t want to exercise, McGill states “It’s your choice – You can exercise 20 minutes a day or be in pain 24 hours a day.” Feeling your back muscles change with posture improvement should be enough to convince you to put some time into improving yours.
MOVING WELL IS LIKE EATING WELL: YOU HAVE TO DO IT ALL DAY
3. INSTABILITY CAUSES INJURY AND INJURY CAUSES INSTABILITY
Which comes first? When did we become so weak and undertrained or trained and broken? Our spine has a memory and we need to re-write the engrams of movement as we progress out of physical therapy and into strength and conditioning. McGill knows of no athlete that hasn’t suffered pain. “There is no such thing as a pristine healthy athlete, they don’t exist,” he states.
There are flexion and extension movements and moments. It’s the repetitive movements that provoke pain that need to be removed so that the body can rest and remodel. Training to address instability has to be done underneath the load tolerance of the tissue or the injury/instability cycle continues.
*Of interest to those with decreased sexual activity due to low back pain. Please see study under reference section that highlights the “Male Spine Position During Coitus.” The study reveals the flexion, extension or motion intolerant positions, and postures that trigger low back pain in patients. The biomechanical analysis of coitus has never been conducted before according to the researchers knowledge.
4. ENSURE OPTIMAL NEURAL DRIVE
Your brain and nervous system must be able to act quickly to properly “stiffen” your spine with good core contraction when needed for stabilization. While many people train their core and glutes, they have very little control over these important muscles for the daily activities of life. You need to tune your stabilizing muscles to react quickly when needed to protect your spine.
In Conclusion: The core must not only keep up but underpin all other strength. Spare the spine and increase training capacity!
Written by Sheila Hamilton with input from Dr. David Olson.
Click here to listen to Sheila and Dr. Olson discuss this with radio personality Jon McComb on his am radio show. The Fitness Segment airs live every Thursday at 9:05 am CKNW 980 am radio.
Copyright Nov 2016
Course Notes Handout
Conversation with Dr. David Olson