Your biological limits, movement habits, and training determine your health.
Back pain is no joke.
Your biological limits, movement habits, and training determine your back health and what you do every day matters very much!
Not only is this blog about backs once again, it’s back to back courses over the last two weeks that has me visualizing your discs as we speak! Dr. Andreo Spina last week and once again Dr. Stuart McGill this week in Portland. Dr. McGill offering for the first time a Level 3 to his series of lectures on “Progressing Backs from Pain to Performance.” As I have attended the Level 1 and 2 twice I felt it was important for me to attend as I continue to geek out on movement and back training!
I want to know the best way to train clients for fitness results. It’s disheartening to hear Dr. McGill tell the group that improper training, both from under-qualified trainers, and from training oneself with good intentions that is a major cause of back injury and pain. My investment is both personal and professional. Other equally committed colleagues and I continue to learn, lead, change, and grow our training methods and principles based on new research. Many of us wish we had this knowledge earlier in our careers and training ages as it would have saved us from problems ourselves!
Injuries always teach us something about our weakest links. If you have ever had a back injury and/or suffered back pain you might not have thought about the positives you can get from going through that experience. McGill co-authors his new book with athlete Brian Carroll titled “Gift Of Injury”, which is a comprehensive review of Carroll’s catastrophic back injury and return to a world power-lifting title. Dr. McGill never ceases to hold my attention as he lectures and recalls the histories of Carroll and many other athletes that he has worked with through their back injuries. I can’t help but think that there is hope for the many people that I can reach out to with my knowledge and passion for this all too common problem. Back pain is no joke, and it affects over 80% of us at some point in our lifetime.
Dr. David Olson from Edgemont Chiropractic tells me that he suspects the remaining 20% have been fortunate enough to forget about their back incident or are not being completely truthful! Dr. Olson follows this up with saying in his experience so many don’t do the work required to get better. They do not so the simple stuff and they do no commit to the long-term work needed to get strong which he believes is loading the spine. This all means that over half of his patients never fully recover and become long-term victims of the pain/injury cycle. Dr. Olson is very progressive in his thinking. Read: This Dr. wants you to do more than what is in his ability to help you with.
Assess Posture, Motions, and Loads
Posture is the buzz word lately and respecting that your daily life is important as poor posture eats up a lot of your training capacity. Pain is also highlighted as Dr. McGill wants us to listen to the pain. Removing postures, motions, and loads to find the triggers for your pain is the way to start. This is done by looking at everything you do 24/7.
Create a program that you can do daily.
Your spine is unique from the other joints in your body. Learning the guidelines and best practices for movement is one thing, adhering to them is another. If we go back to learning the guidelines and agreeing to them then we have a lot of work to do to get everyone on the same page. I mean you, me, all trainers, all physios, chiropractors, doctors, coaches, parents, and so the list grows. Part of the problem is that there are just too many opinions on what best practices are. Although there is some wiggle room there are too many people and too many movements to agree on. This is a Big Can of Worms!! I’m ok – let’s open it. What about our kids?
We all have biological limits and if you violate yours you will pay.
From my perspective, I see back health issues arising from a large cross-section of people. From the deconditioned to the super-fit, the violation of your biological limits will result in breakdown. Some spines are just longer and thinner and they are at a mechanical disadvantage to support you. Some of you can blame your genes then but you could be the reason you have a bad back. did you know that?
Who has a back issue or could be creating one?
√: Gofers, mothers, swimmers, desk jockeys, athletes of any sport, construction workers, overweight, osteoporosis…Special note to those training themselves: a lot has changed in the training game. Get current and enlist a professional to help you!
Repeat: Create a program to do daily. Not negotiable.
This issue is the most interesting part of my work. Everyone wants a healthy back. I can be the one to tell you what to do to get there but are you prepared to do what I recommend?
What should you do? Dr. McGill answers many of the questions sent his way with, “It depends.” Not really all that helpful but draws attention to the facts. You should have an assessment and figure out what your pain triggers are so you can eliminate them. Respect your biological limits with appropriate goals and a program that is balanced, appropriate, and safe. You should move daily and strength train twice a week.
Dr. McGill has me thinking about a lot this week. I’m ready to up the focus to get stronger and share that with clients of it’s time! Competent movement determines your health. Your health is important on many levels.
Let’s turn down the music, and turn up the focus on doing things right. No more gum chewing, and not eating like an adult. Get your daily habits in order and train like you want it.
You can and you should. Now go for a walk 😉
Written by: Sheila Hamilton October 2017
Click here to listen to Sheila discuss this topic with Jon McComb on the “Fitness Segment,” which airs live every Thursday at 9:05 am CKNW 980am radio.
Book: Gift of Injury Stuart McGill and Brian Carroll: The StrengthAthlete’s Guide to Recovering from Back Injury and Winning Again
Conversation with Dr. David Olson: Edgemont Chiropractic: Oct 4, 2017
Course notes: From