Thursday, November 24, 2011

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Dan Lieberman on Barefoot Running

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Thursday, June 18, 2009

(Post # 120) Dosage!!!... Dosage!!!... Dosage!!!

YOU CAN HAVE:

The right exercise...

With the right tool...

With the right technique...

For the right reason...

For the right body part...

At the right time...

At the right angle...

BUT IF YOU HAVE THE WRONG DOSAGE YOU ARE GOING TO MAKE A MISTAKE.

REMEMBER... NOT ENOUGH LOAD AND THE TISSUE WILL BECOME WEAK... TOO MUCH LOAD AND THE TISSUE WILL BREAK DOWN...SO WE NEED TO FIND THE RIGHT AMOUNT AND QUANTIFY IT.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

(Post # 119) qUESTIONS tO tHINK aBOUT

WHEN SHOULD WE USE FUNCTIONAL TRAINING (Movement Training)?

Functional Training is best used when we want to:

1. Rehabilitate non-surgical orthopedic, neuromuscular and sports injuries.

2. Prevent injury and dysfunction.

3. Improve movement and sports performance.


WHEN SHOULD WE USE STRUCTURAL TRAINING (Muscle Training)?

Structural training is best utilized on the following situations:

1. First stages of rehabilitation after surgery.

2. When we don't have the muscle strength to start a functional movement.

3. If we are dealing with a condition or disease that does not allow us to train functionally.


(There is much more to functional training and structural training than the basic description given above)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

(Post # 118) Any Clown can Push, Push, Push

Some of this clowns have the heart in the right place, but their knowledge is very limited.
Their concept is to push, push, push at all cost, as long as 10% to 20% of their athletes survive the poorly designed overtraining and win competitions, the other 80% that get permanent injuries and dysfunctions get overlooked or just dismissed as "collateral damage".

This sad story goes some thing like this..

Clown: "Go faster".

Athlete: "I am trying".

Clown: "Try harder"

Athlete: "I am in pain".

Clown: "You are not trying hard enough, just put some ice and take some ibuprofen".

Athlete: "I have been putting ice and taking ibuprofen everyday for while, but the pain does not stop and is getting worse".

Clown: "Just go and see a doctor".

Athlete: "Doctor say I need rehabilitation".

Therapist: "You need to take time off so we can rehabilitate your body properly".

Athlete: "I am not sure I can, my coach wont be happy and I don't think he would let me slow down".

Therapist : "If we don't do rehab right, therapy at best will only delay surgery".

So in another words the story goes something like this...

Ice + Advil ... and when that does not work...

Advil + Pain killers... and when that does not work...

Steroids shots ... and when that does not work...

Surgery ... and when that does not work...

More aggressive surgery... and when that does not work...

More surgeries and more pills...

The athlete is finished!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

(Post # 117) Can Pills, Shots and Surgery be the Solution for Back Pain and Dysfunction?

Here is the problem...

1. There is an average of 60 % more pressure on the spinal discs when we are sitting than when we are standing.

2. Most people sit between 6 to 8 hours per day (driving, watching TV, using the computer, eating, reading,etc.)

3. Most people sit with poor posture.

4. Most people do not move often enough.

5. Most people lift with their backs and not with their hips and legs.

6. Most people exercise the trunk muscles "core" by doing some type of sit-ups and "supermans", which puts between 1000 to 1200 pounds of pressure to the spinal discs (Stuart McGill PhD 2006).

7. Most people exercise with machines, isolating muscles and blocking their proprioceptors and most of their stabilizers.

And then, after all this, when people develop spinal problems, such as, bulging disc, herniated disc, spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, etc., a common approach is to go from ibuprofen to pain killers and when that doesn't work, to go from steroids to epidural injection and when that doesn't work, to go from laminectomy (surgery) to spinal fusion (surgery) and when all that doesn't work, they are told to get more surgeries and more addictive pills.


Here is a better approach to prevent this from happening:

1. Walk with arm swing at least 20 to 30 minutes everyday (dog walking is OK but it does not count as therapeutic walking).

2. Sit with your spine in neutral (not too slouched nor too arched) and change you posture within a neutral zone every 30 minutes.

3. When lifting, keep your spine in neutral, use your legs (bend your hips, knees and ankles joints) and keep the object close to your center of gravity, in other words your belly button.

4. Floss your sciatic nerves 10 reps 2-4 times per day every day (See post 60).

5. Build neuromuscular endurance by speed walking, opposites (bird dog) exercises, planks (don' arch your back...keep it in neutral), squats, lunges and balance reach.

6. Avoid exercises that are harmful to the spinal discs such as: sit ups, prone leg raises, superman exercise (lying flat face down and raising both legs and arms up), knee to chest stretches, toe touch stretches and spine twisting stretches and don't put your self in danger with dumb exercises such as standing on a exercise ball.

7. Eat often and eat a balance diet of protein, complex carbohydrates, vegetables, fruits and clean water.

8. Rest, restore and recover through good night sleep, active rest and therapeutic massage.

9. Be patient. Although you may progressively feel better, it may take six to twelve months before you see results and get better.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

(Post # 115) Keeping a Journal

Keeping a journal is one of the most important keys in getting better.

Here are the five thing you need to write:

1. Date.
2. Time.
3. Activity performed.
4. Length of time that activity was performed.
5. Location of symptoms and intensity before, during and after.

This information, integrated with the traffic light guide, can help you discover which activities and at which intensity they can be incorporated in you life.

Here is the traffic light guide:

Better after activity? -- Green light -- Go on !!!

Pain during activity, but no worst after it? -- yellow light -- Proceed with caution !!!!!

Worse after activity? -- Red Light -- Back off, by reducing the intensity, resistance, speed, repetitions, but don't stop !!!!!!!!!!

So, keep journaling and keep moving.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

(Post #113) Red Flags


One red flag by itself is not enough to get concerned, but three or more and you need to DEMAND a thorough examination with a CT scan or MRI as they may indicate serious disease or pathology.

Here are some of the most common red flags:

1. Unexplained weight lost.

2. Night pain with or without night sweets.

3. Pain that does NOT respond to movement.

4. Family history of cancer or suspected disease.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

(Post #112) Think Before You Lift


Lifting incorrectly is one of the most common causes of lower back pain and disc dysfunction.

Before you lift, stop and ask yourself:

1. Did I get my spine in neutral (mid point between flexed and extended lower back)?

2. Did I brace by tensing all trunk muscles between 30% to 80% (abdominal, back and side muscles)?

3. Did I squat or lunge before lifting, so that I used my hips, knees and ankles and not the lower back?

4. Did I bring the object close to my trunk?

(Post #111) Don't Kill the Grass

Lets say that every day, you get the mail out side your home, and that to get there you need to walk over the grass, and that every day you walk in a straight line over the same path, what happens to that grass? It won't have enough time to recover and it will die.

Now lets say that everyday you take a different path... well then, the grass will have enough time to recover and regenerate, the same goes with joints, ligaments, tendons and muscles.

So, my suggestion to you is:

1. Modify your exercises as much as possible.

2. Change the body positions within a neutral zone as often as possible.

3. Tweak the range of motion, distance, depth, ground level, environmental stability, quantity, frequency, direction, level of difficulty, resistance and speed.

Read post # 22 for more on progressions, modifications and tweaks.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

(Post 110) The Symphony of Human Movement


When human movement is in balance, it is like a beautiful symphony, where the brain, cortex, spinal cord, nerve roots, propioceptors, stabilizers muscles, mobilizer muscles, joints and ligaments work in synchronicity creating effective, efficient, protective and healthy motion.

But when this symphony is out of tune and out of synchronicity, we then have:

1. Propioceptors that don't get properly stimulated and can't communicate.
2. Stabilizers that don't hold joints in their neutral position while mobilizers create movement.
3. Muscles that don't fire on time, therefore can't protect the body nor create efficient movements.
4. Joints, nerves, tendons and muscles take the uneven, unhealthy and damaging loads.

So to to keep your symphony in balance, you need to train...

1. Mobility
2. Stability
3. Endurance
4. Strength
5. Power
6. Agility
7. Speed

By using ...

1. The three-dimensions.
2. The ten directions.
3. Gravity.
4. Ground forces.
5. Progressive resistance.
6. The right tools for your body, your goals and your sports.
7. Different environments.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

(Post 109) "Sticky Nerves"


What are "Sticky Nerves" or in some medical terms "Adherent Nerve Roots?

1. Nerve roots, spinal cord and sometimes brain tissue that is adhered to other tissue such as bones, spinal discs, muscles and fascia.
2. Nerve tissue that is entrapped by other structures like spinal disc, calcium deposit and sometime muscles.

What are the symptoms?

1. Pain, burning and restriction that is often confused with by muscle pain and tightness.
2. Burning sensation on legs when speed walking and running.
3. Wrist and arm pain often misdiagnosed as carpal tunnel.

What causes it?

1. Inflammation from misuse and overuse.
2. Injury or trauma.
3. Poor training methods.

What can you do about it?

1. Learn to mobilize or "floss" your nervous system (see post 60 for sciatic flossing).
2. Walk 20-30 minutes everyday.
3. Swim 20-30 minutes.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

(Post 108) Joint and Spine Instability


What is it?

Inability to keep the joints and spine in neutral position due to:

1. Poor propioception.
2. Lack of endurance and strength in the stabilizer muscles.
3. Loose joint capsules and ligaments.

What are the symptoms?

1. Pain that may move around.
2. Pain that is inconsistent.
3. Pain that comes and goes.
4. Pain that is resistant to traditional treatments.
5. Pain that persist for many years.
6. Disc and joint dysfunctions.
7. Clunking, clicking, popping and grinding sounds coming from spine and/or joints.
8. It may affect one or more areas of the body.

What causes joint and spine instability?

Instability may be caused by:

1. Injury and/or trauma.
2. Degenerative joint and spinal changes.
3. Born with loose ligaments and joint capsule.
4. Poor sitting, standing and moving posture.
5. Poor training methods.
6. Poor stretching methods.

What can you do to improve your joint and spine instability?

DO...
1. Practice therapeutic walking (walking with swinging arms, free hands and at a good pace)for at least 20 minutes every day.
2. Keep a good sitting, standing and moving posture.
3. Balance in a wobble board for the count of 20 breaths 10 times.
4. Practice balance reaches on a stability pad, 20 per side.
5. Do trunk exercises, such as planks, opposites, lunges and balance reaches 10-20 reps / 2-4 sets per day.

DON'T DO...
1. Sit ups.
2. Stretch.
3. Twisting exercises.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

(Post 107) Propioception


What is it?

My definition of propioception is, the conscious and unconscious awareness and perception of our body, position, movement and environment through our neuro-musculo-skeletal system.

What are the symptoms of poor propioception?

When our propioceptors are not working properly and are not in balance...

1. Muscles can't protect the spine and joints.
2. Muscles can't stabilize the body and its parts.
3. Muscles can't react fast enough to protect us from a fall, accident and/or a sports injury.
4. Muscles can't help us keep a good posture when sitting, standing or moving.
5. Muscles can't react fast enough to change direction or position in sports.

What causes poor propioception?

1. Injury.
2. Pain.
3. Physical dysfunctions.
4. Inactivity.
5. Poor training methods.
6. Some neurological disorders.
7. Walkers for babies and kids inhibits propioception development.

What can you do to improve your propioception?

1. Practice therapeutic walking (walking with swinging arms, free hands and at a good pace)for at least 20 minutes every day.
2. Keep a good sitting, standing and moving posture.
3. Balance in a wobble board for the count of 20 breaths 10 times.
4. Practice balance reaches on a stability pad, 20 per side.

(Pain 106) Phantom Pain


"Phantom pain feels like it's coming from a body part that's no longer there. For decades, doctors believed this post-amputation phenomenon was a psychological problem, but experts now recognize a physical cause for this pain — and that it actually originates in the brain.

Most people who've had a limb removed report that it sometimes feels as if their amputated limb is still there. This painless phenomenon, known as phantom limb sensation, can also occur in people who were born without limbs. Phantom limb sensations may include feelings of cold, warmth, itchiness or tingling — but should not be confused with phantom pain. Similarly, pain from the remaining stump of an amputated limb is not the same as phantom pain.

For some people, phantom pain gets better over time without treatment. For others, managing phantom pain can be challenging. You and your doctor can work together to treat phantom pain effectively with medication or other therapies."

--Mayo Clinic

(Post 105) Pregnancy and Low Back Pain


According to Obstetrics, Normal and Problem Pregnancies by Steven Gabbe, Fourth Edition, the most widely read textbook on Obstetric Medicine...

Back pain in pregnant women can be prevented to a large degree by:

1. Avoidance of excessive weight gain.
2. Exercise to strengthen back muscles.
3. Good sitting and sleeping posture.
4. Sensible shoes, not high heels, should be worn.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

(Post 104) Tennis Elbow


What is it?

It is an inflammatory or degenerative dysfunction of the common extensor tendon of the elbow.
There may be some micro-tears, partial tears and initially some inflammation.

What causes it?

There are many causes:

1. Overuse and/or misuse.
2. Poor training methods.
3. Poor body and movement mechanics.
4. Poor shoulder, elbow, wrist and hand mobility and/or stability.
5. Lack of neuromuscular propioception (perception of your body in time space and the environment you are moving in).
6. Poor synchronicity of movement patterns and body parts.
7. Systematic steroids.
8. Some antibiotics.
9. Trauma.

What are the sings and symptoms?

1. Pain that is present before, during and/or after activity, it is felt over the elbow with referred pain down the forearm to the base of the hand.
2. Swelling that may be present at the painful site.
3. As the pain progresses, you find that you are unable to play, type or work as long or as fast as before, and that the pain may persist for an hour or two after exercise.
4. Occasionally, there may be a small, very tender nodule at the site. This may indicate bursitis.

What are the recovery steps?

Start with step one, and gradually as your body allows it, progress to the next step every few days or weeks.

Step 1. Remove the source.
Step 2. Ice packs (7 to 10 minutes 4 times per day) and gentle pain-free movements (20 to 40 reps 4 times per day).
Step 3. Progressive isometric, eccentric and concentric strengthening exercises.
Step 4. Continue walking and cycling as much as the pain will allow.
Step 5. Progressively start exercising 10 to 20 minutes.
Step 6. Speed walk 10 to 20 minutes.
Step 7. Exercise with mild resistance (squeeze rubber ball, open hand against elastic resistance) 10 to 20 minutes
Step 8. Star playing tennis or your sports, beginning slowly for 5-10 minutes, and build up your normal training over the next 2-3 months.
Step 9. Train all the muscles and joints the body with stability, mobility, strength and endurance exercises.
Step 10.Warm up before every training, game or activity.
Step 11.Cool down after every exercises or training sessions.
Step 12.Take at least two days for active rest between training and game sessions (Wednesday and Sunday).
Step 13.If the above steps don't work, you may need to see an orthopedic or sports medicine professional.

What is the recovery time?

Average recovery time is 2-4 months but it may take longer according to severity.

Monday, January 19, 2009

(Post 103) Rotator Cuff Tendenitis and Tendonosis


What is it?

It is an inflammatory or degenerative dysfunction of the rotator cuff tendons, which are four tendons of the shoulder.
There may be some micro-tears, partial tears and initially some inflammation.

What causes it?

There are many causes:

1. Overuse and/or misuse.
2. Poor training methods.
3. Poor body and movement mechanics.
4. Poor shoulder mobility and/or stability.
5. Lack of neuromuscular propioception (perception of your body in time space and the environment you are moving in).
6. Poor synchronicity of movement patterns and body parts.
7. Systematic steroids.
8. Some antibiotics.
9. Trauma.

What are the sings and symptoms?

1. Pain that is present before, during and/or after activity, it is felt over the shoulder with referred pain down the arm to the base of the thumb.
2. Swelling that may be present at the painful site.
3. As the pain progresses, you find that you are unable to play or work as long or as fast as before, and that the pain may persist for an hour or two after exercise.
4. Occasionally, there may be a small, very tender nodule at the site. This may indicate bursitis.

What are the recovery steps?

Start with step one, and gradually as your body allows it, progress to the next step every few days or weeks.

Step 1. Remove the source.
Step 2. Ice packs (7 to 10 minutes 4 times per day) and gentle pain-free movements (20 to 40 reps 4 times per day).
Step 3. Progressive isometric, eccentric and concentric strengthening exercises.
Step 4. Continue walking and cycling as much as the pain will allow.
Step 5. Progressively start exercising 10 to 20 minutes.
Step 6. Speed walk 10 to 20 minutes.
Step 7. Exercise with mild resistance (push, pull and lift) 10 to 20 minutes
Step 8. Swim, beginning slowly for 5-10 minutes, and build up your normal training over the next 2-3 months.
Step 9. Train all the muscles and joints the body with stability, mobility, strength and endurance exercises.
Step 10.Warm up before every training, game or activity.
Step 11.Cool down after every exercises or training sessions.
Step 12.Take at least two days for active rest between training and game sessions (Wednesday and Sunday).
Step 13.If the above steps don't work, you may need to see an orthopedic or sports medicine professional.

What is the recovery time?

Average recovery time is 2-4 months but it may take longer according to severity.

(Post 102) Achilles Tendinitis and Tendonosis


What is it?

It is an inflammatory or degenerative dysfunction of the achilles tendon, which is one of the strongest and largest tendons of the body, it attaches the calf muscles to the heel bone.
There may be some micro-tears, partial tears and initially some inflammation.

What causes it?

There are many causes:

1. Overuse and/or misuse.
2. Poor training methods.
3. Poor body and movement mechanics.
4. Poor feet mobility and/or stability.
5. Lack of neuromuscular propioception (perception of your body in time space and the environment you are moving in).
6. Poor synchronicity of movement patterns and body parts.
7. Systematic steroids.
8. Some antibiotics.

What are the sings and symptoms?

1. Pain that is present before, during and/or after activity, it is felt over a 2-3cm area of the tendon between the calf muscles and the heel bone.
2. Swelling that may be present at the painful site.
3. As the pain progresses, you find that you are unable to run as far or as fast as before, and that the pain may persist for an hour or two after exercise.
4. Occasionally, there may be a small, very tender nodule at 0.5cm in size. This may indicate a small tear.

What are the recovery steps?

Start with step one, and gradually as your body allows it, progress to the next step every few days or weeks.

Step 1. Remove the source.
Step 2. Ice packs (7 to 10 minutes 4 times per day) and gentle pain-free movements (20 to 40 reps 4 times per day).
Step 3. Progressive eccentric and concentric strengthening exercises (calf raises and depressions on a step). Start with both legs together, and build up progressively until you can manage 3 sets of 15 single leg calf raises twice a day (90 calf raises a day). Do these on a staircase or a stable aerobic step.
Step 4. Continue swimming and cycling as much as the pain will allow.
Step 5. Progressively start walking 10 to 20 minutes.
Step 6. Speed walk 10 to 20 minutes.
Step 7. Jog 10 to 20 minutes
Step 8. Run, beginning slowly on grass and at the beach for 5-10 minutes, and build up your normal training over the next 2-3 months.
Step 9. Train all the muscles and joints the body with stability, mobility, strength and endurance exercises.
Step 10.Warm up before every training, game or activity.
Step 11.Cool down after every exercises or training sessions.
Step 12.Take at least two days for active rest between training and game sessions (Wednesday and Sunday).
Step 13.If the above steps don't work, you may need to see an orthopedic or sports medicine professional.

What is the recovery time?

Average recovery time is 2-4 months but it may take longer according to severity.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

(Post 101) On Asking The Right Questions


When we don't ask the right questions we end up asking....

Why is it that every time...

I try to swim longer distance, my shoulders (rotators cuff) and back hurts?

I try to run faster, my knees (meniscus), ankles (Achilles tendon) and feet (plantar fascia) hurts?

I try to lift heavier weights, my back (spinal discs) and neck (nerve that goes to and under the shoulder blade) hurts?

I try to exercise, my sciatic nerve and back hurts?

I try to golf better, my neck, shoulders and elbow (golfer's elbow) hurts?

I try to play tennis better, my feet, ankle, knees and my elbow (tennis' elbow)hurts?

So lets start asking the right questions such as...

What is the right type of...

Exercise: The type of exercise we need to use might be isometric(muscle contraction but no joint movement) or dynamic(muscle and joint movement).

Position: The position that we need to put our body or body parts may be neutral, mid-range or, end of the rage.

Quantity: We can always change the quantity depending on our physical response, adaptation, energy level and our rehab and training goals.

Frequency: We need to find the right amount of resting time between rehab and training sessions so we can properly rebuild, restore and recover.

Level of difficulty : Avoid making the exercise more difficult without a good reason, meaningful plan and a purpose.

Direction: The more directions an exercise is performed the better results we will have.

Range of motion(R.O.M.): Just like quantity and frequency, range of motion can be modified to fulfill the goal in mind.

Ground levels: We can modify the height we are standing on or stepping into by using different level steps, so the body can gain dynamic strength when performing activities at different surface levels, which require changing our body position in relation to the ground, such as going up and down stairs, hiking, climbing, running in uneven surface, etc.

Environmental stability: When we introduce external or environmental instability to our rehab and training program, such as a balance board or stability ball, we stimulate our body's neuromuscular system and gain physical stability.

Resistance: Weight and/or resistance should only be applied when we have complete control of our body weight in motion.

Speed: Speed should be the last progression unless we have very good reason to do otherwise.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

(Post 100) Back in Motion...


Getting Back in Motion is a process...There are stages, steps, strategies, hurdles and many physical and emotional ups and downs.
At the beginning of this process, you enter the first stage which we will call "feeling better". At this stage, you temporarily feel less pain, you have good and bad days, you move a bit better, and feel a bit uplifted, but then a flare up or a set back shows up, and you feel temporarily discouraged, but if you keep up the hard work you enter the second stage which we will call "getting better". At this stage, you feel less pain, move better and start to have good days more often, but a few more set backs and flare ups show up and you feel briefly frustrated and discouraged, but with hard work and patience you enter the final stage which we will call "staying better". At this stage you no longer feel pain, you can move and perform better and the risk of relapse is eliminated.

Is this process worth it?

Can you enjoy your life, family, friend and activities when you are in pain?

How will you be physically and emotionally in five, ten or fifteen years from now if you don't take care of your body and mind now?

...You now have 100 posts that can guide you and hopefully encourage you to MOVE beyond pain and dysfunction so you can enjoy a more comfortable and complete life...Good Luck.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

(Post 99) What You Can Do About that Painful Ending


If you have back pain with or without sciatica and you are willing to do the work necessary to get better, here is what I recommend you do...

1. Walk with arm swing at least 20 to 30 minutes everyday (dog walking is OK but it does not count as therapeutic walking).

2. Sit with your spine in neutral (not too slouched nor too arched) and change you posture within a neutral zone every 30 minutes.

3. When lifting, keep your spine in neutral, use your legs (bend your hips, knees and ankles joints) and keep the object close to your center of gravity, in other words your belly button.

4. Floss your sciatic nerves 10 reps 2-4 times per day every day (See post 60).

5. Build neuromuscular endurance by speed walking, opposites (bird dog) exercises, planks (don' arch your back...keep it in neutral), squats, lunges and balance reach.

6. Avoid exercises that are harmful to the spinal discs such as: sit ups, prone leg raises, superman exercise (lying flat face down and raising both legs and arms up), knee to chest stretches, toe touch stretches and spine twisting stretches and don't put your self in danger with dumb exercises such as standing on a exercise ball.

7. Eat often and eat a balance diet of protein, complex carbohydrates, vegetables, fruits and clean water.

8. Rest, restore and recover through good night sleep, active rest and therapeutic massage.

9. Be patient. Although you may progressively feel better, it may take six to twelve months before you see results and get better.

Monday, December 29, 2008

(Post 98) A Painful Movie to Watch


First Episode:
Symptom location -- Back pain that last between 5 days to 2 weeks.
Common treatment given -- Advil + Time

...and the pain comes back...

Second Episode:
Symptom location: Severe back pain that radiates to the hip that last from 2 weeks to 2 months.
Common treatment: Advil + Pain Medication + Electric stimulation + Ultrasound.

...and the pain comes back...

Third Episode:
Symptom location: Severe back pain that radiates down to the knee that last 8 weeks or more.
Common treatment: Systematic steroids + Pain medication + Some knee to chest stretches + Sit ups.

...and the pain comes back...

Fourth Episode:
Symptom location: Extreme back pain that radiates all the way to the foot that last 6 months or more.
Common treatment: Epidural injection with steroids plus anesthetic + Pain killers.

...and the pain comes back...

Fifth Episode:
Symptom location: Extreme back pain that radiates all the way to the foot with foot numbness that last 1 years or more.
Common treatment: Laminectomy (Surgery)+ More pain pills.

...and the pain does not go away...

Sixth Episode:
Symptom location: Extreme back pain that radiates all the way to the foot with foot numbness and or leg weakness that last 2 years or more.
Common treatment: Spinal fusion (Surgery)+ More pain pills.


So in another words the movie goes something like this...

Advil ... and when that does not work...

Advil + Pain killers... and when that does not work...

Steroids ... and when that does not work...

Laminectomy (Surgery) ... and when that does not work...

Fusion (Surgery)... and when that does not work...

More surgeries and more pills...

Sad, very sad ending...But it does not have to end like this...Take charge!!!!...Read the next post...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

(Post 97) Break the Bounds of Traditionalism...


Remove the source ... not just the symptoms.

Treat the whole body ... not just the pain.

Think of your environment ... not just your body.

Train movements... not just muscles.

Learn meaningful exercises ... not just exercises.

Practice therapeutic walking ... not just walking.

Think of dynamic posture... not just static posture.

Train the neuro-musculo-skeletal system ... not just the muscular system.

Train stability ... not just balance.

Train endurance ... not just strength.

Train mobility ... not just flexibility.

Train power ... not just speed.

Tweak the frequency, quantity, depth, length, environmental stability and speed ... not just the resistance.

Work on active rest, recovery and restoration ... not just on training.

Expand your strengths ... don't just work on your weakness.

Question everything ... don't just follow.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

(Post 96) Mobile, Stable, Strong, Explosive and Super Stiff...Usain Bolt Fastest Man in the World!


Can you see how the trunk is in neutral, stable and super stiff? and not in a shortened sit up like position?

Can you see how the shoulders, arms, hips and legs are mobile, stable and super stiff?

Can you see a modified lunge? and not an artificial leg press like position?

Can you see how a flexibility program must be done with active stretches and done in positions that are at least similar to running? and not with artificial and passive, toe touch, lying on your back type of stretches?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

(Post 95) Vacuuming it's a Pain !!!


It is very common for some people to feel back pain during/or after vacuuming. Very often these people have unstable spines and dysfunctional spinal discs, which causes recurrent back pain and dysfunction.

Why do they feel pain?

Most people tend to vacuum pushing and pulling the vacuum with one hand on one side of their body, rotating and twisting the spine, and causing high amounts of torque on the spinal discs where muscles can take the load but not the unstable spine.


What can be done?

If you are one of this people, when vacuuming you should:

1. Keep your spine in neutral (not bent or twisted).

2. Keep the vacuum in front of your body.

3. Push and pull the vacuum with both hands as much as possible, this will eliminate the spinal torque which is one of the reasons for spinal disc damage, back pain and dysfunction.

4. Try to vacuum after you have been moving around, one to two hours after rising from bed as our spinal discs have more water in them and are more prone to damage.

(Post 94) On Massage Therapy


American and Russian research (Siff MC & Yessis M 1992, Dubrovsky 1982 and others) has consistently shown that massage therapy when integrated with movement therapy is an effective tool in orthopedic, neuromuscular and sports restoration and rehabilitation by:

1. Increasing blood supply and speeding up venous flow.

2. Increasing lymphatic flow therefore helping the tissue to get rid of waste and toxins.

3. Increasing oxygen in arterial blood (Dubrovsky, 1982).

4. Helping to break adhesions and scar tissue, therefore improving muscle function by letting muscle fibers glide, contract and relax more efficiently.

In sports preparation, its main roles, as described by many Russian experts are:

1. Pre-starting neuromuscular relaxation.

2. Pre-starting neuromuscular stimulation.

3. Warming, loosening and mobilizing tissue.

4. Restoration during and after workouts or competitions.

Now, if you are a therapist and believe massage is time consuming think about this ... If you spend 20 minutes on electric stimulation plus 10 minutes on micro-current and 7 minutes on ultrasound, you have 37 MINUTES OF FLASHY PLACEBOS that at best would entertain the patient, but if you spend only 20 minutes on massage therapy, you would be far more successful in restoring and rehabilitating the neuromuscular system in almost half of the time.

References cited in this post and many further details of restorative procedures may be found in Siff MC & Yessis M book "Sport Restoration and Massage" 1992.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

(Post 93) More Myths and the Problems they Cause


Myth #4: When performing a lunge, the knee must never cross the foot and the knee must always be in the direction of the middle toe.

This myth can causes many problems, but before we go any further lets ask the following:

What happens when you are playing a sports or when you have to move your body in an unexpected way that requires that your knee does go beyond the foot and where your knee is not aligned with the foot (which is very common!) and you have not trained your neuromuscular system to control these movements, ranges of motion and positions?

You are taking a huge risk of injuring or rupturing your ligaments, meniscus, tendons and other structures, and this is not taking in consideration that depending on the severity, you may also compromise you hip and ankle which are both functionally linked to the knee.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

(Post 92) Question Everything!


Don't follow blindly...Question everything!

Laws, facts, theories, hypothesis, assumptions and opinions.

Here are some points from Dr Siff that can help when questioning...

A rule is not a law

A theory is not a law

A judicial law is not a scientific law

A position statement is not a law

Scientific laws can not be broken; judicial laws can

An hypothesis is not a law; an hypothesis is a theory

A theory has to be proved repeatedly to become a law

Most rules and laws are relative to some point of reference

Beware of absolutes; almost everything is relative

Rules change; scientific laws do not; judicial laws do

Rules can be and usually are broken

Some rules should be broken

Look for undiscovered laws

Think before you rule

Question all rules.

Monday, October 20, 2008

(Post 91) Newton's Law and Kids

Newton's First law

"Any body will remain at rest or in its state of constant motion unless acted on by an outside force".

So turn off the TV and get those kids moving!!!

Here are some ideas:

1. Speed walk with them...is good for them, for your back and for your neck.

2. Jump rope..and see how many jumps per minute they can do and then have them compete against themselves.

3. Invest in a Wii video game... boxing or tennis will get you both moving!!!.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

(Post 90 ) The Silent Part of Rehabilitation, Training and Athletic Development

Rest, recovery and restoration are the most commonly ignored and misunderstood parts of rehabilitation, training and athletic development. This is due to the mislead notion that the gains of training such as stability, endurance, strength, speed and power are only attained while the work is being done, when in reality according to most experienced sports scientists and exercise physiologists the benefits and improvements can only be gain when the body has enough time to rest, recover, regenerate and adapt.
Ignoring this will only create tissue damage, dysfunction and pain.

Coming soon... more Myths and the Problems they cause.

Friday, July 25, 2008

(Post 89) Listening to the Body...But not too Close and Not too Far Away.


When rehabilitating and training your body, it is essential that you listen to it.

But the question is, how close do we listen to it?

The answer is ambiguously clear...

Too close? and we get lost as we change direction too frequently.

Too far? and we keep the same strategy for too long and then we break down.

So here is where the traffic light can guide us.

Better after exercise? -- Green light -- Go on !!!

No change after exercise? -- yellow light -- Proceed with caution !!!!!

Worse after exercise? -- Red Light -- Back off, by reducing the intensity, resistance, speed, repetitions, but don't stop !!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

(Post 88) In my last day in Barcelona....



Being in Barcelona for the second time has been a great experience.

Listening to so many musicians in the streets reminds me that just like the strings of a guitar can not be too tight or too lose to sound right, the body is not different. When the body is too tight it becomes restricted and when it is too lose it becomes unstable and dysfunctional.
And when playing, there is always a silence between those notes, otherwise there would only be noise...
Well in training we also need that rest in between training sessions, otherwise we would only produce neuro-musculo-skeletal chaos, pain and dysfunction.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

(Post 87) Remember!!!


Remember...Not enough load and the tissue will become weak...Too much load and the tissue will break down...So we need to find the right amount, quantify it and then gradually modify it.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

(Post 86) Therapeutic Exercise # 1


Training to lift properly with squats is the first strategy to strengthen the leg muscles and to increase range of motion at the ankles, knees and hips so we can protect our spinal discs from getting damaged.

Points to remember:

1. Keep your spine in neutral.

2. Sit back and do not bend your lower back.

3. Use your hips, knees and ankles to get you there.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

(Post 85) Common Mistake # 7


We all know lifting with our back instead of lifting with our legs hurts the lower back, but do you know why?

Here are some of the reasons:

1. Bending the lower back creates massive compressive forces to the spinal discs from the contraction of the back muscles.

2. Flexing the lower back forwards pushes the nucleus of the spinal discs backwards into the spinal cord and nerve roots.

3. Whatever you are lifting, multiply the load by 15, that is the amount of pressure that will compress your spinal discs, and that is not taking in consideration your upper body weight which adds to the compression.

I will be in Spain...I will be back soon!!!

Friday, March 28, 2008

(Post 84) Common Mistake # 6


After treating and training people with neuromuscular pain and dysfunction for over 12 years, I can honestly say that if some one does not stop sleeping on their stomach, treatments and training will be at best a waste of time... So if you sleep on your stomach, you need to re-train and remind yourself to sleep on your back and sides so you do not develop neck pain and dysfunction.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

(Post # 83) Common Mistake # 5


This exercise is often done incorrectly, but when done properly with...

1. Back in neutral.

2. Without arching.

3. With pelvis even.

4. Without hiking or drooping a hip

...Is a very useful exercise when treating pain and dysfunction.

(Post # 82) Common Mistake # 4


While this exercise may give short term relief for back pain, it is at the expense of the stability and integrity of the spine and spinal discs.

(Post # 81) Common Mistake # 3


Although this exercise may strengthen core muscles, it does it at a very high cost to the spinal discs, even more so than sit ups.

(Post # 80) Common Mistake # 2


This is a very popular exercise that is often recommended for people with back pain. What most people do not know is that there is plenty of evidence against it. It makes backs more unstable by stretching the spinal ligaments and disc displacements protrude farther into the spinal canal by squeezing the front of the disc therefore pushing the nucleus backward where the spinal cord and nerve roots are.

(Post # 79) Common Mistake # 1


According to the studies on spinal disc pressure by Dr. Nachemson, there is 210% of your body weight of pressure into the spinal disc with sit ups, and 180% of your body weight of pressure with back extension.

For example: If your weight is 150 pounds and you do a sit-up, you are putting 330 pounds of pressure on your spinal discs per repetition, in other words, this is a very effective exercise to rupture a disc.

Monday, March 24, 2008

(Post # 78) Elbow Pain & Dysfunction


Tennis elbow and golfers elbow are terms used to describe inflammation or degeneration of the tendons of muscles that go from the elbow into the fingers.

Most of the time these tendons get injured or irritated by using the wrong tennis racquet, by typing without enough rest in between or by misuse through poor training. An example may be going from little use to excessive use, such as in a heavy tennis match or golf game.

So what do we do?

1. Train all the muscles of the upper body including the fingers with stability, mobility, strength and endurance exercises.

2. Mobilize all the joints of the body specially the ones of the shoulders, arms, hands and fingers.

3. Warm up before every training, game or activity.

4. Cool down after every exercises or training sessions.

5. Take frequent rest between typing, training or game sessions.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

(Post # 77) On Healing




Problems cannot be solved by the level of awareness that created them.

--Albert Enstein

Saturday, March 15, 2008

(Post # 76) The Mind- Body-Environment Connection


Not long ago when some of us talked about the mind - body connection we were not only looked as very creative but also very confused.
Today with the advances of neuro-science and functional MRI the evidence for this connection is clear, but I believe we need to take this concept a step further and realize that the environment is our extended body, and that there is not separation between our mind, body and the environment.

When we can understand that our thoughts are recycled information, and that our bodies are recycled environment (water, food and air), and that our environment is recycled universe, we can then see how when we contaminate our environment we contaminate our food, and when we contaminate our food we contaminate our body, and when we contaminate our body we contaminate our mind, and when we contaminate our mind we pollute everything.

When we can see that our personal wellbeing depends on the wellbeing of our mind, body and environment, we will then have a more holistic view and take care of all three.

To see a great video on a similar subject click http://www.ted.com/talks/view/id/229

Thursday, March 13, 2008

(Post # 75) Complex Simplicity


I believe this chart shows very important interconnected factors that have the potential to influence our body. Unfortunately they are often ignored but are essential when treating and training our pain and dysfunction.

(Post # 74 ) A Must Read for Anyone in Chronic Pain


This is one of my favorite book on self pain management by David Butler and Dr. Lorimer Moseley, written in a very simple and comprehensive way for anyone in pain.
To order go to www.noigroup.com or www.optp.com

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

(Post # 73) According to Some of the Greatest Scientists, Here is What Works and What Doesn't for Back and Neck Pain.


According to Dr. Nachemson M.D., P.H.D. and his group of scientist (orthopedic- and neuro- surgeons, medical doctors, biomechanists, physical therapists, sociologists, psychologist, epidemiologists and economists) here is what their studies found:

NOT EFFECTIVE

1. There is no acceptable evidence on the efficacy of any form of fusion for back pain or instability.

2. There is no acceptable evidence on the efficacy of any form of decompression for degenerative lumbar disc disease or spinal stenosis.

3. There is no evidence on whether any form of surgery for degenerative lumbar disc disease is effective in returning patients to work.

4. There is strong evidence that bed rest is not effective for treating acute lower back pain.

5. There is no evidence on the effectiveness of ultrasound, heat, ice or short-wave diathermy for treating acute lower back pain.

EFFECTIVE

1. There is consistent evidence that exercise is effective in treating and preventing back and neck pain and dysfunction.

2. There is consistent evidence that advice on staying active is effective in treating and preventing back and neck pain.

3. There is evidence on anti-inflammatory medication for helping inflammation.

For doctors and therapists who want to read more on the subject read Neck and Back Pain, The Scientific Evidence of Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment by Alf L. Nachemson and Egon Jonsson

(Post # 72) Are Smokers Smoking Their Spines?


Yes, smoking does create more than heart disease, lungs disease and cancer, it creates spinal pain and dysfunction as well.

Here is how smoking creates spinal problems:

1. It increases degenerative changes in the body.

2. It changes the pH of the spinal discs, thus deteriorating them from within.

3. It decreases blood flow and nutrition to the spine.

4. Decreases mineral content, therefore decreasing bone density in the vertebrae.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

(Post # 71) Strong Life


Finish this sentence as many time as you need to and be as specific as you can...

I feel strong when I...

I feel weak when I...

Stop doing what weakens you and do more of what strengthens you; It does not matter if it is thinking, feeling or doing.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

(Post # 70) Pain Cycle


Although this is a great pain cycle chart, it does not show the most common causes of pain and dysfunction which are:

1. Inactivity

2. Misuse

3. Over training

4. Poor training method

5. Poor posture

6. Poor diet

7. Stress

(Post # 69) On Breast Pain


Breast pain can be due to many possible causes such as:

1. Hormonal fluctuations from menstruation, pregnancy, puberty, menopause, and breastfeeding.

2. Fibrocystic breast disease, but pain is a very unusual symptom of breast cancer.

3. Cervical spine (neck)dysfunction.

4. Thoracic spine (rib cage) dysfunction.

...So what can you do?

1. Drink plenty of water and avoid sodas especially Coke and Pepsi.

2. Exercise everyday for 20 minutes, swimming is one of the best exercise for this condition, it helps to stimulate lymphatic drainage and blood flow.

3. Eat plenty of raw food such as fruits and vegetables.

4. Gently massage your breasts toward the armpits or get Lymphatic Massage Therapy.

Friday, February 22, 2008

(Post # 68) The Right Therapeutic Dosage


By far the most important strategy in getting better is learning how to identify and apply the right therapeutic dosage.

1. Quantity: We can always change the quantity depending on our physical response, adaptation, energy level and our rehab and/or training goals.
2. Frequency: We need to find the right amount of resting time between rehab and training sessions so we can properly rebuild, restore and recover.
3. Resistance: Weight and/or resistance should only be applied when we have complete control of our body weight in motion.
4. Level of difficulty : Avoid making the exercise more difficult without a good reason, meaningful plan and a purpose.
5. Environmental stability: When we introduce external or environmental instability to our rehab and training program, such as a balance board or stability ball, we stimulate our body's neuromuscular system and gain physical stability.
6. Speed: Speed should be the last progression unless we have very good reason to do otherwise.

Remember...Not enough load and the tissue will become weak...Too much load and the tissue will break down...So we need to find the right amount and quantify it.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

(Post #67) On Headaches


Headaches can be triggered by:

1. Mechanical causes-- neck or jaw dysfunctions(TMJ).

2. Emotional causes--stress, toxic relationship, unsatisfied lifestyle, job, etc.

3. Chemical causes--poor nutrition, smoking, alcohol, etc.

4. Hormonal causes-- hormonal dis-balance.

So what can you do?

Ask yourself:

1. Am I getting enough aerobic exercise at least 5 days per week?... remember 220 minus your age x .8 for example: for me is 220 - 35 x .8 = 148 beats per minute or 24 beats per 10 seconds.

2. Am I eating enough proteins (fish, chicken and beans with rice), vegetables, fruits and clean water?

3. Am I sleeping and resting enough?

4. Am I keeping a good posture most of the time?

5. Am I interrupting the sitting I do, every 30 minutes?

6. Am I doing something about stress such as finding the activities or people that weaken me and getting rid of them?

If your answer is no to any of the questions above, then get started!!!.

If your answer is yes to all of these questions and you still have headaches...it is time to see a doctor.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

(Post # 66) On Running


Running is a great way to:

1. Get cardiovascular exercise.

2. Get good brain chemicals.

3. Get rid of stress.

4. Get rid of pent-up energy so you can sleep better.

But it can be hard on our joints if you don't know how to run correctly...so how can we get all of these benefits and minimize the impact and micro trauma?

1. Train your body with multi-directional lunges.

2. Train your glutes and leg muscles with squats.

3. Train your trunk muscles "core" with planks.

4. Floss your sciatic nerves.

5. Warm up with a speed walk right before your run.

6. When running visualize yourself running in the sand trying not to leave deep marks on the sand, in other words learn to decelerate your body when your foot enters the ground.

7. Find a safe place and run backwards and side to side as a cool down

8. And finally stretch all your muscles, but do it in a functional way.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

(Post # 65) What Is Sitting Doing To Us?


What is sitting doing to us?

1. It turns off most of the abdominal muscles.

2. It over works the back muscles (when posture is controlled otherwise it just stresses the spine).

3. It over stretches the spinal ligaments.

4. It stresses the back portion of the spinal discs.

5. It shortens the very popular Psoas muscle.

6. It shortens the hamstring muscles.

7. It shortens the calf muscles.

8. It reduces blood circulation by restricting the vessels in the groin area.

9. It slows down lymph flow by restricting lymph nodes and vessels in the groin area.

10. It stresses the neck by making it more difficult to keep our neck in neutral.

etc...etc...etc...etc...etc...etc...

So what do we do?

1. Interrupt sitting as much as possible, at least every 30 minutes by stretching or walking for a few seconds.

2. Work standing up as much as possible. If you think this is unrealistic think of the cashiers at Publix or nurses, who are on their feet all day.

3. Change posture as often as possible or at least every 30 minutes.

4. Walk every day for at least 20 minutes.

5. Try sitting on a ball... is great for posture, but remember your hips must be higher than your knees, so get the right size ball (I like gimmic plus, which you can order from www.optp.com).

Saturday, February 16, 2008

(Post # 64) Great Times Are Coming !!!


Science, economics, good physicians, therapist and trainers combined with an huge numbers of suffering patients are helping to move physical rehabilitation, medicine and health forward into a system where:

1. Entertaining the patient while nature takes its course is not acceptable.

2. Where machines that plug into the wall acting as flashy placebos will not longer be the treatment of choice but will be replaced by active treatment such as therapeutic exercises, aerobic exercise combined with healthier eating habits.

3. Where treatment begins with education and is followed by encouragement.

I hope that the closing of so many rehabilitation practice around the country in the last few months will encourage practitioners to move away from endless passive treatments to an active, education, encouragement based practice where everyone benefits.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

(Post # 63) The 8 Rs of Healing


In order to be successful in rehabilitating and training our bodies, we need to follow a simple but often ignored approach which consist of the 8Rs:

1.Recognize the source.
2.Remove the cause.
3.Repair the tissue.
4.Restore the function.
5.Re-educate the neuromuscular system.
6.Rebuild the whole body.
7.Re-train for specific sports, task or goal(s).
8.Rest the body and tissues through active rest such as walking, biking or swimming.

(Post # 62) The Role of Aerobic Exercise in Back Rehabilitation


It is well known that aerobic exercise is great for our cardiovascular system, but there is also a great amount of evidence supporting the role of aerobic exercise in rehabilitation of back pain and dysfunction(Juker at al., 1998).

Most of the studies done by Nutter 1988, McGill 1998, Suni 1998 and others show that:

1. Fast walking with arm swing is one of the best strategies to create endurance for the back muscles and therefore a great tool for rehabilitation and prevention of back pain and dysfunction.

2. Slow walk without arm swing tends to aggravate back pain and dysfunction.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

(Post # 61) Strength Training vs. Endurance Training for Back Pain and Dysfunction


Although increasing back muscle strength is a popular objective of low back rehabilitation, studies have not been able to support this concept.

Studies of Leino (1987), Biering-Sorensen (1984), Holmstrom and Moritz (1992) and others demonstrate that:

1. No type of back muscles strength training can be preventative or curative for lower back injuries.

2. Most people have back muscle strength but hip and leg muscles weakness, this is why most people lift with their back muscles thus damaging their spinal discs.

3. Creating back endurance is the only training that when combined with hip strength, power and flexibility plus good posture and right lifting mechanics, is effective in treating and preventing back pain and dysfunction.