Sunday, September 30, 2007

(Post # 39) Understanding The Mechanics of Pain

There are four ways that pain can be activated:

  • Normal stress on abnormal tissue: Example: Walking (normal stress) with a degenerated knee (abnormal tissue).
  • Abnormal stress on normal tissue: Example: Healthy person (normal tissue) who sits with a slouched posture (abnormal stress).
  • Abnormal stress on abnormal tissue: Example: Sleeping on stomach (abnormal stress) with a pinched nerve in the neck (abnormal tissue).
  • Chemical stress: Inflammation, infection or trauma.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

(Post # 38) Are You In Balance?

Are you flexible?

Are you stable?

Are you strong?

Are you fast?

Do you have endurance?

I am not talking physically... I am talking emotionally.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

(Post # 37) Some Times Provoking Transformation Is The Best Help We Can Give

A man found a butterfly cocoon. One day a small opening appeared and the man watched the butterfly as it struggled to force its body through the small hole. It appeared that it had gotten as far as it could and could go no farther. The man decided to help the butterfly, so he got a pair of scissors and snipped off the remanding bit of the cocoon.The butterfly then emerged easily, but with a swollen body and tiny, shriveled wings. The man continued to watch the butterfly, expecting that at any moment the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time.

Neither happened. In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shivered wings, never able to fly.

What the man had not understood was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were nature's way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved freedom from the cocoon.

Some struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If nature allowed us to go through life without any obstacles, it would cripple us. We would not be as strong as we might otherwise be.

And we could never fly...

-Author unknown

Saturday, September 22, 2007

(Post # 36) Simple

"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex.
It takes a touch of move in the opposite direction."
-Albert Einstein

I would like to suggest an alternative to those who are suffering with simple back pain (pain that is less than 8 weeks):

  • Walk every day for at least 20 minutes.

  • Move around and gently stretch 1 minute for every 30 minutes of sitting.

  • Change posture within a neutral position.

  • When working, try changing position as often as possible.
  • When lifting, get your pelvis close to the object first and then lift.
  • If the above is not enough, find a good therapist or trainer who would teach you the right type of exercises.

(Post # 35) Myths and the Problems they Cause

There are two main exercises that are often prescribed for lower back pain and dysfunctions: sit ups and back extensions. They're both recommended on the assumption that back pain is caused by weak muscles.

Although weak trunk muscles are part of the problem and sit ups and back extension exercises do strengthens some of the trunk muscles, they're also the most destructive exercises for the spinal disc.

Just look at this chart to see how much excessive load there is on the spinal disc.

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.

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Friday, September 21, 2007

(Post # 34 ) On Walking

Walking is the most underrated treatment for lower back pain and its dysfunctions. With every step we take, the lower spine goes from a neutral position into a mild extension movement. This causes the spinal disc to be mobilized into its natural position, where it gets hydrated with water and nutrients and where the spinal load gets evenly distributed.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

(Post # 33) Exercise & Breast Health

I believe that walking must be a part of every treatment for neuromuscular pain and dysfunction. There is now evidence that brisk walking can reduce the risk of breast cancer by 20 percent. For those who already have the disease, walking three to five hours a week may reduce the chance of dying from it by as much as 50 percent.

For more on this see February issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise (official journal of the American College of Sports Medicine).

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

(Post # 32) The Silent Lymphatic System

The lymphatic system is part of our immune system. It is composed of lymph vessels, nodes, glands and lymph fluid. It is always working in silence removing toxins, carcinogens, bacterias, viruses, pesticides that we get from foods, etc. It's one of our best tools against cancer and disease, but it needs to circulate, move and drain to work properly, and since it does not have a pump like the cardiovascular system, it relies on muscle contractions, body movements and breathing.

So how can we help our lymphatic system to work at its best?.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Exercise for at least 20 minutes a day or 10 minutes twice a day every day (walking, biking, swimming, working out or whichever activity you enjoy).
  • Drink plenty of clean water.
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Eat healthy proteins, organic vegetable and fruits.
  • Reduce stress by practicing silence.
  • Get massage therapy.

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Monday, September 17, 2007

(Post # 31) Posture It's a Pain!

Can poor posture cause pressure and stress on the kidneys, liver, stomach, lungs, pancreas and the many other organs, vessels and arteries? I am not sure. But I do believe that poor posture creates pain and dysfunctions, such as bulging disc, herniated disc, degenerative disc disorders, spinal arthritis, and nerve compressions among many others.
For more on this read post # 7.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

(Post # 30) The Emotional Nervous System

Both physical pain and emotional distress are felt through the nervous system. When you feel dissatisfaction with your lifestyle, your job, or are involved in a toxic relationship, or are experiencing any type of emotional stress, your nervous system gets affected. When physical pain is experienced in addition to emotional pain, it adds up to an already overloaded nervous system and the pain feels stronger than if emotional issues were absent.
There may be occasions when a person, consciously or subconsciously, uses physical pain to distract the mind from emotional pain. Pain threshold is lowered by emotional pain and focus is on the physical pain to avoid dealing with emotional issues.

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(Post # 29) What is the Difference Between Mobility and Flexibility?

Mobility is how effectively and efficiently our body moves throughout the range of motion. Flexibility is how much range of motion our body has.

Mobility and stability training are an essential part of any rehabilitation and training program.
Flexibility on the other hand, is something that may or may not be needed depending on your body, rehab and training goals.
Remember: Too much flexibility will cause instability.

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Monday, September 10, 2007

(Post # 26) What is the Difference Between Rehabilitation and Training?

I believe that rehabilitation is the removal of the cause of pain and dysfunction, restoration of function and rebuilding of the body. Training is the creation of specific mobility, stability, endurance, strength, flexibility, power and speed based on our physical needs and goals.

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Sunday, September 9, 2007

(Post # 25 ) On Training

"Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things."--Peter Drucker

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(Post # 24) What is Chain Reaction

A series of events or actions in which each event or action is the result of the one preceding and the cause of the one following.
It is important to keep this definition in mind when training because if we train our body by artificially stabilizing or restricting body parts or movement patterns, we may disturb the chain reaction that needs to happen before and after that action.

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(Post # 23) In Motion

"Move to the dance of life--As our dance partner, life insist that we put ourselves in motion, that we learn to live with instability, chaos, change, and surprise. We can continue to stand immobilized on the shoreline, trying to protect ourselves from life's insistent storms, or we can begin moving. We can watch our plans be washed away, or we can discover something new." -Margaret Wheatley

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Saturday, September 1, 2007

(Post # 22) Rehabilitation and Training Progressions

Rehabilitation and training progression does not always mean pushing forward, sometimes the right thing to do is to back off or to progress on some aspects and regress in others. Sometimes we need to start in a non-functional way, then move into a pre-functional system and only then to a functional method of treatment and/or training.

Here are some of the treatment and training progressions:

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.

I want to thank all of you that wrote e-mails and comments. I will be back soon.

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(Post # 21) Rehabilitation and Training a Continuum

I believe that in rehabilitation and training there is a continuum from non-functional to more functional. For practical reasons I also believe that is helpful to separate them into three main types of treatments and training: Non-functional, Pre-functional and Functional.

Non-functional: Requires no action; such as passive movements, rest, ice, compress, elevate, massage etc.

Pre-functional: Semi-active treatments and training that are composed of stabilized movement such as floor exercises, gym machines, stationary bike, etc.

Functional: Active treatments and training that use three dimensional and multi-directional movements, have no artificial stability and work against gravity and ground forces.

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