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:


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.


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.


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.