Bent Over Rows and Back Pain: Fixing common mistakes

The key to rehabbing a bad back is knowing what is causing the pain and making sure that what you’re doing in the gym isn’t making things worse. Today, we are going to break down the bent over row and target common mistakes back pain sufferers typically make. The point of this article is to put your mind at ease when it comes to doing this exercise right. If you are constantly getting weird tweaks in your lower back or something just doesn’t feel right when doing the barbell bent over row. I am going to go over the most common mistakes people make as well as how to fix them and a couple alternative exercises. 

(more…)

How to Release a Tight Psoas (lliopsoas) : A simple solution for a complex muscle

 

 

When you start talking about stretching or releasing tight muscles like the Psoas (iliopsoas) most people just start looking at you weird and try to redirect your attention back with “what about my tight hamstrings?”. When you’re trying to peel back the many layers to your back pain and you are finally at a place where tissue release is a number one priority. I always suggest you spend some time on your Psoas. Today, I am going to give you everything you need to know when it comes to releasing a tight Psoas. A few minutes every day working on the things covered in today’s video can really make a huge difference in how you feel.

(more…)

Hip Hinging: 90% of people make these 2 mistakes

Most people experience the most pain when initiating any kind of forward bending. Everyone’s lower back pain case is different but ALL back pain cases need to understand what it really means to hip hinge and what muscles need to be engaged to prevent reoccurring pain. Don’t trick yourself by throwing a PVC pipe on your back and using that as a bumper. We need to stop just going through the motions of the hip hinge and start optimizing the way we do. You can start with making sure these 2 ingredients are added!

Who this video is for: 

If you’re having back pain when bending.

If your lower back feels “unstable” when you bend.

If you are experiencing acute or chronic back pain.

If you don’t think the way you move is correct.

 

(more…)

Lower Body Exercises for Back Pain Sufferers Part II: Body Weight and Loaded

Last week we hit the essential “first steps” to training your lower body while dealing with back pain. I go into detail on the key warm-up drills and exercises I do that help get the muscles I need firing. You can check that out here.

This week we are going to go over the top 5 exercises I use in my lower body workouts to keep my back pain under control and inflammation down. In this article, you’re going to learn what exercises to pick if you’re dealing with lower back pain, why you should pick them and how you can modify them to fit you personally. 

Who this article is for 

Advanced lifter looking for recovery options and modifications to commonly loaded exercises. 

Beginners looking for some basic movements that challenge the lower body but keeps the lower back safe. 

Post surgery and rehab patients who are looking to get back into training again but are afraid of doing the “wrong thing”. 

Back pain sufferer looking to pick out underlying issues to common exercises they may be doing that are causing them pain.

(more…)

Leg Training With Back Pain Part 1: The Warm up and Pre-Firing

 

One of the most common conversations I have with people regarding back pain is how they should train their legs. Some people are in search for ways to train AROUND the pain while others want their form fixed or core strengthened in attempt to reduce or take away the pain. No matter your goals, I am going to spend the next 2 weeks breaking down what works and what doesn’t when it comes to training the legs while you’re dealing with back pain. Today I am going to kick off this series with the exact warm up and muscle activation drills you need to do before you even lift a single weight

(more…)

A simple approach to addressing undiagnosed back pain

There are claims of over 85% of back pain suffers going undiagnosed (McGill)  This is a HUGE topic that has been debated for years amongst some of the top physicians in the world. For some, these undiagnosed pains lead to assumptions that the pain is all in our heads. Basically, our brains could be the sole reason we suffer from back pain. It’s crazy to think about but what if it’s true?
Today we are going to focus on 5 things you should focus on if your doctor has diagnosed you with “undiagnosed” back pain. 

 

 

560_diagnosis

Diagnosed vs Undiagnosed Pain

The big difference between these two is with diagnosed back pain, a doctor can point to the damage and diagnose you with something like stenosis, herniation, bulge etc. Undiagnosed is when the doctor has nothing to point at to blame for the pain you are in. This can be extremely frustrating especially if the pain you are experiencing is very real.

So, what do you do when the doctor throws his hands up and says ” I don’t know”. Well, for starters you always want to check all other possibilities that may not be physical damage but something else. Your doctor should be able to point you in the right direction to cover those bases.

So, if I am undiagnosed then is it all in my head?

Not exactly. Unfortunately, there are lots of different specialists that look at different potential causes for back pain. Often times surgeons are looking for a specific tissue that could be causing said pain, while physical therapists are looking for certain muscles they can manipulate through manual therapy. Their intentions are good but this could leave someone without direction when it comes to alleviating their pain especially if what they did didn’t work.

The key to dealing with an undiagnosed back disorder is to look over everything with a fine-toothed comb. You can’t just stick with one opinion. There are countless stories of people living with back pain for years due to bad information or a diagnosis that was done outside of the physicians sphere of influence. This sounds crazy but it’s true. Like I always say back pain CANNOT be treated with one technique or practice. You really need to understand the issue.

The reality is, you’re not a doctor so there is only so much you can do BUTT and that’s a big butt. You need to understand the amount of power you DO have. You have way more control over your pain than doctors will lead you to believe.

 

Let’s say you just left your doctor’s office with an MRI in hand and clearance from all over physicians ruling anything major out. This is what your next steps should look like.


 

If nothing else, start looking into these 5 things.

1. Posture

Hours and hours of slouching is a recipe for a wrecked back and chronic pain that drugs will only cover for so long. I would invest time and money in getting your posture analyzed and have them point out any dysfunctions you have and immediately start addressing them. Posture is something that has to be attacked DAILY. Be in it for the long hall because it may have taken you 10 years to get to where you are.  A few stretches a couple times a week is not going to turn you around within a couple days. Be committed and look at this as a piece to your puzzle!

2. Daily Habits

I talk A LOT about your own personal pain cycle and how important it is to NEVER overlook the small things you do daily.  Our pain cycles are all different but they all lead to one thing, back pain. This is the fundamental layer to building a resilient back and learning to control your pain. It’s not just what you do at home. It’s about your home life, work life and everything in between. For more details and examples of the common things you will find in your own pain cycle check this out. 

3. Self-awareness

Self-awareness is paramount when working through your own back pain relief program. If you have back pain that means you have created intolerances to specific movements. For example, I have a flexion intolerance with a mild extension intolerance. The extension intolerance is tied to facet joint issues I have had from over extension with heavy lifts growing up and the flexion intolerance is from my poor habits, sitting and lack of glute activation when hinging. I am very aware of what causes my pain but it’s this awareness that has allowed me to desensitize my lower back to the point where it can heal and I can actually see improvement from the other things I do such as core training and soft tissue work.

4. Core Stability and Endurance. 

It’s not about strength, it’s about lasting the longest. You use your core all day, the best thing you can do for your lower back is train it in a way that can support your lifestyle. We are so quick to add weight to our backs during planks or add weight during sit ups but anyone can muster up enough strength to hold a position while carrying weight. That does nothing for an 8-hour shift on your feet or your full day on the job site. Take out flexion from your core training and focus on neutral spine work. For more options on training the core check this out.

5. Focus only on the issues. 

With the power we have at our fingertips, it’s so easy to get caught up in things like the latest and greatest hamstring or hip flexor stretch or a cool online yoga video for back pain sufferers. I would fall for that crap all the time. I literally remember laying on my back after doing a “yoga stretches for back pain” video in excruciating pain over and over and over. Stretching was not what my body needed but because that’s what I found in my search, I figured it would work for me. If your trusted professional says your posture is jacked up then focus on your posture. I know this is not directly working at the site of your pain but the reality is, the cure for your back pain won’t be found in your lower back. It’s found when the body is able to work together and find balance.

 

The most common theme I hear the most from back pain sufferers is where do I start to look for a solution? Every back pain case is different but all of these are improvements to your overall daily life that ANYONE can use and find relief doing.

Be patient and persistent!

 

If you found this article helpful the biggest “Thank You” you could give is sharing this article so that someone you know can start seeing the relief they need. If it helped you it can help someone you know! Help spread the word!

 

Talk to you soon!

William

p.s Let me know which one of the above areas has had the biggest impact on your lower back!


 

 

 

 

Lower back tightness? Test your feet for issues with this technique

 

If you want to beat back pain without doctors and drugs you have to be willing to test different things out on your body. What I have been focusing on these last two weeks is how to test the Superficial Back Line for tension and potential hot points where dysfunctions could form. For you specifically, we are looking for how this posterior chain could be affecting the health of your back. I personally focus more on lower back pain but these techniques can be applied to pain throughout the entire posterior chain. Today, I want to show you how to address the feet when it comes to optimizing the tissue release it needs as well as a powerful test to demonstrate how over tight tissues can send negative signals up the rest of the body.

(more…)

The Superficial Back Line (SBL) and Back Pain: A super simple stretch to bring relief

There is a myofascial connection called the Superficial Back Line (SBL) that extends from the bottom of your toes, up the back of your body, and to the top of your head. Unfortunately, when most people treat back pain, they try to break the body down into separate segments and only treat the segment that hurts. Little do most back pain (this goes for upper, middle and lower back pain) suffers know, the segment that is in pain could be caused by two segments above it. Today I want to show you WHAT your superficial back line is, why it could be causing your lower back to hurt and a simple stretch you can do to get relief. 

(more…)

1 Simple test that can reduce your lower back tightness.

 

A trick I learned early on when trying to get control of my back pain was a simple technique you can use to tell whether or not your lower back muscles are contracted or relaxed. A part of your pain cycle is not giving your body the time it needs to relax and do its job. Instead, due to your desk job or the constant forward flexed posture your in all day, we begin to take on this posture. Well, it’s not the way our bodies were created so because of our forward flexed posture our posterior chain has to compensate to ensure that we remain upright. This is where that constant lower back stiffness comes in. Your lower back is over-worked due to the constant state of contraction you are in. Today I want to show you a simple self-test you can do that will teach you how to correct this exact issue!

(more…)

A simple approach to reducing your back pain while bending

 

When it comes to picking apart your own pain cycle, you have to pay attention to the details. The best place to start when trying to ditch your doctor and flush your pain meds is to look at the activities you do every day. Not just the ones that cause pain but simply the ones you do the most often. This is where your source of pain will be found. One thing that most back pain suffers have in common is their lack of ability to use their hips to bend. Instead, we forgo the hips and bend at the lower back. Repeat this a couple hundred times a day and I am sure you can imagine the discomfort it may cause. Today, I want to give you two simple cues I use with my own personal clients to help regroove what a proper hip hinge looks like. 

(more…)