18
Oct

Is Functional Weakness Dragging You Down?

Are You Firing On All Cylinders?

In order for your body to move well with minimal effort and maximum control you need a nervous system that detects and modifies muscle tone accurately.

If there is poor detection of movement, the nerves fail to fire correctly or at the correct time, so the muscles cannot be  contracted to protect your joints. Most of the time this will hardly be noticed, but you may feel a bit lethargic. If you play sport you may find you are a bit slower round the court or less accurate on the driving range.

Think of your body as a V10 Ferrari engine, now take off one of the HT leads (loss of spark to one cylinder), now slightly time another one wrong. The result a poorly engine that sounds bad and if pushed could get badly damaged.  Fundamentally there’s nothing wrong with the engine but if it’s spark (nervous system) is not firing or out of time the result can be serious.

If you are feeling sluggish, or you’ve lost form in your sport you need to think about getting your muscles (engine) tested to get the timing back.

Chiropractic uses muscle testing to identify weaknesses and can use provocative challenges to accurately re-tune you. The result is you have increased power, work more efficiently and therefore have more stamina and also more accuracy. In short you could end up feeling great, when was the last time you felt great? Not after a bowl of Frosties I’m sure!!

Now if you then add in exercises that groove normal movement patterns, and build that up into strengthening and stamina building exercises which enhance the correct movement pattern, you have the recipe for a healthy musculo-skeletal system that is energy efficient.

In short you’ll be firing on all cylinders with a turbo-charger bolted on for good measure!

All the best

Steve

5
Oct

Preventative Care For The Low Back

The Basics Of Back Pain Prevention

When you get low back pain it can be excruciating, it can also be quite frightening for the uninitiated. Most of the time the damage caused is actually slight and the body’s reaction is disproportionate to the damage present. The reason for this is due to the high sensitivity to pain, of the structures of the back. These are the facet joints and the capsule and ligaments that hold the vertebrae together.

When theses structures are stressed beyond their normal range due to poorly functioning muscles, excessive force or lax ligaments they send pain signals that cause a reflex contraction of muscle to splint and protect the joint from further damage. For further information click here.

When we don’t have back pain we tend to get lazy and take route one to pick things up etc. When you have back pain you don’t because the body won’t let you. This is the type of movement pattern that you should be striving for when you don’t have back pain.

So What Is That Movement Pattern?

Very simply it is using your body’s muscles to form a corset around the lumbar spine, or neck for that matter that gives stability and control to help protect the spine from any excessive motion. This co-contraction of the trunk flexors and extensors (stomach and back muscles) stabilises the spine and gives it support. This photo shows bracing of lower back and abdominal muscles to provide stability when sitting.

Correct bracing of lower back and abdominal muscles

Correct bracing of lower back and abdominal muscles

How Do You Do It?

The easiest thing to do is tense your back muscles so that you hollow your back, then tense the abdominal (stomach) muscles as if you were avoiding someone poking you in the stomach. Then to bend, you have to flex from the hips and not the low back. If you have good Hamstring length you’ll only be able to get about 40 degrees of flexion, which means you’ll struggle to reach your knees!

Great, not very practical really is it? So you have to bend the knees if you want to get lower, but unless you were in the circus you still will struggle to reach the floor if you keep the back locked out. Especially if your hips are a little stiff. If you want to reach the floor you’ll probably have to flex the lower spine, but by this time your lower back will be supported a little by the thighs. To minimise stress further keep one leg flexed and kneel on the other, ie for tying up laces.

 

 

By the way can you spot what he is doing wrong? He is letting his head move forwards too far, he should be bracing his deep neck flexors as well. Click here to find out how to do this.

If you need to pick something up off the floor you can balance on one leg, lean forward from the hip and let your other leg counter balance you. Always a good idea to do this where you have a lot of space, or you could damage someone or something. Use a support for your free hand if there is one, like a golfer using his club to rest on when getting a ball out of the hole, but as I couldn’t find a photo of that here’s a close example of what I mean.