Anything actually work for low back pain?

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by heycal, Feb 18, 2013.

  1. comeback

    comeback Professional

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    keeping your back flat on the floor is so you can stabilize your back while you do a specific exercise, hopefully which will loosen or stengthen specific muscles.. But when you are playing or doing normal activities, Yes your back is then rounded many times but sometimes certain activities (especially tennis or other sports ) will compromise your back in an unsupported position which you don't always feel at the moment but slight injuries are building up thus causing more pain later or the next day..In my case kick serves and running wide for a forehand injure me more than shots on the backhand side where i'm stabilized better
     
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  2. tbln

    tbln New User

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    heycal - to be honest, if you have insurance or can afford it I'd highly recommend seeing a good physiotherapist for a few sessions who can help assess and create an specific exercise program for your back.

    Your symptoms (stiffness)and MRI report is suggestive of fairly "normal" wear and tear in the spine rather than a weakness of the musculature where core exercises might benefit. The herniation will most likely heal on its own if you don't aggravate it further.

    I'm studying medicine and evidence seems to suggest exercise can prevent or slow progression of your degenerative changes. However, everyone's ailment is different so which exercises to do is the question. Hopefully a good physiotherapist (someone preferably with experience or postgraduate training in musculoskeletal conditions) can: 1) conservatively resolve any acute conditions you have (the disc hernia) and 2) tailor a daily exercise regimen that's specific to you to prevent worsening of the facet joints. You will likely have to practice them daily. A lot of suggestions posted so far may be great, but they may not be great for you specifically. In fact, I can see some suggestions are excellent for muscular back pain which is actually more common than spinal pain.
     
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  3. dennis10is

    dennis10is Banned

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    Shot in the dark but I can only report on data of one, my own.

    I had some serious issues with everythig from lower back down. in 2006 I tried wearing MBT shoes. Many years latter, I'm much better. I now wear mainly MBT shoes at work for for 45-50 hours per week I'm walking and standing on MBTs.

    You have to start slowly because it takes time to build up your strength. If interested, look for a discount one on amazon'' of f''l****. Normall price is 250 but they are well made and lasts many years.
     
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  4. heycal

    heycal Hall of Fame

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    I actually just started. This gal says my mri doesn't even correspond to where my symptoms are, so thus may be irrelevant to the problem.

    To be specific, I feel occasional pain several inches to right on the spine in the upper lumbar/lower thoraic region, which the PT says is a muscle spasm in her opinion. But most of the pain i feel and near constantly is directly on my spine in the middle/upper lumbar area, a chronic soreness/stiffness that generally feels better with movement.

    PT suggested this could be referred pain from the muscle spasm area, though I personally wonder if it's two different issues.

    Never heard of them. Will google. Thanks.
     
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  5. tbln

    tbln New User

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    heycal, I'm having some trouble imagining the location of the two pain areas you're describing. "Upper lumbar/lower thoracic region" seems vaguely in the same area as "middle/upper lumbar area" to me. Is the latter a tad lower than the former? As described in your MRI report in the first page, most clinicians describe back pain at the level of a specific bone ("at the level of the L5/S1 junction"). Referred back pain can and usually does refer downwards but not upwards.

    It may very well be that you have 2 separate issues such as an acute muscle strain or spasm near your thoracic/lumbar junction and a chronic degenerative spinal condition causing the soreness/stiffness. However, I wouldn't worry about it at this point because your PT will help you sort out the muscle strain first probably using a combination of massage, heat, stretching and anti inflammatory topicals. If she's right in that the two symptoms are related, both should go away. If she's wrong, then she will help you sort out the second condition next. :)

    Be diligent and patient and hopefully you'll be back on court soon!
     
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  6. heycal

    heycal Hall of Fame

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    The tender pain that's a few inches to the right of the spine is more in the thoraic area. The soreness/stiffness directly on the spine is lower, perhaps in the upper lumbar area. It's sort of diagonally downward from the the first area.

    I'd describe the pain in the right thoraic area as a tender kind, where if you press the right spot too hard I'd jump halfway across the room in pain, but otherwise mostly doesn't hurt too much minute-by-minute.

    The spine spain is more dull, sore, stiff, and constant, and could withstand a tough massage.

    I guess it's these differences that make me suspect two different problems.
     
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  7. heycal

    heycal Hall of Fame

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    I can play tennis or do most anything for the most part. It's inactivity that seems to cause more symptoms, not moving around.
     
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  8. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    I agree with this 100%. I have two dogs I walk every night that I am with them and it isn't raining. We go on average about 45 minutes which is just under three miles. Not only does my back feel better as a result but the walks help keep my weight in check and I think it helps with my endurance somewhat. I know since I started doing this over two years ago I almost never get tired playing singles tennis, even four or five sets in a row.
     
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  9. heycal

    heycal Hall of Fame

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    Yes, walking does feel good. Boring, but good for ya in a number of ways I suspect.

    Question for you back experts: one thing I notice I do is cross one leg over the other when I sit in most chairs. When I try not to do this, I soon find myself crossing the leg again. Even if I'm in a slightly reclined lounge chair with my laptop on my lap for an hour or so at a time, I still have a leg crossed. Somehow just feels more comfortable to me that way.

    Could this be aggravating the problem?
     
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  10. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    [​IMG]

    It may be less that you are crossing your leg, but in so doing you are sliding your butt forward, and rounding your spine.

    [​IMG]



    I'm with you that there is more likely two problems going on.



    Again, I understand your reticence to stop weightlifting entirely, but would you consider cutting back the weight 20% on squats and deadlifts and really concentrating on perfect form for a week or two to see if it helps?
    Even with perfect form there is some strain on the back muscles - that is what makes these exercises so great - they exercise so many areas including the back.


    [​IMG]

    "The Progression of Paraspinal Muscle Recruitment Intensity in Localized and Global Strength Training Exercises Is Not Based on Instability Alone
    Juan C. Colado, PhDa, b, Carlos Pablos, PhDb, Ivan Chulvi-Medrano, BScb, Xavier Garcia-Masso, BSca, Jorgez Flandez, BScc, David G. Behm, PhDd,

    Participants
    Volunteers (N=25) without low-back pain.

    Intervention
    Subjects performed (1) localized stabilizing exercises (callisthenic exercises with only body weight as resistance): static lumbar extension, stable (on floor) and unstable static unipedal forward flexion, stable dynamic unipedal forward flexion, and unstable supine bridge; and (2) global stabilizing exercises (70% of maximum voluntary isometric contraction [MVIC]): dead lift and lunge.

    Results
    Normalizing to the MVIC, paraspinal muscles were significantly (P<.05) most active, with mean and peak amplitudes of 88.1% and 113.4% during the dynamic stable dead lift at 70% of MVIC, respectively. The supine bridge on the unstable surface obtained the significantly lowest values of 29.03% and 30.3%, respectively. The other exercises showed intermediate values that ranged from 35.4% to 61.6%.

    Conclusion
    Findings from this study may be helpful to strength trainers and physical therapists in their choice of exercises for strengthening paraspinal muscles. Our results suggest that in asymptomatic young experienced subjects, the dead lift at 70% of MVIC provides higher levels of mean and peak electromyographic signals than localized stabilizing exercises and other types of global stabilizing exercises."
    - http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0003999311003364
     
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  11. heycal

    heycal Hall of Fame

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    Perhaps my back does round a bit when I cross my legs? I wonder if this could be a big contributor? Or unlikely...?

    As for weightlifting, one reason I'm reluctant to stop is because I followed that advice about a year ago for similar problems in my neck. Two months of zero lifting or hard exercise changed nothing. (Nothing seemed to help much but time -- eventually it gradually changed from chronic soreness to chronic stiffness and I'm like "deal! I can live with this after what I was used to.")

    Also, I only do body weight squats for about three minutes every 3 days, and have never done a deadlift in my life. My routine in addition to the body weight squats is basically 2 sets chins, 2 sets seated rows, 2 sets barbell press and 2 sets machine press every 72 hours, trying to use good form and using a weight that makes me fail around 7 or 8 reps.

    I could be fooling myself thinking it's not contributing to the problem, but it really doesn't seem like too much, ya know?
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2013
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  12. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    In the "old days" treatment for back problems was a lot of rest, stay in bed. Today I would say it is contrary, do as much activity you can, that does not aggrevate it. Tha answer to the inactivity problems should in part be posture, including sitting, perhaps a look on the mattres you use for sleeping, imo.
    Many times I have felt a bit of back pain, that definetely got better after tennis, or running.
    But it is frustrating because once you have the pain, it can be hard to disssect what caused or causes it. And once you are well you might be able to tolerate some of the factors that caused it or kept it from going away.
     
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  13. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    I used to have back problems, but then I found the lose the back pain.com system which has been a blessing. I would suggest to anyone with back problems to purchase their system and say goodbye to your back problems.
     
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  14. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    Cal, stay away from those young girls. Your back will get better in no time.
     
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  15. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    Deleted.
    10 chx
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2013
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  16. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    You should try reading a little further, it is much more than that. They have a very effective program that completely eliminated my back problems. If you don't have back pain or don't understand the lose the back pain.coms website thats fine, but don't discourage others that could really benefit from this great program. Just go back to the same old ineffective ways of treating back pain that most of us have went through with little if any success.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2013
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  17. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    Seeing your exercise program I am in agreement with you that it is unlikely contributing to your back pain.

    But it does seem to lack a specific back strength program - I guess that is largely in part what you are looking for here.

    It would seem that quite a few suggestions have been given here.
    Again, looking at many of the back programs, most have more similarities than differences.

    The key would seem to start with a fairly "simple" set of back exercises that would not aggravate your condition as you start to gain increased flexibility and strength of the para-spinal musclces.
    Such a group would include those from the Mayo Clinic back exercise regimen:
    Slide show: Back exercises in 15 minutes a day http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/back-pain/LB00001_D
    (Actually, I assume you are doing a similar program under the direction of your physical therapist.)
     
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  18. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    Sorry, I looked at backpain.com, my bad...
     
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  19. heycal

    heycal Hall of Fame

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    I guess I should have mentioned that my workout routines, even before back problems, always included a few minutes of 'core' exercises for back and abs. And since my back started hurting, I've added more strengthening and stretching exercises, and got a few books on the subject lying around. Few or none seem to make the problem worse, some don't do anything, and several provide very temporary relief. I can pretty much do most of them without trouble, so I suspect my muscles in most of these areas aren't particularly compromised?

    I guess that's what brought to create this thread. Nothing has seemed to work after a year of pain.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2013
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  20. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    No problem I was wondering if you found the right site.
     
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  21. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    Are you kidding? Of course that is aggravating the problem.. in fact it can be the cause of the problem for many people.

    Don't bother with treatment of your back or exercises if you're going to actively fight any improvements by sitting cross-legged or reclining on a couch for a few hours each evening.
     
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  22. heycal

    heycal Hall of Fame

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    Well, I don't intend to sit cross legged any more if I can help it. The thing is, no one ever mentioned this to me, nor did I remember any mention of it in the various back books I just read. It just kind of dawned on me on my own as a potential source of of trouble about 2 days ago.

    What exactly are the pros and cons of recliners, or reclining on the couch? Still unclear on that one.
     
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  23. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    Crossing your legs should be self-explanatory - it makes your hips and lower back sit unevenly and adds untold extra tension/pressure to certain points on one side more than the other.

    So far as lying on recliners. Most slump too much (so you don't slide down I guess) and so load up the compression on your lower back in an unnatural way. This can causes hypertrophy or atrophy of the various muscles around your hips/back and, generally, adds to back issues.

    Many people also sit on them not lined up with the TV - the TV is usually out to one side - so most people spend their time leaning one way, meaning more uneven pressure down the torso/spine/hips.
     
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  24. boramiNYC

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    crossing the legs doesn't need to be harmful. furthermore there's no one position that's perfect or dangerous as long as you keep in mind symmetry and balance. any one position kept too long is bad. even if it's the perfect position. gotta move, change, and stretch.

    make sure to cross both sides. learn how to control your pelvis angles and balance. if you tend to tilt back a lot consciously tilt forward. move and stretch the pelvis a lot in all six directions. rotate left and right, tilt front and back, tilt to each side. and all the combinations of two and three directions. if you are slouched in a couch for too long stretch to the other direction. that sense of awareness and balance is far more important than any perfect posture. later on the resting state posture comes into effect but initially moving and stretching more is the most important.
     
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  25. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    Sorry to repeat myself, but I strongly advocate wedge pillows for chairs you spend most of your time in. Easy, cheap remedy against rounding your back, crossed legs or not.
     
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  26. heycal

    heycal Hall of Fame

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    I think i do tend to slump to one side as well, my right side, and that's where more of my pain is.

    So what is the proper way to sit in a recliner, or on a couch, or on the bed to watch a movie? There must be alternatives to watching to "Gone with the Wind" in an ergonomic office chair with feet on the floor, etc.

    What are the ways one can 'lounge' comfortably while reading and watching movies that isn't going to cause trouble?

    Sounds pretty sensible to me, Borami. But you'll have to take up the "crossing legs can be okay" business with Bobby.

    I actually spend a lot of time in an easy chair, working on a laptop on my lap, resting on top of a pillow. (This used to be done with a leg crossed, usually the right over the left, but now I'll try to change that.) Perhaps a wedge pillow -- which I think is where your knees are forced lower than your hips -- wouldn't work in this situation?
     
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  27. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    I would never work for a prolonged time with a laptop on my lap. I work (and spend time on the internet) with a keyboard on a table, and the bottom of my screen lifted about 20 cm from the table. And sitting on an office chair, which can tilt foreward, so I dont need the wedge here. Just my 2c.
    Easy chair with a lap top on the lap sounds like a very bad idea for the back, and I do not think a wedge pillow could fix it. I can not see how you can avoid hunching in that situation/setup.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2013
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  28. heycal

    heycal Hall of Fame

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    Do you basically mean lean side to side and back and forth, etc, or is their some benefit to consciously initiating the action with the pelvis?

    You may be right. When I first sit down, I make sure to get my low back in a good position with lumbar support, but I often realize I am leaning forward from the shoulders to read the screen or type. So perhaps even if the lower back seemingly has good support, the action of leaning forward a bit from the head and shoulders cause strain on it?

    (Also, working on a laptop gets trickier once you need reading glasses, as I do.)
     
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  29. heycal

    heycal Hall of Fame

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    Another frustrating thing I find, and perhaps others do as well, is that many of these back programs consitute of an orderly progression of exercises, from easy to hard, as time goes on and you supposedly strengthen and heal. They seem to assume that A leads to B leads to C.

    For example, many will say "once you have the strength to do that exercise without a problem or pain, move on to the next level". But I can already do most of the exercises at the hardest level without difficulty.

    The problem isn't a case of needing to get stronger and fitter to do the next level up, it's removing every aches and pains, and the exercises often don't seem to have much relationship with the pain.

    For example, how is being able to do 50 "triple tri transverse" or whatever some fancy exercise is called supposed to do make my back feel better when I'm sitting or sleeping? Answer: It doesn't.
     
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  30. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    Well I meant about pelvis in general situations, but even while seated you can try to move it. But, while seated, tilting sideway can be felt by lifting one buttcheek, rotating can be felt by pushing one knee forward while pulling the other back, and tilting back and forth can be felt by rounding the lower back and pressing the lower back against the chair or the opposite, by exaggerating the normal lumbar curve.

    These motions can be done with greater range of motion while lying down in various ways. try stretching each way and hold like 10 sec.

    Consciously initiating the pelvis movements is the most effective way in increasing the range of motion of the pelvis most safely and effectively IMO. Try to do it as often as possible.
     
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  31. heycal

    heycal Hall of Fame

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    Push the pelvis this way and that, focusing on the pelvis itself while doing so, hold each way for 10 seconds, and soon see back improvements?

    Sounds worth trying. Thanks.
     
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  32. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    Apart from McKenzie type exercises (extension) and working on my posture, especially sitting, I have been helped by:
    Lying on back on a floor. Pull your feet back, so that your knees rise. Now let your knees fall together to one side (relax and let them fall), while you keep both your shoulders on the floor. Do it to the other side also.
    Lying on the edge of a bed or sofa. Let one leg hang across the other, and down towards the floor, while the shoulders remain against the mattress.
    These are kind of "do it yourself"- chiropractic exercises. If you hear or feel a small "crack" in your lower back when doing them, it is a good sign.
    A final variation is just standing up and "doing the twist". Twist your upper body from side to side with the back extended backwards. Again, a small "crack" in your lower back is a good sign. Something has loosened, and perhaps is falling back into a better place.
    Just relating my experiences.
    Finally, a friend of mine told me that his long time lower back problems disappeared some time after he started taking Glucosamine. I did the same, and it coinsided with my schiatic problems finally disappearing.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2013
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  33. RedBeard

    RedBeard New User

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    Had persistent low back pain for several years. Tried Chiropractor, stretches, strengthening, books, anti-inflammatories, etc and nothing worked.

    Finally switched from spring to a Gel-based matress (Serta iComfort) and problem solved...literally overnight. Didn't even buy the matress for the back pain issue, but been almost a year now and still zero pain...crazy.
     
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  34. tennisenthusiast

    tennisenthusiast Hall of Fame

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    heycal - i have been following your thread very closely since i also have persistent/chronic back pain. Very frustrating. Here is what I have been doing since two days and am seeing progress.

    I bought foam roller as suggested by my PT and resting my spine vertically along the roller for 3 minutes as many times as I can. While resting your spine, stretch your hands with palms facing each other, join them and do an arc (as wide as you can) all while resting on the roller. Do it for 2 or 3 minutes.

    Also, place the roller horizontally and rest on each position along your spine for 20 secs.

    Good luck. I will make sure to post my progress.

    Mattress might also be a good suggestion.
     
    #84
  35. heycal

    heycal Hall of Fame

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    These sound similar to the stretching exercises I've found in other books. Many do seem to help for a very short term, but not longer.

    As for supplements and such, I guess that's another avenue to try. Some claim great benefits from going gluten free as well.


    I slept on the floor one night, in a test McKenzie recommended I think, and noticed no difference. But you never know, I guess... Can you send me a link to this exact miracle matress you speak of?

    Not quite sure I understand your descriptions of what you do here, but I appreciate the input. Let us know how it goes.
     
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  36. heycal

    heycal Hall of Fame

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    Does anyone know how one is supposed to relax and watch a 3 hour movie, or enjoy an evening reading on in a comfy chair or in bed while not aggravating back issues or being in pain? Is there some guide to "how to chill out and do nothing for hours at a time without hurting your back"?

    Walking generally doesn't hurt, but I find it tough to watch movies or read while doing so.
     
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  37. tennisenthusiast

    tennisenthusiast Hall of Fame

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    I am talking about foam roller stretches. Have you tried these?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Axb6LhmolrM
     
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  38. mikeespinmusic

    mikeespinmusic Rookie

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    Lower back pain and tight hamstrings indicate Glutes are weak. Work them with pilates.. Id say more but its 2am in Australia right now...
     
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  39. heycal

    heycal Hall of Fame

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    Yes, I've seen them, and tried them once or twice at the gym. I know many people seem to like them.
     
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  40. tennisenthusiast

    tennisenthusiast Hall of Fame

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    heycal, based on your response you are either frustrated or indifferent to trying something new. which one is it?

    I have to say that I have chronic back pain since 2 years and after buying this foam roller, I am seeing improvement in 2 days. you should seriously think about getting one. it is only $20.

    I tried everything - PT, chiropractor, stretches etc. but this foam roller seem to be doing something. worth a try.

    http://www.amazon.com/BodySport-Foa...ise-and-fitness&ie=UTF8&qid=1363136689&sr=1-5
     
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  41. heycal

    heycal Hall of Fame

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    Neither really. Trying some PT and Egoscue exercises right now. If that doesn't work, I'll look into other ideas, including perhaps the foam rollers.
     
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  42. heycal

    heycal Hall of Fame

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    What do you guys with back issues do to work your abs? I know we're not supposed to do crunches and sit-ups and the usual, and I'm not a guy who believes one needs to do a ton of abs anyway ("abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym!") but still... Pyschologically I hate the idea of doing nothing at all directly for them. Even 5 minutes a few times a week would enough to make me think I was taking care of 'em.
     
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  43. maverick90024

    maverick90024 New User

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    An inversion table solves back issues for me. They are on amazon for $150.
     
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  44. heycal

    heycal Hall of Fame

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    Those look intriguing. Can you tell us more? What was your back problem specifically, and how did it all work?
     
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  45. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    With my long torso and short legs, I'd rather not stretch my spine any further.
     
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  46. heycal

    heycal Hall of Fame

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    But you'll be taller!
     
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  47. Dedans Penthouse

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    Reverse Cowgirl
     
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  48. Sentinel

    Sentinel Talk Tennis Guru

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    I've had lower back pain since early 20's perhaps due to a lot of distance running. 2 things I do every morning really help. One of them is good for tightening the abs too.

    First is to, while lying, bring up the knees and hug them. Hold that for a min or two. Its a curled up position and one can release the hug and let the knees free or raise them a bit. That gives the abs a good tight feeling.

    Second is a prayer like position similar to what the moslems do at the mosque. Recommended to me by a yoga person. Kneels and place forehead down on ground, hands flat on ground. Should feel the stretch in the back.

    I usually get the back pain as a result of sleeping straight on my back , not if i sleep on the side with knees raised a bit.
     
    #98
  49. heycal

    heycal Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2006
    Messages:
    3,451
    I find both those movements do feel good, but really only on short term basis, as do most of these other types of stretches.
     
    #99
  50. mark999

    mark999 Rookie

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2004
    Messages:
    154
    check local craigs list for inversion table. teeter hang up is high quality. got mine for $80 practically brand new.
     

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