Back pain is no new affliction to the human race. Back pain can be traced back to the ancient Greeks and even further back to cave men. In today’s society of long days of sitting, inactivity and fast food restaurants back pain has quickly become the number one most common complaint in our society today.
There are definite similarities between why we experience pain in our backs today as well in past history. Curtain things that would have caused back pain more commonly in times of the past would have been such things as; birth defects from deformed bones due to malnutrition, sickness or trauma. Also afflictions such as tuberculosis of the spine, rickets and leprosy. At the time people did not have cures or medication for treatment, unfortunately it would have caused the person with any of these diseases to suffer without relief and to have a shortened life span.
Also in past human history our predecessor as a society had more physical demands placed upon them for there survival. The amount of physical strength and athleticism it took to stay alive was of the utmost importance. Even though our predecessor would have been in better peak muscular strength and flexibility they would have still experience and suffered from aches and pains that we experience in our present today. Disc pathologies, muscle strains, compressed nerve roots, ligament sprains, arthritis and narrowing of the openings in the bone of the vertebra that the spinal core and nerve root pass.
Unfortunately through in past centuries if you had back pain you would have had to live with that pain, causing decreased quality of life and even a shorter than average life expectancy because you had to fight to survive. Today we can seek out professional help to find a solution to our pain with great success rates and relief.
Great question! Most people have experienced an episode of back pain or will at one point in time in their life. So what is back pain?
There are many things that can cause us to experience pain in the back area. Your pain can be due to a disc irritation or protrusion, an entrapped or impinged nerve, misalignments in the spine and pelvis can cause the back area to become painful, muscle imbalances and soft tissue irritation can cause back pain. Pressure or injury to ligaments, tendons and facets joints can cause back pain.
Ultimate Sports Therapy understands that a lot of people have questions in regards to experiencing or having friends or family go through back pain. As a clinic we wish to educate and help people understand where their pain is coming from and how they can help themselves over come back pain. Ultimate Sports Therapy will be doing a series of back pain related articles and videos on the history of back pain, the causes of back pain, interviewing other professionals in the medical and rehab field on their knowledge and experience on back pain, as well as we will discuss ways to overcome and remain back pain free.
One of the secret tools of an Osteopathic Manual Practitioner is the Indirect or Functional Release technique. This is done almost exclusively in our profession, and is rarely seen in the world of Physio,Massage Therapy, or Chiropractic.
Picture a really tight knot in a rope. Now, imagine trying to loosen the knot while two other people are each pulling an end of the rope. It’s impossible, right? The only way to loosen the knot is to bring the two ends of the rope closer together to relax the knot a bit, then work it out with your hands.
Indirect/Functional technique works on that same idea. When we find a muscle or fascia that is
extremely tight, sometimes stretching it just seems to make it tighter and more painful. Sometimes the person is so acute, that we can barely move them without pain. This is where the Indirect/Functional technique shines.
The therapist takes the joint in his hands, and gently moves the bones to a position of most ease. Each direction and rotation is taken into consideration, and when the joint is in the perfect balanced point, there is absolutely no tension or pain. The therapist will hold this position, often for several minutes.
So, what is taking care of the “knot” you ask? Well, it’s actually the patient’s own blood flow that does all the work here. In this balanced and relaxed position there is an extreme increase in circulation to the area. The arteries are freed from tension, the muscles are filled with blood, the extracellular matrix is more fluidic, and nature can once again work its wonders. The body in this position can optimally heal itself. This is the power of the Indirect/Functional technique.
**please note that we do not offer direct insurance payments at this time****
Myofascial Release has gained enormous popularity among osteopathic and manual therapy practitioners in recent years. There has been an enormous amount of research and information of the effectiveness of these techniques, and they all point to breakthroughs in therapy for patients. Let’s break down what Myofascial release is and explore why it is so effective.
Myofascial release can be broken down into two words. “Myo” meaning muscle, and “fascial” which is relating to the fascia. Since most of you know what muscle is, I will spend the next few minutes discussing what fascia is and its importance in the body.
So, basically, every little piece of connective tissue in the body is called fascia. All of the extra “stuff” between the muscles and between the organs is of incredible importance to the body. There is so much fascia in the body that if you were to take strip everything else away, you would still see a perfect silhouette of the human body. Muscles glide along fascia, fascia holds organs together, and connect them to the body wall, fascia separates the sections of the brain and covers the spinal cord literally from head to tailbone.
What therapists have discovered is that a restriction in the movement of the fascia significantly reduces the efficiency of anything that is attached to it…which is everything! For example, if the fascia between the stomach and the liver (called the lesser omentum) is extremely tight, the functions of the liver and the stomach are both directly affected. If the fascia between the bones of the leg, the tibia and fibula, is extremely tight, then the knee, hip, ankle, and foot are all directly affected. And, since there are arteries and veins that pierce this fascia, even the blood supply and nervous flow are compromised.
And that’s not all…years of research on fascia have confirmed that there are what are commonly called “Myofascial Chains”. There are direct lines of fascia, single long pieces of connective tissue that literally run from head to toe. This means that tension of the fascia in one area of the body can cause debilitating dysfunction in other areas of the body.
As a therapist who knows and understands these Myofascial chains assesses the body in a global manner, meaning they do not just look at the area that is sore or injured, I quickly see strain patterns that are causing misalignments and postural problems. A prime example of this is commonly known as “forward head posture”. The patients chin is more forward than it should be, they are rounded in the upper back and shoulders, and have a lot of neck pain and stiffness. They commonly feel they need to “stretch it out” but never can. The reason they feel this way is because they are stretching the symptom area, not the problem area. It is very common to find low back, stomach, and intestinal/digestive problems with these same patients. The fascia around organs in the mid or low back are causing the entire head to be pulled forward out of alignment. Place your hand just under your ribs on your stomach, and press in and down…do you feel what happens to your head and neck. The chin instantly moves forward out of alignment…you can just picture the rest…tension in the back of the neck and shoulders, knots in the upper back between the shoulder blades that are trying to compensate, and on , and on. All this from a Myofascial pull from lower in the abdomen. I literally see this every day. Every day.
Now you can begin to see why utilizing Myofascial techniques is so incredibly powerful. More often than not, it is the most effective tools to effectively treat our patients. Used in conjunction with all of the other Osteopathic assessment and treatment tools, you can begin to see why Osteopathy is the fastest growing manual therapy in Canada.
Jason Brandow, BSc TR, CST
Osteopathy Current Study & Thesis Writer
It has been a while since I have written anything. I have been busy studying and learning from the people I have been working with.
I have really learned about health and wellness looking at what I call the different bodies.
And how each can affect your health individually and in combination with each other. If one is affected it can and will over time affect the other ones.
That is why it is so important to look after each body and make sure they are in harmony.
To give you some examples
Energy Body – is the body that takes on positive and negative energy be it your cell phone, computer, power wires, positive or negative people, places or things just to give you an example. Will affect your energy body positively or negatively depending on the situation.
Emotional body—when you think of emotions of being positive, happy, grateful, in love vs being negative mad, sad, depressed.
Mental body- this is important like a muscle you have to work it out but not over due it. Make sure you are living towards a dream and enjoying the journey.
Physical Body – This is one that is most talked about in the media, books, articles…etc using the physical body you have to make sure you are exercising and using your body daily. If you do not use it you lose it. Also you have to make sure you do not over train.
The reason why I wanted to give you a little foundation about this is because working with people all across the world I have found that if you do not harmonize all bodies then the issue will come back.
I have seen this with health issue, business, relationships challenges you name it. When I first started working with people I was working on the Physical by making sure people were eating the right foods, sleeping properly, hydrating themselves, exercising properly, then I would work on the mental emotional challenges because I know hormonally the body was balancing out nutritionally. I had some success but I found that there were certain people that would fall back into the same routine. Which I would have to go back through the process and make sure they were on track until I started to work on all the bodies. Once I incorporated energy work and balancing with all the other coaching my success rate increased. The people were getting better result while feeling amazing through the process.
What I recommend if you are dealing with any life challenges is to do this first work on the
1 st Energy body- have some energy work done from a Reiki Practitioner to help you get balanced out
2nd Physical body – get on the right nutrition plan and exercise program to help balance out your energy, hormones and focus
3 rd Mental body – have an over arching dream that you are working towards by learning your Legacy, your values and setting proper goals
4 th Emotional body- make sure you doing the above and your emotional state will change if not see a professional that can help teach you why your emotions are not serving you and how you can manage them.
I am going to go into more detail for each body and how to achieve success in each area.
Recently I had a discussion with a client regarding Micheal J. Fox, he of 80’s hits Back to the Future and the TV show Family Ties. These days he is also recognized as the self-appointed spokesperson for those who suffer from Parkinson’s. Many of us have a relative or know someone that has been affected by Parkinson’s, and most people also seem to have many misunderstandings of how this affects people and what can be done for treatment.
Named for the Doctor who first clinically documented in 1817, it kills the cells that create a chemical called dopamine in the part of the brain (the basal ganglia) that is responsible for balance and co-ordination. Generally it does not occur until mid to late 60’s, but can affect some between 21 and 39, such as our dear Canadian-born Micheal J. The main difference being that the younger group characteristically has twisting movements and tend to respond better to drug therapy.
Parkinson’s often begins as something as simple as more hunched shoulders or a shaky little finger. It can progress into postural changes from contractures, slow shuffling gait and tremors at rest (when the person is attempting to be still), and eventually immobility. Other symptoms can appear such as fatigue, constipation, depression, problems swallowing and speech difficulties. The cause is unknown and there is no cure though research is ongoing, and through the success of symptom treating drugs such as Levodopa, over 50% of of those affected can now live to average life expectancy. It is no longer a disabling death sentence.
I can hear you already- Jennifer, what the heck does massage have to do with a disorder that attacks the central nervous system?? Massage techniques can aid where the body’s functions have become limited- such as poor tissue health by encouraging venous return(blood) and lymphatic flow(waste). Feedback during the treatment is important as there can be sensory changes, in that some areas may be painful that are normally not. Manually moving joints and stretching of the muscles and tissue by the therapist to maintain their range of motion and the clients body awareness is also recommended. This also helps to limit the contractures that can form. Standard abdominal massage can also help with any constipation, all done slowly and gently as to not overstimulate the nervous system. One hour weekly massage treatments are recommended.
What can the Parkinson’s client do on their own? Any movement programs such as Tai-chi and Yoga to help with flexibility, balance and co-ordination. To maintain cardiovascular health, regular walks and gentle exercise programs within the clients tolerance and avoid fatigue.
If you have Parkinson’s, or know someone who does, feel free to contact me at the clinic for a free clinical assessment today.
Training in boxing for numerous years has made me accustom to warming up and using a jump rope for conditioning in training. I think I have used almost every type of rope imaginable from multi-coloured beaded ropes, leather, PVC rope to 2 to 5 pound weighted ropes and enjoyed learning foot work, doubles, triples, crossovers and 180 to 360 turns. There are many benefits to taking up jumping rope. It can be used as a very cheap and easy way to train the aerobic and anaerobic energy systems or as variety to spice up any training program as well as an activity for the enhancement of any sports or athletic program. I also use it in mid to late stages of healing and into a return to sports phases of rehab.
To elicit an aerobic training response with rope jumping you must maintain a consistence speed that holds your heart rate between 70 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate – your maximum heart rate can be calculated by taking 220 and misusing your age i.e. if you were 30 years old you take 220 – 30 which gives you a maximum heart rate of 190 beats per minute in peak exertion.
However rope jumping has its best benefits in a power phase of training when the anaerobic system is being utilized. In this phase the greatest gains are capitalized on to peak competitive advantage in speed which is quickness over a sustained period of time, agility which is one’s ability to accelerate, decelerate and make quick changes in direction as balance, speed and control is maintained and in an athletic explosiveness.
The best surface to jump rope on is a hard non-slip surface. Soft surfaces provide more give but require more energy to push off which slows down the speed and momentum much like running in sand does. This will increase muscular endurance and strength but does not capitalize the plyomentric effect of speed rope work. This works by using gravity to store potential energy in the muscles which immediately turn this stored energy into kinetic energy.
But what rope is best? Just as with choosing any other exercise equipment quality and material matter. Jump rope made from leather have been around for 90 years but waste energy on turning the rope and the rope is not adjustable making one have to turn the rope in wide circles if to big or hunch over if the rope is to short promoting poor posture and injury. Thick cord, beaded, heavy, cotton or nylon ropes are made from slow turning materials and slow the speed of each turn create drag therefore no matter how fast you try and turn the rope the rope will not turn fast enough to benefit hand and foot speed needed in sports. A speed rope like a hyperformance swivel ball bearing rope will help develop and produce lightning fast reflexes.
An easy guide to measuring your rope to ensure it is the right height for you is to stand on the center of the rope with one foot and pull the two handles to measure up with the armpit. A more experienced jumper can use a shorter rope, one that extends from the foot to the upper chest.
Book; Jump Rope Training techniques and programs for improved fitness and performance by Buddy Lee