Backs are ment to move PART 2

03 JUN

Backs are ment to move PART 2

By Dean Phelps on Wednesday, 3rd of June    Tag: Back Pain, CORE Training, CORE stability, Mechanical Low Back Pain,

The first blog generated some useful discussion and some interesting perceptions on what i wrote. So here are my thoughts on it.

Backs are ment to move PART 2

The part one of this blog got a few minds thinking and their keyboards firing with comments and private messages. It was interesting to see the perceptions of what was written come out and some comments I received I even wondered if people had read the right blog. But each to there own in their way of thinking.

Probably the most interesting was the fact some people mistook the headline as a meaning to bend and flex the spine during lifting. So I thought I would spend a bit of time explaining my reasons a little further.

I’ve read a bunch of the McGill work and I am a huge fan of stiffness/super stiffness in athletes and lifters, but one thing I have noticed is that taking this concept and applying it to the general population it is not always useful. Why?? 

The reason is because the perception that the spine must stay locked, packed and ridged is carrying over into everyday life. I used the example in my first blog on this concept of where a lifter injures them selves completing a simple task of bending over and picking up a pen and have back pain.

The amount of time spent in the gym reinforcing a “stiff” or "locked, packed and ridged" spine for movement is changing how people move in daily living and activities. Why because people are spending a great deal of time lifting, and less picking up a pen? Maybe….

Stiffness is very appropriate in the gym and does reduce the risk of injury through not allowing abnormal loads in the spine and tissue that could lead to tissue damage, pain and time out of the gym. I’m not saying that this needs to change, or for the numpty keyboard warrior to perceive I am saying stay out of the gym. All I am saying is that gym enthusiaists need to add in some simple spinal mobility retraining. No not a foam roller, Lacrose ball or physiomate. Just some regular everyday forward flexion and bending over!

Why do I harp on? Because a number of the regular lifters I see with back pain have lost the ability to use their spine like it was designed and now experience pain with simple activities or even just at rest. Their spine is stiff and ridged all the time, at rest, in standing, sitting, bending, twisting etc. When I take a look at the spinal musculature it’s big, tight and band like through the erector musculature. Ask them to bend forward and touch their toes and on it comes, like a bicep flex at a body building comp. 

The spine moving into a forward bend has to relax, from top to bottom. There is something called the flexion relation phenomena, where once a person goes into lumbar flexion the muscles relax across the spine and allow it to round and bend. Is this also starting to be lost in lifters? In some people i see this stiffened effect similar to the effects sitting has had on the stiffness/lack of mobility in the hips affecting the ability to squat. 

I want everyone to take some time in retraining or training the spine to bend over, relax it and move into forward flexion. It is designed to move, so allow it to move in the direction it wants. I will post a video up to explain!

Keep posted as there was heaps more interesting thoughts come from PART ONE

  • What is the best core exercise? Why I dont think it exisists
  • Imperfections in spinal control during lifting.. is it something to be hypervigilent on or excuse some?
  • Core stability or core control? What is the difference

Dean Phelps - Head Physiotherapy

Dean is a registered Gold Coast Physiotherapist with undergraduate and postgraduate studies in Human Movement and Exercise Science. His background has developed his vision for Fighting Fit Physiotherapy to focus on optimal health and peak physical performance for every single patient. Utilising his many qualifications, in depth knowledge of the body and passion for exercise he can provide a holistic approach to your treatment and exercise prescription to get the best outcome.


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