Get Moving For Life Blog
Wellness | Lifestyle | Disability & Injury Management
Getting to the Core of Reducing Back Pain
Statistic show that 80% of us will experience some type of back pain during our lifetime. As Kinesiologists a large part of our practice is developing programs for clients seeking some type of relief that is non-medicated and exercise based.
Back pain shows up for a number of reasons, the root cause is what we try to address at Lifemoves by having our clients go through a posture and movement assessment and working together with other health professionals involved in their treatment.
One difficulty I have come across in clients several times this past weak is the inability to properly activate the bigger core stabilizers (there are smaller ones between each vertebrae) the pelvic floor, transverse abdominus and multifidus.
These muscles are postural, which means that they should always be turned on to some level to maintain proper posture and spine stability when lifting. They work together in what is called "segmental stabilization
." The postural muscles are always active while the phasic or movement based ones, such as obliques and rectus abdominus (the six pack one) are more on/off.
The first stage of a back-pain program is core activation. In this stage we get the above muscles to fire in the proper manner and sequence without moving the spine (there are other muscles that move the spine, such as when sitting up from bed).
Transverse wraps around the body, much like corset. Multifidus is the only muscle to cross the pelvis and the sacrum (triangular bone where are vertebrae fused) and attach to the spine. Women know of contracting the pelvic floor as doing keigels or stopping from unrinating and men think of stepping into waste deep cold water and have your testicles draw up.
All need to "turn on" at the same time to keep the teeter totter of the pelvis stable and balanced. When all are working properly the abdomen will be flat instead of hollowed out. If, you are hollowed your spine will be flexed and no longer in neutral.
In clients with back pain, multifidus on one side is often weak and the other side over active and tight. Place your fingers in your lower spine, glide it to the side until you feel the muscle. Our role through feedback and touching is to re-awaken it. Think of it as as a cable that gently tightens up as it contracts - when done properly it feels as though it is swelling a little without moving your pelvis.
Start by laying on your back with legs bent, shoulders relaxed. Try to get all three gently tightening as you exhale in a sequence - pelvic floor, multifidus and transverse, then release them in the reverse order. One tip is to place a pillow between your legs to get assist the pelvic floor to tighten.
If, you want more information and guidance contact Lifemoves
today to book your assessment.
Labels: back pain, Core, multifidus, pelvic floor, transverse
Simple Tips to Get Moving With Knee Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis can be a real pain in the knee. We are seeing more and more clients in their mid 40's to 60's coming to us complaining of knee pain or even on the waiting list for total knee replacements because the cartilage has completely worn down.
They want to stay active, but knee pain limits their ability to walk, hike, bike, play golf or doother activities they enjoy including work.
Often the quadriceps (front of the thigh) are tight and weak compared to the hamstrings (back of the thighs). As well, with our clients we generally find an imbalance between the outer and inner quadriceps. Both of these problems misalign the petella and knee joint which results in wear and tear of the cartilage (joint cushion) in specific areas. Without this cushion the bones push into each other resulting in joint pain, weakness and instability.
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that progresses over many years. Since, bones go where muscles pull it is necessary to re balance the strength and length of the muscles surrounding the knee, hip and ankle to get back to being active.
Stretching properly, on a daily basis combined with appropriate strength training exercises will gradually improve your ability to stand and walk for long periods time while reducing the frequency, intensity and duration of knee pain.
Here some basic guidelines:
- Always let pain be your guide. Stop, if you are feeling pain in the joint DURING an exercise.
- Some discomfort is ok. Delayed On Set Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is when you feel an ache in the muscle that lasts about 24-48 hours after you exercise. Any pain in the joint indicates that you probably over-did it.
- Quadriceps to Hamstring Strength = 3:2, people with knee pain it is often reversed. Focus on gradually increasing quadriceps strength, while maintaining hamstring strength.
- Limit the Range of Motion to Pain FREE when doing Leg Extensions, Hamstring Curls and Leg Presses, Lunges and other exercises using your lower-body. The most pressure on the joint is when your leg is straight and bent past 80 degrees.
- Try low-impact cardiovascular activities such as snowshoeing, walking, elliptical, slow-moderate paced walking on gentle hills, swimming or aquatic exercise classes, cross-country skiing.
- Add traction during each stretch. Traction opens the joint space instead of compressing it which wears it down and increases pain even more (think of a grinding coffee).
- Reduce the amount of sugars in your diet to reduce inflammation.
- Follow your Doctor's guidelines: Limitations are those you set yourself; restrictions are those the Doctor, Kinesiologist or Physiotherapist sets for you.
- Follow your Doctor's guidelines when taking taking any prescription/non-prescription anti-inflammatory medication.
- Use crushed ICE wrapped in a wet towel on the knee joint for 10-20 min to reduce inflammation.
understand that the body is interconnected. What is going on the ankle and hip affect the knee. There are several phases to a knee rehabilitation program. To have your posture and movement patterns assessed contact Lifemoves
Labels: active rehabilitation, cross-country skiing, fascial stretch therapy, flexibility, injury management, joint pain, myofascial pain, osteoarthritis, snowshoeing, stretch tips
BOSU or Stability Ball: How to Choose When You Can Only Have One
Last week I was asked by a client "Should I get a BOSU
or a Stability Ball
for my home?" This was not an either or to me as they both have their advantages and disadvantages. When choosing between the two know is it for and what is their exercise/health history. It is also important need to know what your long and short term exercise goals are before choosing between the two pieces of small home gym equipment.
I put together a short list of things to consider when choosing between a BOSU and a Stability Ball.
BOSU: Both Sides Up
- Versatility: As the name implies it can be used BOth Sides Up: dome side up or flat side.
- It can be used for balance, strength, core and cardiovascular exercise.
- It is easy to store.
- You can stand on it.
- You can sit on it.
- It won't roll away from you.
- You can do advanced Plyometrics on it, landing softly while needing to maintain balance.
- Outstanding tool for developing joint proprioceptors and joint stability in the lower up and lower-body.
- Requires more skill and instruction to use have variety.
- Increased chances injuring your ankles, if your not careful with foot placement. Standing on the dome side places your feet in a similar position to what happens when people sprain their ankles. Also, calf strains can occur when stepping up down quickly and while not be aware of foot placement.
- Requires more balance skills and awareness to stand on the flat side.
- Needs more room surrounding it in case you do fall off.
- Cost though, though from Twist they come with a DVD and foot-pump.
- Difficult to substitute BOSU as a weight lifting bench.
Stability Ball: Physio-Ball, Balance Ball
- Versatility: Strength, Seated Balance, Core, Kneeling Balance
- More common piece of equipment. There is more to it then just core.
- Light, easy to carry.
- BOSU Balast Ball - has sand to keep it from moving while adding resistance when moving it around with your arms.
- Higher to from the ground, better for your spine when doing seated work.
- Lower cost than BOSU, but usually does not come with hand or foot-pump or DVD.
- The only easy way to do cardio with it is to pick up and do basic hi-low movements or use a step.
- It rolls around, difficult to store.
- More dangerous to do kneeling exercises or even stand on it.
- You need to find the right size (hips should be slightly above knees when sitting on it)
Contact Alfred or Sahba at firstname.lastname@example.org
if you want some lessons on how to use these to maximize the benefit and fun from your exercise program.
Labels: Ballast Ball, BOSU, Core, Home Gym, Stability Ball
Indvidualizing Yoga Practice to Relieve Neck and Back Pain
Last month I was challenged by a client to develop an active rehabilitation program that they could do at home as part of a regular Yoga practice. Finding a solution to this was important for me, the Kinesiologist and the client because doing so would mean adherence to the exercise rehabilitation program, therefore a greater chance of successful recovery from their soft-tissue injuries.
Communication, as within any Client-Kinesiologist relationship, was very important in achieving success. This client chose me mainly because I practice Yoga on a semi-regular basis and understand the basic principles, limitations and flow of Yoga within the context of soft-tissue rehabilitation.
While an excellent Yoga instructor will give participants modifications for their limitations, it is still very difficult to follow an individualized program in a class format. Our solution was for me to first teach the client the movements I wanted them to achieve and I also explained the principles of how to elongate and rebalance using the Stretch to Win
During each session they then demonstrated a series of poses that they thought would achieve our desired outcome. From there we developed an exercise/pose order that would flow while accomplishing our goal.
I find it rewarding to assist clients who are curious about movement, have the desire to get each movement correct, who want to learn more about their body and who diligently follow the instructions I give them. We discovered an excellent Yoga Anatomy
book with illustrations showing which muscles are being strengthened and stretched during each pose. At home, the client researched and marked the poses they thought would be appropriate; during the next session we discussed the merits of each one.
By correcting each pose the client started to develop a deeper relationship with how to move properly to alleviate their back and neck pain. We succeed in reducing the intensity and frequency of their headaches, neck and mid-back pain because we ensured that we communicated clearly; the program also balanced the way they were psychologically motivated with their physiological rehabilitation needs.
Many people suffer with neck, upper-back and shoulder pain because of poor posture. Chronic tight chest, rolls the shoulder forward and up which also the head forward. There is a reflex that keeps us looking foward, so when the head-pokes forward we also get tightness just below the skull.
In our rehabilitations sessions we focused on the cause of their soft-tissue pain, rather than chasing the pain. Choose postures to open up the front of the body, bring collerbone back down and re-align the head over the shoulders. If, you sit a lot for work include stretches and postures to open the hip flexors.
Labels: active rehabilitation, fascial stretch therapy, flexibility, soft-tissue, stretch to win, stretching, whiplash, yoga
6 Ways to Stay Active Outside During Winter
Often during the winter many people become in-active or hibernate in the gym during the winter. From the mountains on the North Shore to the newly renovated skating rink in Robson Square and Richmond Oval Vancouver, to hiking on the trails, Vancouver offers many fantastic ways to keep moving while enjoying time with family and friends.
1. Cross Country Skiing
is a full-body activity that combines aerobic endurance with muscular endurance. Choose from the low-impact more gentle classic technique or push yourself a little more by choosing to skate ski. Cypress Mountain
has the lower-trails for beginners or make your way up to the top if you are more advanced and looking for more adventure. Enjoy a hot-chocolate or lunch at the rustic Hollyburn Lodge. (Yes, there are downhills!)
: Explore Seymour
, Grouse Mountain
or Cypress Mountain
on snowshoes. Get your heart pumping and legs stronger while working on your balance as you float across the snow. Go for a casual walk or join the Yeti Snowshoe Running Races
(5km or 10km). Did you know the World Snowshoe Running Championships are coming in 2010?
3. Nordic Pole Walking:
Easily head out your front-door with this low-impact activity and free activity. Using Nordic Poles gets your upper-body working, gives you more stability and raises your heart-rate. Add YakTraxs
to your shoes for more grip on the ice and snow. Remember to point your poles behind you and into the ground to help propel you forward.
4. Ice Skating: As a young child in Saskatchewan I remember going ice skating on an outdoor rink sometime around Christmas with my parents. We can now do to this again in the refurbished GE ICE Plaza at Robson Square for Free it is open 9am to 9pm through the Olympics. Head to Richmond Oval and skate on the same ice that Olympians will use for Speed Skating. Skating is always good for a laugh and good memories.
If you think Snowboarding is only for kids and teenagers think again. I know one 60 year old who took up snowboarding and had a great time his first time out. You don't have to be going through the half-pipe and turning tricks to enjoy yourself while working on your balance and co-ordination. Grouse
will be open 24 hours during the Olympics and Seymour is honouring Cypress Mountain
passes during this time.
6. Downhill Skiing: With several mountains available to us, downhill skiing seems to be a popular sport at any age. This one of the riskier winter sports, common injuries for downhill skiers are ACL, MCL, meniscus tears and even broken legs. Ski to your level and be aware of others around to avoid injuring yourself or someone else unintentionally. Downhill skiing is less aerobic than some of the other choices, but it certainly will help with hip, knee and core-strength. Keep your torso upright to limit stress on your lower-back. Cypress, Whistler, Blackcomb and Seymour are all great places to enjoy the glide of finding your edge.
Which to Choose?
Find an activity that you enjoy, you find a little challenging and gives you a sense of accomplishment. Invest in a lesson at the beginning of the day; then take what you learned out on the snow for the rest of the time. If, you are trying a new activity there are lots of places to rent equipment either on the mountains or at outdoor shops such as MEC
What to Wear?
Even though Vancouver generally has mild winters remember to dress in layers and dress appropriately for the weather (it can be wet). Since, you are going to be moving and yes, sweating start with base layer of long-underwear that wicks away moisture and finish with outerwear that is light, wind-resistant, snow/water proof and breathable. We lose the most heat from our feet and head, so add a toque, gloves and warm socks to keep you completely warm. Have a set of dry clothes ready to change into when you finish, so you don't get cold.
What to Bring?
One lesson a I learned from competing in Biathlon is to bring a water-bottle with you filled with you warm or hot water, by the time you are ready to drink it will be cool instead of frozen. Also, bring snacks such as trail-mix to keep you fueled.
Lastly when heading into the great outdoors go with a friend or at the very least let someone know where you are heading.
Labels: cross-country skiing, outdoor sports, skating, snowboarding, snowshoeing, winter
Relieve Trigger Points to Overcome Soft-Tissue Pain
Disclaimer: This post is not intended as medical advice. This post is for educational purposes only. There are many factors that can produce myofascial pain, including stress. If you have numbness, tingling, headaches, dizziness or other symptoms please see your primary care provider first to determine or eliminate possible other causes.
Have you ever wondered what those sore spots are when you push your finger into a muscle or wonder why your upper-back and neck are achy after working on the computer for longer periods of time? You probably have trigger points. Whether they are latent or active, we all have them.
What are Trigger Points?
Not many people know that Trigger Points exist. Janet G. Travell and David G. Simons were the first to really discover and describe referral patterns of trigger points. They also wrote the "bible of trigger point therapy" that therapists use as a reference Trigger points are areas of the muscle's contractile unit, the sarcomeres that are not letting go. They are "knotted" and pulling on either end of the muscles. TrPs can be the size small grains of sand, big tennis ball or ropes.
Latent are ones that you can only feel when pressure is applied to them. Muscles with trigger points in them do not gain strength nor do they get bigger.
Active TrPs first tell you they are there by whispering, when ignored they shout and when ignored even more they yell so loud that it becomes disabling. When TrPs are not dealt with when they are whispering it takes longer to find relief and the muscle takes longer to heal.
You can use hands, tennis balls, Trigger Point Therapists and other tools to deactivate them. The trick here is more is not better. If they are particularly senstive, chronic or you are new to self-treatment be gentle, use short pulsing strokes. Intensity about 2-6/10. Start gently and gradually by working your way into them. When deactivated muscles won't produce pain when pressed on. Start to strengthen again when you no longer have trigger points in that area.
Be very gently with any stretching that you do. Most people tend to overstretch, which causes the fasica and muscles to contract.
Explore Vancouver Registered Massage Therapist Paul Ingraham's website for more details on trigger points and how to save yourself.
Live in the North Vancouver area? Book a consultation with Lifemoves' Kinesiologists to help you identify your trigger points, faulty posture and movements that could be making them worse. Learn to relieve soft-tissue pain and increase freedom of movement.
Labels: muscle, myofascial pain, soft-tissue, trigger points
Perserverence Leads Lifemoves' Client to 100th Grouse Grind
The 19th Annual BMO Grouse Grind Mountain Run turned into a milestone for Barbara, who more than 20 years ago was learning how to tie her shoes again after a brain aneurysm, completed her 100th Grouse Grind.
She is always demonstrating her determination to lead an active and independent life, even with her disability.
We are proud of her. Alfred enjoys her humour and positive outlook during each session. She was also kind enough to show off her agility ladder and balance skills for the camera as part of the short film Capilano University Students put together for Lifemoves.
Thank you and Congratulations!
Labels: Brain Injury, Perseverance