but we need to focus more attention on movement and flexibility of all of these smaller muscles that control the movement of the spine. Wouldn't it be great if we had one exercise that would provide flexion, extension, lateral flexion and rotation?
A good deal of attention in a typical workout focuses on what I call the glamour muscles, the Abs and Obliques. Often what happens is that these muscles are trained extensively while very little attention is devoted to other important core muscles like the Thoracolumbar Fascia, External Obliques, or Gluteus Minimus, for example. So this causes an imbalance and all you need is lifting a heavy object in an awkward position or hacking your golf ball out of heavy rough to expose this core imbalance and cause an injury that results in a bout of serious back pain. So we need to incorporate exercises to utilize all of the core muscles and bring the body back into balance.
Regular exercisers are naturally better protected from back pain incidents because they have normally strengthened most of the major muscles which will often provide a level of back protection from those awkward or very strenuous movements. Exercisers also tend to work on flexibility and range of motion, adding another layer of back protection.
By Dave Kauppi, President Coreobics, Inc.
It's time to rethink our approach to core exercise and back pain. Why do I say this? Because the current approach is not working. Back pain is the second most common reason for visits to the doctor’s office, outnumbered only by upper-respiratory infections.
In fact, if anything, the problem of back pain in America is escalating. This is due to a number of factors including a sedentary lifestyle, obesity, lack of exercise, decreased flexibility and overtraining the abs and obliques versus the smaller muscles in the back.
oxygen, and nutrients, it also can deliver the natural pain relieving chemicals of the body to the affected nerves. This same process also helps remove the metabolic waste products, so important in the repair and healing process.
It's Time to Rethink Our Approach to Core Exercise and Back Pain
According to the New England Journal of Medicine, "8 out of 10 Americans will have back pain problems at some point during their lifetime."
The medical costs are skyrocketing with the indirect costs estimated at twice the direct costs due to lost work days and loss of productivity. What about the tremendous pain and suffering these people endure? The recommended change to our approach is that we need to treat back pain proactively to prevent it in the first place rather than responding and treating it after the fact.
Most back pain sufferers report only moderate satisfaction with the most popular current treatment solutions.
Perhaps our biggest enemy in the back pain battle is time, or more appropriately, ageing. As we age, we typically become less active (we need to change this) but, ageing is the biggest cause of intervertebral disc degeneration, the loss of thickness, flexibility, suppleness and cushioning of the tissue between the vertebrae . Intervertebral discs have no significant vascular structures and therefore have to receive their blood supply by diffusion through the vertebral body endplates.
A network of vessels located centrally in the end plate allows the nutrients to diffuse into the Nucleus pulposus.
In other words the "last mile" of the delivery of blood flow, oxygen, nutrients, and moisture into the gel-like Nucleus pulposus is through diffusion. Two separate studies have shown that this diffusion process is greatly supported through loading and unloading of the spine. Translation: the greater the movement of the spine, the greater the exchange of fluids, the greater the delivery of blood, oxygen, nutrients, and moisture. This results in healthier, more flexible, more supple, and thicker Intervertebral discs. The natural result is a healthier back with more cushion, less likelihood of a herniated disc, nerve aggravation and back pain.
Maybe the most alarming statistic, however is the incidence of the recurrence of back pain. This suggests that our treatments are providing a temporary relief from the excruciating pain, but often do not address the root of the problem.
OK, I think these statistics will reinforce your view that the current approach is not working, but what do we do to change this? First, let's look at the way the spine operates. The four movements measured are flexion, extension, lateral flexion and rotation.
This simulation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s35opjThA9E shows how the combination of spinal movements gently stimulates the intervertebral discs. This increases the flow of blood, oxygen and nutrients and the removal of inflamatory metabolic by products, promoting supple and flexible disc tissue.
This spinal movement (loading and unloading) if performed under professional instruction or supervision can be valuable in the treatment and recovery from back pain as well. Along with delivering the blood flow,
We believe that the key to addressing the back pain epidemic in America is to be more proactive in our approach and to do simple exercises that:
Flexion is forward bending; extension is bending backward; lateral flexion is side bending; and rotation is a twisting motion. So, ideally we would select exercises that incorporate all four of these motions and exercise every muscle that supports each. There are 18 muscles that control the movement of the Cervical Spine, 5 muscles that control the movement of the Thoracic Spine, and 8 muscles that control the movement of the Lumbar Spine. Some workout routines do a better job than others, Yoga versus weight training, for example. Don't get me wrong, any exercise is better than none, but
Maybe I should have entitled this article, "How I Won my Twenty Year Battle with Back Pain". I have been a back pain sufferer for over twenty years and nothing I did provided me long lasting relief. I knew that treating my back pain after a flare up was a never ending cycle. So I tried to be proactive and strengthen my core muscles. I tried the core strengthening exercises I used when I was a college athlete and more than not, they would initiate another bout of back pain. I knew that prevention was the answer, but I could not find the right solution. That is why I invented the Coreobics360. My back has not been this healthy in over twenty years.
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