Back to Basics

Over the years we have had hundreds of clients and you would be amazed by the amount of people who have some kind of underlying back problem.

Think about it. I’ll bet you can count at least one person you’ve seen this week that has a problem with their back.

Now, not all back problems are the same – not by a long shot. However they do usually have one thing in common – they either affect or are being affected by POSTURE.

In 10 years of working in the health and fitness industry, eight of which have been working as a personal trainer, I can count on my left and the number of people that have had good posture and each one of them have never had any back pain! Everyone else that I see that has some kind of tightness in their back or neck, has bad posture.

Good posture is a key ingredient to rehabilitating your back.

If you are a back pain sufferer whether it be frequent or infrequent, it doesn’t matter – you have to get your posture strong.

So what muscles control posture? In a word, the “core”. This comprises several groups of muscles, both superficial and deep tissue muscles.

Your core function is essential to good posture and rehabilitating most back problems at any segmental level of the spine, must start by strengthening the weak muscles in your body, primarily the core muscles (unless you’ve a disc out of place – in that case you must first get the disc back in place then strengthen the muscles around the disc).

How often do you hear someone say ‘my back just went’. Went where? What is usually the case is the muscles around the spine are not strong enough and when the spine is loaded in combination with bad posture and weak muscles, the pressure is placed on the discs and ligaments of the spine and eventually some thing has got to give. In this position, usually it’s a disc.

Now once you’ve got a loose disc you have to start strengthening the muscles around that disc otherwise it will go again.

If you’ve had spinal manipulation you’ll know you have to keep going back to the osteopath or chiropractor in order to get your spine realigned.

This is because the muscles surrounding your spine have become weak and need to be strengthened, without the correct strengthening technique applied to the right muscles, your back or neck will continue to go.

So how do we strengthen core muscles?

Not doing sit ups! That’s the first thing you need to know, sit ups only strengthen your superficial muscles in the stomach they do nothing to strengthen your back and can make posture worse!

Next, you need to figure out what muscles need to be strengthened and which don’t.

Sometimes you can have a tight muscle on one side and a weak one on the other, so working both sides won’t help you. Your strengthening programme needs to be tailored to you.

You have to know what needs stretching and what doesn’t.

I recently had a client who was suffering from a lot of injuries. When we assessed her we discovered she was hyper mobile so I stopped her from stretching! Since then her back, neck and knees have shown massive improvement to the point where she can finally start to ski again!
If you need to improve your posture you have to get the right advice for your body.

Seek out a trained professional who can asses your posture.

Masters Personal Training can assess your core function flexibility and offer a full bio mechanical assessment. Get the right advice for your body.

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