Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Got Back Pain? Then Stop Stretching Your Back!

A colleague of mine recently wrote about the correlation of lumbar spine stretching to low back pain and I thought it would be of interest to you.*

If you currently have back pain, have had it, or know of someone that has it, this is a must read. (That probably covers 99% of the population).

The lumbar spine isn't meant for excessive range of motion. Period.

So what's with all the excessive lumbar (lower) spine stretching that most gym goers do before and after exercise?

If you look at the research (specifically by that of Porterfield and DeRosa, and even more so by the work of Shirley Sahrmann), it's clear that there's roughly five to seven degrees of "acceptable" rotation between S1-L5, and one degree of rotation (each), from L4-L1; for a grand total of roughly 13 degrees of rotation.

Yet, watch many people "stretch" their backs, and they're getting way more than that and thinking it's healthy.

Isn't it quite coincidental that a vast percentage of lower back issues arise in S1-L5, yet this is the area that people stretch the most?

I have helped clients either completely eliminated or significantly reduce their lower back pain by just getting them to stop stretching their lower backs!

I'm specifically thinking of two clients right now.

This is usually more true of women because of their small amount of muscle mass (which helps stabilize the spinal column) and their interest in yoga and other flexibility-like activities.

It would be good if people would get away from thinking that lumbar range of motion is indicative of overall spinal health. It's not!

Certainly there are exceptions to the rule, but I feel that the vast majority of people who suffer from low back pain would be wise to stop stretching their lumbar spine and start focusing more on spinal stability.

In a future newsletter I'm considering including a video of stretches you should and should NOT do for your back.

In the meantime, please avoid any stretches that cause rotation or twisting in the lumber (low) spine. This will make a huge difference.


p.s. Remember to claim your 2 weeks fr.ee to my Get Results Boot Camp before this offer disappears.

You'll learn specific core strengthening exercises that help strengthen and create stability in the low back...and it's not sit-ups and crunches. (When those two are done excessively, as is usually the case, they can actually perpetuate the problem as opposed to fixing it even though you are "working" the core.

Why waste time in the gym month after month not getting the results you really want. Come out to boot camp and get results results in a fraction of the time.

Camp is open to all ages and fitness levels. Sessions can be tailored to your fitness level and ability.

Contact Tyron at TyronPiteau@gmail.com or 604.626.2342 to sign up.

*Original post by Tony Gentilcore. See point #3.

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