Back Pain, Neck Pain

Do you Wake Up With a Stiff Low Back?

    I remember years ago waking up with a very stiff low back.  There were times that if I sat for a while, even standing up would cause my low back to feel stiff. At its worst, I would climb out of my car on my hands. The best part is I drove  Lincoln Town Car, which is huge. I went to several doctors, some sent me to physical therapy while others offered pain pills, braces, and injections. All of the doctors said that if none of those options worked I would be headed for surgery. SURGERY! I was only 42 years old. That is where my personal journey began.

  My mentors responded with use your muscle knowledge. They would laugh and say, if you figure this out, that would be amazing! Are you ready for amazing?  I never did anything that would be a trauma like falling down or lifting something that was too heavy. All I did was spread wheelbarrows of mulch. If I worked in my yard for 3-4 hours, it would take me 3-5 days to get over it. I was frustrated and could not believe that I was dealing with that much pain.

   I began to look at my body as a whole mechanical machine. I asked the questions like, how does my body balance itself,  and if a muscle on one side tightens can it affect the opposite side?Not realizing at the time how profound those questions were, but how few health care practitioners asked the same questions. I remember asking myself, How can a good ole boy from North Carolina figure this out, when highly educated people have not? The answer is, these educated people are not trained to ask those questions.

      The final answer to my pain was not my back at all. When we think about body balance, it makes total sense that if a muscle on the front side was tight, the pressure on the back side would increase. The same can be said side to side. When I was spreading mulch, I would bend over to lift the mulch with a pitchfork, turn, and spread it over the ground. To do this I had to contract the 4 muscles, quads, on the front of my thighs and contract my inner thighs. The thigh muscles attach to my pelvis and my inner thighs attach to my pubis bone. As these muscle shorten, they will pull my pelvis forward. So how does that affect my back?

  Well, by pulling my pelvis forward ,the spine in the low back will bend which will cause my body to lean slightly forward. Over a short period of time, the lean will get worse. As it got worse, I would contract my hip and low back muscles to help me stand straighter. These muscle would tire from fighting with the front muscles. This resulted in muscle spasms in my low back.

   I solved the spasms by laying on my side, grabbing my top ankle and bringing my knee back behind my torso. I stretched my inner thighs by sitting in a chair, crossing my leg, and gently press down on my knee to stretch the inner thigh.You can see these stretches on my YouTube,  The Muscle Repair Shop. Give these a try for at least 2 weeks and you will see the difference. Let me know how you are doing by leaving a comment.

Back Pain

Back Pain is a Symptom, Not a Cause!

Too many times back pain is treated as if the back just started hurting out of the blue. Some believe they were born with a bad back, while others thinks it is age related. It does seem the back can just start hurting for no reason, but usually there is a cause for the pain and seldom is it the actual back. Some of you have had back surgeries or getting injections for back pain. There have been actual damage at the time of surgery, but it didn’t start out that way. Think about your car for a minute. if the front end is out of alignment, in the beginning you may feel the car drifting to one side or the other. If you continue to drive without aligning the front,your front tires may wear uneven.If you continue drive and just replace the tires, the control arms will wear out and now you re looking at a $1500 repair on most cars. In relationship to your body, the muscles in your legs get tight from movement or lifting things, heavy or not. At first your back feels stiff when you get up in the morning or after you have been sitting for a while. Most of us pass it off as just getting older, then we take a pain reliever, use a heating pad ,or ice. Then it relieves itself and you think you are fine. So you go back do similar things that cause your back stiffen again. Once you have done this several times, you start to believe it is just a sign of getting older and your friends will back up. Before you know it,you start getting a numbness down a leg or arm. Now you get scared and call a doctor. He may see some future issues through an x-ray or MRI, but he sends you to physical therapy. There you are taught how to strengthen your back muscles and some traditional stretching.it relieves the pain and you go back and similar things again that hurt your back the first time. You think that PT fixed your back so there is no correlation that what you are doing is causing the back pain. Healthcare practitioners are trying to help you, but they have been taught to treat the symptoms and not the cause. You have taught that age is a major cause of back pain or that some people are just born with a bad back.Sometimes the latter is true if they have a birth defect. I have read that across America, back surgery is successful in total relieve of pain less than 50% of the time. Why is that? Why is back pain the #1 reason people visit a doctor?

The problem is we are trained to go to the site of the pain. Next we are trained to look at the bones and not the muscles, and if we do have any training with the muscles, it is only dealing with the physical side of the muscles. Your muscles are as much emotional as they are physical. Physically you can strain or tear a muscle. Emotionally, your brain controls every movement you muscles make. Think about when have had back pain and you start to get up out of a chair. The first you do is get up slowly as your brain is looking for the pain to happen. The brain will contract the muscles trying to limit the pain. That is your brain’s job, the fight or flight syndrome. When our ancestors were chased by Saber Tooth Tigers, their brains told them to run! Pain cause the same reaction by contracting the muscles.This is good in the short term, but long term it can make the pain worse. Typically low back pain is caused by tight inner thighs or thigh muscles. Upper back pain is caused by tight chest and neck muscles. In my next post I will dive deeper into how this happens and what you can do to relieve it naturally without drugs, braces, or surgery. I have been this for 13 years and have helped hundreds of people to avoid surgery and stop their pain. Are you ready to learn the truth about your back pain?