Tag Archives: back pain

5 Common and Painful Running Mistakes You May be Making

Running isn’t easy. At times it hurts. When the pain is more than the typical sore muscles and fatigue, there’s a problem. Thankfully there are answers. More often than not, the problems stem from the runner and not the activity itself.

I’ve had my share of pains through out my running career and thankfully I’ve had the help of a physical therapist to work through them and find their cause.

Like so many other therapists, assistant professor of physical therapy and director of the running clinic at Washington University in St. Louis, Gregory Holtzman, is helping runners overcome the technique problems that may be hurting them. In an article from MSNBC, we learned that Holtzman evaluates and records runners in his clinic to pin-point the issues that they are struggling with. He finds that there are five common issues that runners are diagnosed with in relation to their struggles.


Back Exercises You Can do at Home

Back exercises are often over-looked due to the popularity of abdominal exercises. Below is a list of back exercises that can be performed at home or anywhere that you feel inclined to exercise. The exercises mainly target the lower back, but also help improve core stability, balance, and coordination.

Core stability is defined as the ability of the muscles of the trunk to stabilize the spine during movement. Dozens of muscles help stabilize the core and most are isolated in the exercises below. Balance is defined as the state of equilibrium and the following exercises help improve  the strength and endurance levels of your muscles that help make balance possible. Coordination is defined as the skillful and effective interaction of movements. In order to maximize coordination, you must challenge the body by performing coordination based exercises and movements that allow the body to work and move more efficiently. Each exercise below targets a slightly different part of the back and helps improve coordination.


Use Isometric Core Exercises to Avoid Back and Neck Strain

What is the difference between isometric core exercises and crunches? First off, isometric (iso meaning same, and metric meaning distance) exercises are those in which the joint angle or muscle length do not change during the movement, or, in other words, the body is held in a non-moving or stable position to help isolate the targeted muscle group.  This type of movement is great for improving muscular strength and endurance without placing too much stress on the body.

Crunches are great for core strength and  endurance, as well, and isolates the abdominals extremely well, but places unnecessary stress on the neck and back. For most, this is no big deal, and the body can handle the stress, but for some with injuries or general weakness, those movement can cause pain, and even injury. (more…)

Improve Posture for Surprising Health Benefits

Do you have good posture? Are you hunched over at your desk while typing on the computer? Proper posture may not seem like that big of a deal, but realistically, it truly is. Proper posture is about more than holding your head up high; it is crucial for eliminating any unnecessary strains to certain muscles, joints, bones, or organs.

With correct posture, you can look taller, slimmer, and come across as being extremely confident- all of which are “A-OK” in my book. (more…)

Yoga Postures for a Sore Back


Leeann Carey, founder of Planet Yoga

Guest blogger, Leeann Carey, is the founder of Planet Yoga Teacher Training Programs and an acclaimed yoga instructor with over twenty years of teaching experience. Leeann has trained everyone, from World Champion Los Angeles Lakers to celebrities and from students looking for a great workout and people on the healing path from injuries or chronic health issues.

I remember the days when I used to spring out of bed in the morning or read a book without squinting my eyes and furrowing my brow. I’m in fairly good shape for my 49 years of healthy living, but as of late, some mornings I wake up with an achy lower back. Millions of Americans complain of lower back aches when there is nothing structurally wrong.

Perhaps you strained your back lifting something or used poor bio-mechanics throughout the day to perform daily activities. Maybe you spend most of your day sitting at a computer which our bodies aren’t built for. Of course, accumulated stress can settle in your back without you even knowing it. (more…)

Yoga for Back Pain

If you have ever suffered from back pain, you know firsthand just how physically and emotionally draining it can be. Today, back pain sufferers can treat their pain with an assortment of over-the-counter medications, heat pads, ice packs, physical therapy sessions, and a number of other medical treatments like surgery or steroid injections.

But as more of us seek out non-invasive and drugless alternatives to treat ailments, yoga has been gaining popularity as a way to improve back pain.

Whether it is a sufferer’s first line of defense or last resort, yoga for back pain is an effective and non-invasive way to treat the symptoms of back pain and prevent it in the first place.

Here is what you need to know about yoga and back pain.


3-Part Workout to Make You Sweat

jumping ropeHave you been doing the same workout routine day in and day out? Well, it’s about time to change that. I have designed a workout that works your entire body while making you sweat from head to toe. The workout is designed to keep you moving from one exercise to the next without pausing or taking time to catch your breath; which means this workout may not be for everyone.

If you have heart problems or have been told what to do by a doctor; please listen to their advice. This workout starts off with a nice heart-racing warm-up and and back-burning cool-down. Lower back pain is one of the biggest problems the majority of my clients have, thus I tend to work the lower back at the end of each workout to help increase strength and flexibility without taking away from the actual workout. Be careful and please use proper technique while performing these movements. (more…)

Obesity and Back Pain

Obesity is a pain in the neck… and the back. It’s not just a concern for long-term life or death health issues, but it also affects your day-to-day functions. Among the many side effects of being heavy, one of the more pressing issues is low back pain.woman with back pain

According to researchers, the percentage of people in North Carolina suffering from chronic low back pain has more than doubled since the early ’90s (from 3.9% in 1992 to 10.2% in 2006). They see the state as a mirror image of the nation as a whole.

The pain is not only agonizing to deal with each day, but the problems resonate even further. That is, you’re less productive. (more…)

Top 5 Back Exercises

back musclesThe “Back” is made up of three main muscles and several smaller ones as well. The main three consist of the Trapezius, Latissimus Dorsi, and The Rhomboids. The Trapezius is a diamond shaped muscle located near the top of the back and it helps with neck and shoulder blade movement. The Latissimus Dorsi (largest muscle in body) is located near the sides of the back (wings) and it is used for pulling the shoulders downward and toward the back. The Rhomboids are located in the center of the back and are used to squeeze the shoulder blades together.

Top 5 Back Exercises
cable lat pulldown weight training
cable lat pulldown with wide overhand grip

(Click on image to view this exercise…)

Wide Grip Lat Pull-Down
cable lat pulldown weight training
cable lat pulldown with medium neutral grip

(Click on image to view this exercise…)

Neutral/Close Grip Lat Pull-DownStanding Cable, Barbell, Dumbbell Shrug
cable shrug weight training
cable shrug

(Click on image to view this exercise…)

Seated Cable Row
cable row weight training
seated cable row with medium neutral grip

(Click on image to view this exercise…)

Low Back Extension
hyperextension machine back extension weight training
back extension on machine with arms across chest

(Click on image to view this exercise…)

See the rest of Matt’s Top 5 Exercises for muscle groups like the shoulders, biceps and triceps.

Chiropractics 101

I’ve just recently started to research and investigate the practice of chiropractics. Coming from a medical family, I have often looked upon this form of health care with hesitation and doubt. But since many of my friends have had successful treatment outcomes after visiting with a certified and trained chiropractor, I thought I would give it some further inspection. In doing so, I’ve learned about the basic premise of this system of medicine.

Chiropractic is based upon what science has told us namely, that our nervous system, comprised of brain, spinal cord and millions of nerves controls the function of every tissue, organ, system and even cell in our body. Our typical daily activities of daily living cause the normal positioning of the spine to get jolted out of its healthy stance. In doing so, the nervous system is rendered dysfunctional and this can lead the physical signs and symptoms of some type of illness, ache or pain that we feel.

A chiropractor will then try to manipulate the spine through specific adjustments to place it back in its original position. It is definitely a very compelling and fascinating premise and for me, arming myself with knowledge and information and then combining with a healthy punch of intuition is my best course of action before I take any action.