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Spine 101.Do You Have Back or Neck Pain? Are You Doing The Right Exercises?

Most adults have back pain at some point and time in their life. Back pain is one of the most debilitating injuries that is suffered by the majority of Americans. This blog post is for everyone; nurses, parents, lawyers, butchers, bakers and software makers who all need a healthy back to do their jobs and perform their everyday activities.  It is also a blog post for people who run (like me:), ride, swim or skate; people who throw things, swing things, paddle things or kick things!!…a blog post for people who want to avoid injury and improve their life and sport.

Did you know that 80-90% of people are doing the wrong exercises to help with their back issues.

Stabilizing your spinal segments is the key to help your back pain. We now know through much studied science that the spine has many muscles that perform different functions, some act as sensors, some act as stabilizers and other work to create powerful movements. Now that we know these differences and understand spinal function we can better develop an exercise prescription that will train trunk muscles for their specific functions.

Always go to your primary care physician and get the “OK” before you start an exercise program. At Health and Exercise Prescriptions we create exercise prescriptions that are made for the individuals and their special conditions/Medication and or previous injuries. CHECK US OUT >

How fragile is our spine? Did you know that the spine would buckle under 20 lbs of load with out our supporting muscles; becoming injured. Normal every day activities put at least 175 lbs of pressure on our spine. As you can see our supporting muscle are essential for everyday normal task, lifting, bending, etc.

Your back pain keeps coming back not because of a “muscle problem” but, more a” neurologic problem” most likely from the injured nerve.Our neurologic system plays a key role in spinal stabilization….our muscle are controlled by our nervous system to function. If you “pinch” a nerve it makes the nerve impulse less strong; example if a muscle usually contracts at 100%… after a nerve gets “pinched” it my only contract at 60%  of full strength.So the weakness is neurological and not so much muscular. Neuromuscular re-education is a specific way to train the segments of your spine and the muscles that where effected directly by the nerve being “pinched”  so as to regain the full contraction of the muscle being recruited during movement activities.

Spine 101

Our spine has 30 individual bones called vertebrae which are connected by ligaments and spinal disc in between the vertebrae. The disc and ligaments attach one vertebrae to the next and limit the small amount of motion that occurs between vertebrae when ever moving.

Upper region of the spine is called the cervical spine, the middle of the spine is called the thoracic spine and the lower back is lumbar and sacrum respectively. Each segment of your spine (which there are 30) has nerves that feed out to muscles and organs to communicate to them. These nerves feed out of the spine through holes called  inter-vertebral foramina ; when the joint is not aligned up it can impinge these nerve roots ,effectively shutting down communication to certain muscles and organs.

All movements of your body result in some degree of motion at the spinal joints. The key to healthy movement is spinal stability!

Did you know that your disc and ligaments are the weak link in your spine! The disc and ligaments can only take approximately  13-20 lbs of load before an injury occurs. Without the many layers of muscle to support your spine it would collapse.

Lets summarize what we have just read….all joints in the body must be properly aligned for the joint to function properly just like a door hinge. If your door hinge was not properly aligned the door would probably not shut or function properly.

We now know that there is a difference between spinal stability muscles(stabilize vertebrae segments) and spinal movement muscles(are big muscles). Stabilizing muscles are small and are generally  in the middle layer of the trunk muscles and usually only cross a couple of spinal(25) segments. Spinal Movement muscles are bigger muscles and are more the outer layer of muscle such as the Abdominal and obliques. 

As you can see back pain can be more complicated to rehabilitate than just doing some crunches and back extensions. The next part of this series we will discuss which muscles are working when you are exercising stabilizing muscles and  give you one example of an exercise that does just that.

Well I hope this helps you out little bit understand your spine and the differences between stabilizer muscle training and the bigger spinal movement muscles.

If you would like a personal Health and Exercise Prescription that would encompass your whole body please contact me.

Thank you for your time and energy….Be well

Jaime Hernandez

Health and Exercise Prescriptions
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