Low Back Pain

Low Back Pain – Why You Have it & How to ELIMINATE it

David Grant

Low Back Pain:

Why You Have it & How to Eliminate it!

Low Back Pain? Why & Where it Comes From

Low back pain, why do so many of us have it, and why is it so hard to eliminate? There are many angles in which we could attack this topic. I will use the simplistic approach of focusing on Movement, Mobility, Corrective Exercises & lifestyle changes to demonstrate how easy it is to make massive changes with minimal effort in a short amount of time.

Tip 1: Movement

We need to learn how to move. The issue with the leaning tower of Pisa is not the top floor. Just like the construction of a building, our body needs to be addressed from the ground up. The beautiful homes sitting in the water on stilts look like a fantastic place to vacation, but I think we can all agree they are not the best place to live. Why? Well, that is simple. They are not stable. We can say the same for our body. If the mobility (which we will discuss later) is not adequate and our movement is not correct, it would make sense that the same problem will occur. If a wave comes or the waters get too rough, what happens to the home on the stilts? Hopefully nothing, but do we want to take the same chance with our body. Fact is, we do exactly that every single day. Then we get injured or feel pain and relate it to our “old age,” the pillow we picked up off the ground, or simply not being active enough. Those things might play a role, but our body is anti-fragile and needs to be stressed. These stresses should not cause our body to break. They should make us stronger. Osteoporosis is a perfect example of the anti-fragility of the human body losing this battle.

So let’s start with a basic movement like a squat and discuss how this can cause low back pain when done incorrectly. What happens when your tires on your car are not aligned? Over a short period nothing, but letting this go for too long is dangerous. It will turn a simple thirty euro tire rotation into a much more expensive problem. Take a look at the video below, where I talk about the “Squat Conundrum.” Make sure to watch the second video where I also go into the importance of the correct technique in the deadlift. While the name “deadlift” definitely scares some people away (like my grandmother as she always thought it was an exercise for weight lifters) it is essential we understand how the movement relates to everyone ALL THE TIME!

 

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Tip 2: Mobility

We can have the most beautiful car, but if we do not take care of it than what is the point? The human body is the most sophisticated machine to date, but if we do not understand the owners manual or how to take care of it – eventually it will break down. So let’s get the oil back in our engine and increase the performance of our beautiful machine.

How do we do this & why will this help our low back pain? We do this through simple mobility exercises, and this allows our joints, fascia, and muscle to slide & glide like they need to. When the system functions correctly, the pain will go away. In this case, it is our low back pain. However, you can easily apply this all to the whole body.

The Key Players

The hips are one of the major engines of our body. They also have the most significant muscles & they all attach directly to the lower back itself (if we include the Sacrum, which we TOTALLY SHOULD.) Imagine if you were sitting on the ground, and I placed fifty kilos on your lap. It would be pretty hard to stand up. This is exactly what happens when the muscles of our hips get tight. The muscles crank down on the hips and low back like a rope on a tent. The problem arises when we want to act as if nothing has changed. We run, jog, attend Crossfit classes, Yoga classes, or pick up our child/pet from the ground. The hips need the mobility to move, but everything is so cranked down, and tight there is no chance. BAM! Something goes in the back, and now you are not able to walk for the next three days. You have just thrown your back (or Sacro-Iliac joint) out. Not only will focusing on the butt & hips prevent low back pain (glute maximus, medius, & TFL especially) it will also allow you to do more of what you love because you feel AMAZING

 

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Don’t Get Broken by the Achilles

The Achilles is also a massive issue with the squat. We can relate this issue to the shoes we wear and the fact we are seldom BAREFOOT! Almost all shoes have something called a “heel raise,” which is the height difference between the back of the shoe (the heel) in relation to the front of the shoe. This difference means that our achilles is always in a shortened position and loses its range of motion (ROM.) The achilles ROM is crucial in the squat because as the hips begin to move better and gain the ROM they need, the achilles synergistically does the same. So the ROM of the achilles is directly related to the movement of the hips

 

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Tip 3: Corrective Exercises – Balance & Proprioception!

Damn it, people! Focus on your balance PLEASE! No, no, only kidding. No need for me to be so rude. Although it is a topic that should be taken seriously, the transition of the legs during walking (and more with jogging/running) leaves us with one leg on the ground. Any time our legs are split (like a lunge, tying our shoe, or picking something up from the ground) our center of gravity shifts and the balance becomes a little harder. You notice this when you have had one too many margaritas or glasses of wine.

We can help our body increase its balance and proprioception (which is a fancy word for the combination of balance and coordination.) by overloading our nervous system and making it adapt. These exercises can be done with or without weight as the primary focus should be on maintaining proper balance and not setting our foot down every time we begin to struggle

 

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As your nervous system adapts and these exercises get easier, try changing the surface. Using an Airex pad, Bocu Ball or an unstable surface is a real game changer!

Tip 4: LifeStyle

Bitte Schlaffen! OR Please Sleep in English 😀

We need 7-9 hours of sleep minimum. If you think that you can function on six hours or less, you are wrong, and there is so much science to prove it you would be amazed (check out my book review here if you want to learn more.) If we do not get enough sleep or we are going to bed with alcohol in our system, our body cannot regenerate. Specifically, our short term memory is affected, and this prevents the transfer of our daily tasks and responsibilities (or what we have learned) to the long term chamber of our brain. Ever notice how difficult it is to remember someone’s name, or what you need from the grocery store when you lack sleep? Now you know why.

So light the candles grab a paper book (so stay away from blue light) and begin to calm your nervous system down before you sleep. Try to get a full eight or nine hours with seven being the minimum. Do this for one week straight, and you will be blown away by the results.

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Movement is our Medicine & Education is our Therapy!

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Join me EVERY MONDAY at 3 PM & FRIDAYS 4 PM CET on Instagram (German Time) for my LIVE Feed where I discuss new topics and issues in Nutrition, Sleep, Movement, Mobility, Exercise, Mindfulness, & Injury Rehabilitation and then a Q&A after. I will answer all your questions along with all that was emailed me that week. I would love to have you there!

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