Massage Therapy and Core Stabilizer Activation

I have had some low back issues lately. They have been occurring occasionally with severe acute presentations. I had an MRI done and discovered that I have a moderate L4/5 disc bulge. Part of my issue is that my core muscles were not strong enough to stabilize my spine. I am now doing specific exercises to help to strengthen these muscles but like any muscle that is being strengthened, that didn’t fire properly before, needs to be taught to fire properly. On closer analysis, I’ve come to realize just how much my muscles were not firing when they should. 

I went for a bike ride today. What I experienced is that my back muscles were working hard with the position that I was riding in, but my abdominals were not firing or working as they should. This ride I decided to not fire them intentionally, but to use them by keeping my pelvis tilted in a neutral position and not allowing the torso to rotate at all when I was riding. To control this, requires good core stabilizer control. It also requires that my hip muscles (glutes, quads, hamstrings, tfl) allow proper movement of the hip joint. Tight muscles around the hip always cause excess compensatory movements in the spine.  

I have also come to realize how tight my hip flexors are after my rides. That is a big contributor to my issues with spine stabilization as the hip flexors attach to the spine, usually at around 20 – 30 degrees from the spine.  My low back felt a little bit tight after the ride so I spent some time stretching my glute muscles and hip flexors and I’m consciously keeping my core muscles tight and I’m doing very well. 

In my experience, dysfunction in other areas often cause problems with the back. Strength, mobility of all surrounding areas and awareness of an triggers during the day that can be accentuating the pain can really help with progress for a healthy back for years to come.

Got Pins?

Very often after a fracture or similar, a client will keep bolts or pins to hold the bones in place. To find comfort from muscle pain, a client may enjoy using heat by either a heat blanket, parrafin wax, or similar. An important thing to know is that this heat application can heat up the metal pins or rods much more quickly than the tissues. If the metal heats up too quickly, it can burn the tissues surrounding the rod. The metal can also take longer to cool down so the burns can be significant so it is very important that the a person with metal implants using heat #1- not use paraffin wax under any circumstances and #2- use low to medium heat with heat pads and similar.

Hot Hot Hot!!

Eating something that is really good but too spicy? Put a little sugar or honey into it. I just learned that sweetness takes away from over spiciness. For example, I love ginger tea. I buy some ginger root, chop it up and put in hot water. It’s really good and really good for me but a little bit hot, so I put some honey into the tea and it drastically reduces the spiciness to it. BTW, ginger is a great antiviral, anti-inflammatory and great for the digestive system.