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Jen >> Back problems from sitting...


3/27/07 6:53 AM
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SnoopBJJ
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Edited: 27-Mar-07 08:25 AM
Member Since: 11/22/2005
Posts: 262
 
Hi Bolo and anyone else than can help, I have recently discovered that sitting down all day at work is affecting my back way more than my training. I have been suffering from low back pain for a while now, and finally decided to do something about it by seeing a physio last week. I train in JKD, Kali, Silat and BJJ about 3 to 4 times a week. When I am not training, I work in IT and sit in front of a computer for 8 to 9 hours a day. The physio looked at my posture and thought I was right handed. I am left handed. He later said that it was the way I sit in front of the desk and my posture that was killing my back. My training is not the problem. I believe I have a tendency to lean on the right side when I sit and also when I stand. This is a causing a dull ache in my lower back down to the hip. I have followed the physios advice and and conditioning myself to sit properly inn front of my desk, and it is more difficult than it looks! I have done it for a day now, and my mid to upper back/lats feel very achy at the moment. I'm not sure if this is to due to training, or my back not being used to how I sit. I am having to sit up every 15 minutes or so back my back feels stiff. I have been reading about posture alignment on this forum and also the S&C forum, and I believe this may help cure my back problems. Has anyone got any recommendations on what books to read? Are Escogue's books any good, as I hear that name when it comes to this area of study? Also, would sitting on a swiss ball at home when in front of the computer help prevent slouching?
3/28/07 1:32 AM
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Bolo
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Edited: 28-Mar-07 01:58 AM
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SnoopBJJ, The human body was not design to hold a static position for hours and hours. The best thing would be to switch from sitting, standing, and kneeling. When one position begins to be uncomfortable or fatiguing, switch to another. In addition, take breaks and walk around every hour. You need to break up all that sitting. 8 - 9 hours of sitting wrecks your body and if you take that wrecked body and do martial arts, that will wreck it even more. By the way, you need to add walking and lots of it into your daily routine. No, sitting on a swiss ball will not prevent slouching. If you don't have the muscle endurance, your back will simply gas out and you will slouch. Sitting up straight won't reverse the problem that you have. I'm not even sure if it will even slow it down. The Egoscue books are good for a layman's understanding of posture and the various aspects of your body it affects. It's a good read for background on posture therapy. Don't count on the books to fix the problems you have. By the time you feel pain, your problems have been accumulating for a long time and a few exercise in a book won't fix the problem.
3/28/07 5:24 AM
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SnoopBJJ
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Edited: 28-Mar-07
Member Since: 11/22/2005
Posts: 263
Thanks Bolo for the advice. At the moment, the pain is not constant or excruciating, but I can feel it with certain motions. For example, I can feel it in the centre of my back when I arch backwards and on the sides if I side bend to the left or right (more pain on the right). If I lie on my back, straighten, say my right leg and move it across to my left side, then that stretch on my side can be a little painful. I think I'm going to add more walking into my routine. I think the misconception I had was that since I trained martial arts a few times a week, it was a substitute for walking. I'll start walking around the area where I work every lunch time. I'll also see if the physio is effective in fixing the problem, but I also want to be able to prevent it as well.
3/28/07 11:59 AM
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Bolo
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Edited: 28-Mar-07
Member Since: 01/01/2001
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SnoopBJJ, The problem with physio's and most other forms of therapy is that they are "site specific" when it comes to attempting to treat your problems. The body works as a unit and therefore must be treated as a unit. Some people will tell you that they "fixed" their back problem by doing certain back exercises or stretches. They may not feel pain in their back anymore, but they tend to leave out information on the numerous other pains they have in their body. For example, you may try to strengthen your back, but you may be making your problem worse. However, your body compensates by going into knee flexion to easy the pressure off your back. You may feel that you have less tension in your back, however, you then wonder why you knees bother you and you have such poor hamstring flexibility.
3/28/07 10:16 PM
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nowaydo
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Edited: 28-Mar-07
Member Since: 01/01/2001
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Correct, Bolo! I tell my yoga students that if they go to their doctors with a back problem and the doctor doesn't examine their hips, knees or feet...then consider finding another doctor.
3/29/07 2:22 AM
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Bolo
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Edited: 29-Mar-07 03:13 AM
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I have never experienced or heard of a doctor or physical therapist who looked at the entire body in detail and knew what to do with that information when it comes to the physical problems we are talking about. Many people who come to me will show me what some physio, physical therapist, or doctor told them to do I have to tell them to stop doing it. I show them what is going on with their body, then logically explain how the things they are told to do really doesn't help, and will often make them worse.
3/30/07 12:30 PM
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Bolo
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Edited: 30-Mar-07 03:42 PM
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Some people may view my comments as very critical of the established medical community, however, here are a couple exerpts of comments by phyiscal and physio therapist on a PT therapy forum in response to a forum member who posted things I said about posture. This shows the kind of understanding they have of the body and why so many people still have chronic pain and injuries even after seeing them. "Postural work as described in your post is a waste of time..." "Do we need research to tell us that at 62degrees of knee flexion, the rectus femoris is at 73% of its peak maximum? neat to know, but for TREATING patients, this information has no value."
3/30/07 7:22 PM
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SnoopBJJ
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Edited: 30-Mar-07
Member Since: 11/22/2005
Posts: 266
Do you believe the posture alignment treatments should complement "traditional" physiotherapy practices or replace it? Did the guy that made that comment say why it has no value? It sounds rather ignorant to me when they try to debunk ideas without a valid reason. I'm going to see the physio again tomorrow. I've been working on my posture all week, and started noticing little things about the way I sit, stand, drive a car etc. I've been concentrating on maintaining the curve in my lower back. As funny as it sounds I think I sit on one butt cheek more than the other. By that I mean there is a slight lean and my weight is over one more than the other.
3/30/07 8:41 PM
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Bolo
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Edited: 31-Mar-07 02:23 AM
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You can't change your posture by consciously focusing on it. It is like your breathing and heartbeat. It is involuntary. In addition, there are many aspects of your posture that you are not aware of. You probably aren't aware of the rotation, hip elevation, shoulder elevation, pelvic angle, supination or pronation, if your head is offset, etc... I believe MBF should replace traditional physio/physical therapy. People get so caught up in "the latest research" on this molecule and that chemical, blah...blah..blah... that they tend to over look certain very obvious things- if you have followed a program for an extended period of time, is your ENTIRE body better or worse? If you read that thread that I talked about what the physical therapists did with my nanny's son, you see a great example of someone getting worse over the course of 3 years and the PT still insisting that what she was doing was correct. I did chiro, physical therapy, etc... since the mid 90's and year after year my body got worse and worse. After 12 years, realized that the path I was taking was not working. If you go onto the Strength and Conditioning subforum and Health and Medical forum, you constantly see people make posts asking for advice because what was given to them by the PT's isn't working and their bodies are getting worse and worse. I deal with people on a weekly basis who went to PT's for knee injuries, sciatica, etc... and I hear the same thing all the time. When it doesn't work, we are told to accept that is part of hard training and doing BJJ. That is BS. Once again it is important to look at your entire body. I recently had a guy tell me that his ankle pain was alleviated from following a certain program. I asked him what other pains or injuries he had with his body and I got a long list. So in reality, he didn't get better, the pain just moved somewhere else.
4/1/07 12:24 AM
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Bolo
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Edited: 01-Apr-07
Member Since: 01/01/2001
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As I have mentioned in other posts, Pete Egoscue's books "Pain Free" and "Health in Motion" give a good layman's overview about posture and posture therapy. Pete does a good job with talking about how posture effects numerous aspects of the human body and performance in laymans terms so everyone can understand. However, in his "Pain Free" book, ignore the fact that givs certain exercises for pains in certain body parts and categorizes the book by body part. That's not how to fix the body and the only reason Pete did that was because that is how most people perceive fixing problems, so he just marketed it that way to attract people to his book. In another thread is was mentioned that Paul D'Arezzo's book "Posture Alignment" is also a good read and says much of what is in the Egoscue books. As far as reading specifically on the MBF system, there really isn't much. You can buy the manuals for his courses and read that, but it is very dry reading and it really doesn't give you in depth insight into this system. Geoff Gluckman, the creator of MBF, knew he had created something very special and different and I know that he wanted to keep his "trade secrets" a secret so he put down very little about the system in writing. All of the most useful information I have learn in regards to MBF was done verbally through private consultations. I even recall him making a passing comment and saying that "the best secrets were always passed down by word of mouth".
5/4/07 1:56 AM
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nowaydo
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Edited: 04-May-07
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Anthony Carey also has great material, better than Paul's or Pete's in my opinion.
5/4/07 5:46 PM
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m.g
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Edited: 04-May-07
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SnoopBjj said: "Did the guy that made that comment say why it has no value? It sounds rather ignorant to me when they try to debunk ideas without a valid reason." I agree. I think it IS ignorant to debunk or dismiss ideas without offering valid reasons. Bolo said: "Some people will tell you that they "fixed" their back problem by doing certain back exercises or stretches. They may not feel pain in their back anymore, but they tend to leave out information on the numerous other pains they have in their body. For example, you may try to strengthen your back, but you may be making your problem worse. However, your body compensates by going into knee flexion to easy the pressure off your back. You may feel that you have less tension in your back, however, you then wonder why you knees bother you and you have such poor hamstring flexibility." So let me ask you this question so that I may understand your point of view: are you saying the solution doesn't rest in any one exercise but rather addressing the body as a whole? If, for example one has low back pain because they have tight hip flexors (I have an article from the NSCA journal which talks about low back pain in athletes. It links low back pain to tightness in Rectus Femoris which is one of the primary hip flexor muscles) and the address this problem by doing various exercises to stretch the hip flexors they may actually solve one problem only to create another problem some where else? I have another article that talks about how the East Germans and other Eastern Bloc countries remedied low back problems in their athletes by strengthen their hip adductor muscles. It is an very interesting article.
5/5/07 9:43 PM
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Bolo
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Edited: 05-May-07 09:47 PM
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First, I feel it is necessary to differentiate between pain and function. Let me give you an example. I just worked with a guy who said he has low back pain for 14 years, however, a little while ago his low back stopped hurting and the pain is mainly in his mid-back. Though he doesn't have pain in his low back, that area is still extremely tight, inflexible, and structurally unstable. So it may seen that his pain in the low back area has been fixed, remedied, or whatever you want to call it, by itself, but it really has not. He may not have the same pain there anymore, but his low back is truly not any more functional. Second, the body works as a whole, therefore, you can't say that a certain pain is caused by a single muscle group being too tight. If one muscle group is too tight, it absolutely will affect other muscles. It is impossible for one muscle to be too tight and every other muscle group in the body to be in complete balance. In addition, you can't say with absolute certainty whether tightness in an area is a cause or symptom. But to answer your question, yes, the answer is never in any one exercise. In addition, there is no single universal answer that works for everyone. The problems in each person's body is different and varies from person to person. The problem with a lot of the research and articles is that they are not looking at what is happening to the body as a whole. The reason is because stadard medical and physical therapy practice is site specific. A student of mine had shoulder surgery even though I didn't think he needed it. After his surgery, he did traditional physical therapy and his shoulder joint felt fine. By medical and physical therapy standards, the surgical procedure and therapy done afterwards was a success. However, he later started to get a lot of pain in his neck, traps, and upper back. The surgery and physical therapy did not fix the problem with his shoulder, it just moved the symptoms elsewhere. So in reality, all that stuff was not very successful.
5/11/07 7:13 PM
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mhartono
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Edited: 11-May-07
Member Since: 05/11/2002
Posts: 6
Yeah, Bolo's words are very true. I (and some of our students) have been working on Bolo's MBF program. It has been months now and we are doing very well. Thank you Bolo.

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