Here are a few eye poppers from Georgetown University’s Health Policy Insti-tute:
• Back problems are one of the most frequent complaints to doctors
• About 65 million Americans report a recent episode of back pain
• Back pain is the 6th costliest condition in the United States exceeding $12 Billion a year. It’s the leading cause of work loss days!
• 8 percent of adults, 16 million people, experience persistent or chronic back pain
Wow – time to rethink chiropractic school! So let’s get right to the solutions and use our Total Gym’s awesomeness to avoid being a statistic.
Here are the three categories we’ll focus on using the Total Gym:
• Mobility of Your Spine – think “stretching” your spine
• Stretching the Culprit Muscles
• Strengthening the Culprit Muscles
Mobility of your Spine
Your spine was intelligently designed to move in six different directions:
1) Lateral Flexion to the Right and
2) Left – Think side bending
3) Twisting to the Right and
4) Left – Rotation of your spine
5) Flexion – Rounding of your back when bending forward
6) Extension – Backward bending or arching your back
I guarantee you do all of these at some point throughout your normal day. But you need to perform them deliberately, in balance, and in a full range of motion to keep your spine “Loosey Juicy” – my suave technical term. (Now you know why I’m not a chi-ropractor!)
Let’s take balance, or lack thereof, for example. We bend forward 100’s of times each day (Spinal Flexion) and rarely do its counter move which is backward bending (Spinal Extension). Thus, those discs in between each spinal vertebrae are always being pres-sured the same direction. This imbalance adds up and on the one millionth time you bend forward to do something minor like turn off the shower – Bam – your disc slips out, you yelp, and then wonder how the heck that happened!?
Unless you do yoga or Pilates, we rarely do backward bending in daily life. If you do have back issues I highly recommend you add these wonderful disciplines to your life in addition to your Total Gym workouts.
Stretching the Culprit Muscles
The main culprit muscles are your hamstrings, hip flexors and of course all the back muscles. Again we are talking about imbalances caused by every day life. Have you heard the latest buzz phrase “Sitting is the New Smoking”? Not only does prolonged sitting increase your mortality rate (a whole other conversation), it results in tight ham-strings and jacked up hip flexors. This wreaks havoc with our spines by pulling it out of its neutral position. No bueno!
Strengthening the Culprit Muscles
Which ones might those be? Your Core muscles. Here’s my favorite definition:
core – [kohr] noun – All the muscles that support and surround your spine.
Many people think their core is simply the abdominal muscles. In my opinion, the most important muscles of the core are the ones you can’t see in the mirror. It is so important to remember to train your abs’ opposing muscles; your back muscles. Training only your abdominal muscles causes a muscle imbalance which tugs the spine out of its neutral position. No bueno again!
OK, let’s get busy. Check out the video in which I will cover these three significant ar-eas. I’ll be using my (and my client’s) absolute favorite accessory, the Total Gym AbCrunch.
As always, with the beautiful versatility of your Total Gym, I’ll combine two or all three of these areas within one exercise movement. Time saving efficiency and effectiveness at its best!