Part 1: Improve your innate movement patterns
Dr. Day D.C., A Doctor of Chiropractic in Greenville, SC has worked with elite athletes, teams and those dealing with life limiting pain for 10 years. This article seeks to educate the reader that there is definitely a SOLUTION for their chronic back pain.
So many have been dealing with back pain for a long time. I know I was right where you are now.
I was told I had degenerative disc disease and that I was not allowed to do sports for my senior year in high school. This can make you feel like your back is “broken’ and “made of glass” for the rest of yoru life! In college the problem moved to my neck and shoulders as well. I couldn’t hardly move without chronic tightness, pain and headaches.
My back would get so bad that I couldn’t stand up past 90 degrees, bend over at the waist! When you back is constantly going out, You feel fragile, and like almost anything can make your back go out.
I made it my mission to find out what caused back and neck pain.
After 10 years in practice I can happily say I’ve helped over 10,000 cases move without back and neck pain. I only had to apply the principles and treatments that fixed my back and neck pain.
Why have a had such success? I believe it’s because my case was so tough I kept searching and getting post doctoral training to solve my issue. I was burning with passion to find solutions, not just for myself but for humanity.
I love human movement more than ever because of my struggles. I am a Doctor of Chiropractic but have pulled my influences from every area of life. So my treatment and assessment is a very broad look at the whole person. I hope after reading this article you fall in love with moving your body again and start finding answers.
What is the most common reason we have back pain? How we move!
Biomechanics drives our ability to move freely. It is a link between neurology and an amazing feat of engineering: our muscles, joints and fascia.
Our bodies are filled with sliding joints, gliding joints, rotating joints, gear-like structures, tower like architecture, archways, pulleys, and even mechansims similar to catapults.
We have back and neck pain because we don’t move the way we were designed, somewhere and somehow these mechanisms break down!
Designed to Move:
In the early stages of life our nerves communicate signals that are born within us that signal different stages of movement.
These nerve signals create a strong, stable, but movable spine. Around this stable “core” and spine we are supposed to use muscles to link up movement of our limbs or “appendicular skeleton.”
In this picture of developmental stages of childhood you can start to see that tummy time, rolling, crawling and squatting are crucial steps in which our nerves sync up with your muscles and joints. Our movement is literally “coming online” and these computer software messages are inborn.
One of the biggest concepts is that tummy time links the shoulder blades, back muscles and gluteals together. Rolling, side sitting transitioning seen in picture two, and crawling link up the core muscles to the limbs.
The muscles of the core create a “corset” like structure that protect the spine from too much excessive movement. The movements of rolling, crawling and transitioning from a deep squat to standing all stimulate this group of muscles to fire.
Everything is Great….Until it isn’t:
We have an amazing design with exquisite nerve signalling, but injury and poor postures can “turn off” the messages and muscle/joint function from working the way it was designed. What’s next after that? PAIN
Modern day movement patterns create a breakdown in these patterns. Wearing restrictive shoes, sitting all of the time, leaning forward to look at technology (desk work and smart phones etc.) and a general lack of “using” these muscles. These positions create the wrong types of patterns in the nerve signalling of our muscles, and also will change the actual cellular makeup or our tissue. (The nerves will send certain muscle excess nerve signalling to combat you sitting in a desk all day, and the muscle cells will grow fibrous and tough to deal with the excess constant load)
These muscles were designed for lifting heavy items, climbing, pulling, walking long distances, and pretty much all the other movements we don’t do anymore. Even when we do move this way(aka working out) we have conditioned our muscles in patterns from sitting all day, or even from our years of sitting in school.
Our bodies are designed for several key things that we just don’t do enough of.
1.) Foot flexibility and interface with the ground. When our foot loses flexiblity and the ability to balance our body has to walk differently, move differently, and even use muscles farther up our body to move.
Foot “amnesia” as I call it, keeps us from balancing properly. The foot and hip are linked in their function and therefore many have to overuse muscles, like the calve, hamstring, and quadriceps to move. This eventually creates fascia and muscle imbalances that lead to back pain.
-hands on therapy for the feet, plantar fascia, and calve (gastrocnemius, soleus, plantar fascitis)
-Manipulation for the joints of the foot and ankle
-Self mobilization with Yoga, Stretching, Self Massage.
A quick movement series for the foot. (video coming soon)
Triangle of Support:
Your foot resembles a triangle. It is wider at the forefoot and more narrow at the hindfoot. Think of two points in the ball of the foot, and one point at the heel. When connected they resemble a triangle.
To find center, you have to “check in” with your body sense, also known as kinesthetic sense or proprioception. In other words feel your feet. You can close your eyes if this helps you find balance and feel more. put the weight of your body into each point, and then try to equally divide the pressure amongst the three points.
Stand with your feet balanced between the three points of balance in the feet and the weight equally distributed better through all three points.
When we stand this way, this is more aligned with concepts in martial arts, in which we strengthen our feet and find stability in our stance. The awareness in the feet and being centered in balance linking the feet to the “core” have been taught for thousands of years.
Very few in modern day have good balance and even fewer are aware of their feet and standing on them with balance.
This leads to weighting into the front or back of the feet more and then shifting the weight into one foot more.
VIDEO coming soon
The Hip Hinge:
The Ilio-Femoral joint or hip is designed to do a LOT of movement in the body. This joint is a ball and socket which means it can rotate in a lot of different directions.
When we go to lift objects and perform a lot of our sporting movements, a lot of movement is supposed to be generated at this joint. Sadly that is not the case for many modern people.
The research is pointing to the fact we sit a lot and do not move this hip joint. This creates a lack of nerve activity to the muscles and joints in this area.
Other causes are we pick one sport and then because of the incongruent movements (twisting only one way for a swing/never moving laterally in running) one hip joint will be tigher than the other.
Since we sit in a chair hinged at our lumbar spine leaning slighty forward our brain defaults to using these joints instead. These low back joints called facets and discs have much less ROM to perform motions.
The other is the very lack of movement we do in modern society, one of the biggest motions for hip movement is walking but we are walking at an all time low in modern day.
The dynamic motion of the hip and the balance it takes to walk in minimal shoes in nature is enough to keep those hips awake!
We are now at a critical point in humanity to change our movements and one of the biggest lessons we need to learn fast is the hip hinge. There are a lot of steps to the hip hinge, but we will keep it simple here
-Manual Therapy on the posterior hip capsule, and posterior hip muscles can help a patient hip hinge much easier. A tight posterior hip capsule can lead to deep posterior buttock pain, back pain, and even sciatica. If you have these symptoms it may be from.
-Adjustments to the pelvic joints and lumbar spine. Restore joint and nerve integrity to allow for a proper hip hinge.
-Hands on release(MRT, PNF) of the anterior leg and hip muscles the Rectus Femoris and Hip Flexor.
Experiment and incorporate more hip hinging. Approximately 2 finger lengths below your hip pointers or “ASIS” is where you can feel for the hip hinge. The hip hinge happens as you keep your spine “neutral” which means you don’t let your spine bend inwards (lordosis) or backwards (kyphosis)
The entire movement happens at the hip. I joke with patients often it is the same movement that you would use to close the car door with your butt when you have your hands full with groceries.
As well I joke with patients that is similar to pooping in the woods. You don’t want to get any poop on your shoes, so you get that butt back behind your feet!
The next level of hip hinge is the foundation pose. This is a great pose to strengthen your body while in the hip hinge. It is also a great way to begin to redevelop kinesthetic sensation and proprioception (the ability to balance your joints and muscles under challenges)
This is the very essense of fixing your back pain. Realizing that our movements of our body are INTERCONNECTED AND SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED. When we break that pattern our body is going to send pain messages, and adapt the tissue (muscles, ligaments, tendons, fascia) to try to meet the excess demand we are putting upon it.
The Bracing/Hollowing and Core initiation feeling:
The ability to “feel” your core engage is never there fully there when I exam someone with chronic back pain. Your “core muscles” are like a gigantic barrel of support.
The top of the barrel being the diaghragm, the back muscles and multifidi being the back, the transverse abdominus wrapping the entire abdominal cavity, the gluteals, and the pelvic floor muscles below(the bottom of the barrel or cylinder).
This cylinder binds everything together in your body. This is your central home base of support. You are a moving cylinder with appendages that are supposed to “sync” up to the central stablity chamber. The scapula, rotator cuff, and other scapular stablity muscles all connect to the “cylinder of support” by muscle attachment or by fascia.
There is a sensation I teach patients for helping them learn to fire their transverse abdominus.
Place your fingers just inside your hip pointers and feel for the soft area just pass the bone.
Then make the muscle of your abdomen press outward in unison. One of the simplest ways is to laugh or even act like you are laughing. The muscle will jump out into you finger.
There is different research pointing to the benefits of bracing and hollowing. Yoga teaches hollowing. Bracing is great for lifting, but I’ve found hollowing good for helping to mobilize the abdominal fascia and to work on activating your diaphragm. When we hollow we can elongate the posterior back musculature which can get very tight. With hollowing we can begin to focus on our diaphragm and using it to expand our lower ribs to breathe.
Linking Up The limbs.
The cross crawl pattern and tummy time link up the hip and shoulder with the core as the intermediary. These two movements should help link up the two.
Video coming soon:
This Article is in no way a summary of all of the reasons of back pain, but I hope it give insight that pain is never caused just by the local area where you feel sensation.
Make sure to check out our other articles on this subject:
What if your Back Pain could be solved: Joint Integrity
What if your Back Pain could be solved: Fascia
What if your Back Pain could be solved: Hypertonic Muscles or Tight Muscles as the cause.
What if your Back Pain could be solved: Weak Muscles as the cause.
What if your Back Pain coudl be solved: Work Ergonomics.