Back pain treatment – drug free!

Looking for effective back pain treatment?

There can be multiple causes and multiple solutions.

The first steps in any back pain treatment are:

  • Diagnosis
  • Figuring out whether it’s a muscular, skeletal or nerve issue
  • Seeking help from a health care professional.

back pain treatment

**The following article presumes you don’t have something nasty like a herniated disc or sciatica.**

If your (particularly lower) back pain is deemed due to muscular tightness, there is a drug free back pain treatment you can try. It’s like this. In my experience, doing this gets rid of the problem in 9 out of 10 cases. Even if it isn’t the solution, it won’t do any harm.

Sounds like a pretty good back pain treatment, right?!

Here goes:

Squat and Stretch.

That’s it.

Check this out for the ‘What’, ‘Why’ and ‘How’:

First of all, let’s start with the squat.
Here’s a video of Coach Nav with a beautiful demonstration.

Having a squat that goes deep without losing back position is fundamental to hip and spine health.
No part of the system is having to compensate for another part.
If you can squat like this then chances are you don’t suffer from back pain. 🙂

squat

gluteal stretch

shinbox stretch

hip flexor stretch

pretzel stretch

hamstring stretch

plank hold

Here’s a squatting drill (do this freestanding or holding a post):

  • Go to the bottom of the squat
  • Hold it there
  • Hang out as long as you can (up to 10 mins)

If you can stay there for 10 minutes, you probably don’t have back problems (anymore!)
If you can’t stay there (muscles of the legs or back start hurting too much), then do this every other day – building up to 10 minutes.
We aren’t looking for excruciating. Aim for improvement over time.

Now stretching. Hold each for at least 30 seconds. Let’s have a look!

Gluteal Stretch

Tight, weak ‘glutes’ are a common factor in sore lower backs.
Turns out, muscles ‘go to sleep’ when you sit on them 8+ hours a day!

Get into this ‘figure 4’ position and pull your knee towards you.
Play with the knee position until you feel it in the meat of the muscle.

Alternative Gluteal Stretch

For those that ‘don’t feel’ the other one, this is an alternative that works for many.
Get the foot of one leg to touch the knee of the other leg.
Stay ‘tall’ and hinge at the hips to apply the stretch. Don’t bend your back.

Hip Flexor Stretch

Chronic sitting leads to short hip flexors.
This set of muscles attaches to the back of your pelvis.

  • Get into a long lunge position
  • ‘Tuck’ your tail bone under to get into the front of the hip of your rear leg.
  • Let your hips ‘sink’ forward as you relax and breathe into this stretch

Pretzel Stretch

A great multitasking stretch.
This combines gentle lumbar twist, hip flexor, quad, pec and some thoracic mobility too.

  • Lie on one side and grab your ‘bottom’ leg at the back (like a quad stretch)
  • Bring your ‘top’ leg up to 90 degrees.
  • Aim towards getting both your top knee and opposite shoulder to the floor. Enjoy!

Hamstring Stretch

Another important link in the ‘posterior chain’.

  • Keep the stretching leg straight, or slightly bent
  • Don’t pull your toes back – that’s a nerve stretch
  • Your other leg can be bent or straight
  • This can also be done standing, but keep your back straight

The Plank

  • Use your posterior chain to keep your whole body in a straight line.
  • Great for developing global core strength and endurance.
  • Can be scaled back by putting your knees on the floor.

Check out these links for more ways you can move better, hurt less and look after yourself.

For more information on more serious issues and back pain treatment for them, read this article from Gordon Physio.

5 minute mobility for hips and shoulders [VIDEO]

Mobility Poem.
Use it or lose it
But please don’t abuse it
Your body can do what you want
When you choose it.
Get up and be ACTIVE
Not reactive, PRO-active!
Become interactive
(And much more attractive!)
Just 5 minutes of practice
On every other day.
Not such a big hardship
Or huge price to pay
So make movement a habit
From cradle to grave
The payoff is priceless
A lifestyle maintained.

Most people could benefit from improving their joint range of motion and their core strength. Years of sitting tighten and weaken bodies. Movement and stability are fundamental to leading a functional and fully participatory life. Whether you surf, run, ride or swim, mobility for hips and shoulders is a must. Want to keep up with the kids? Be able to play with the grandkids?

In this step-by-step video, the focus is on mobility for hips and shoulders. Follow this simple demonstration of a 5 minute sequence to increase your range of motion in these areas.


Sequences such as these gain in necessity as we age.To stay supple, lithe and functional, make movement a priority.Coach Nav has a website devoted to movement, ‘prehab’, health and longevity: http://www.moveplayflow.com

Check out our YouTube channel for more: https://www.youtube.com/user/FunFitVideos

Find more free resources here: https://fun-fit.com.au/resources

For a comprehensive guide to mobility, check out: “Becoming a Supple Leopard”, 2nd Editionmobility for hips and shoulders, by Kelly Starrett.(This is an affiliate link. I receive a small commission if you choose to buy the book using this link. Thanks!)

If you like what you’ve seen please like and share this video. If you know someone who would benefit from improved mobility for hips and shoulders please let them know. If you’d like more (or less!) poetry, just pop a comment to that effect! Thanks for your support.

Why train Olympic Lifts?

I have been asked the question: “Why train Olympic Lifts if you’re not an Olympic Lifter?”

Simple.

Because they’re awesome.
Seriously though, it’s a good question and there’s a good answer (I think). Here goes.

Why train olympic lifts? - Weighlifting Woman

There are a few point to share that go into my thinking about training.

  1. People should be striving to improve themselves; Be “Better Than Yesterday”.
  2. Improvement can (and should) be objectively measured; see “What is Fitness“.
  3. Most people aren’t as strong as the could be; see “How Strong are You?“.
  4. Therefore progressive strength training is important; enabling greater work capacity, generally.
  5. Fundamental bodyweight exercises and powerlifting movements are relatively simple to learn* and develop strength well.
  6. Almost all physical activities require the application of strength at speed –> Power.
  7. One of the best ways to develop power is Olympic Lifting.

*Before all you powerlifters get upset, I’m not saying powerlifting is simple, just that it is less complex than Oly lifting. 🙂

So if you want to improve your performance at pretty much any physical endeavour, train the Olympic Lifts.

Have a look at this video for a bunch of different athletes from Catalyst Athletics performing Power Cleans.
Note the sort of weight they are moving. Think about their potential power output. Why train Olympic lifts? Now you tell me! :O

2014 in Review: Fitness and Health Articles

2014 in Review: Fitness and Health Articles

As we look forward to 2015, let’s look back and see what we covered last year.

This review of the articles posted to the FunFit website in 2014 let’s us reflect on what we’ve learned, and allows us to get the most out of this year.

Let’s get into to it! 🙂

FunFit Crew

Fitness (6 Articles)

Let’s start with how to define fitness. A definition of fitness let’s you set clear goals and measure your progress as objectively as possible.

https://fun-fit.com.au/what-is-fitness-measurable-definition/

Now that you know that strength is a fundamental component of fitness, you can figure out ‘how strong are you?’ and see if you have any relative weaknesses you can focus on.

https://fun-fit.com.au/strength-standards-how-strong-are-you/

If you are just getting (back) into fitness or would like a refresher on how to get the most out of training, then please read this guide for beginners. (Or send the link to a friend!)

https://fun-fit.com.au/fitness-newbie-success-guide/

For those of you who’ve heard of Crossfit, or have been doing it for a while, please read my take on the pros and cons of Crossfit.

https://fun-fit.com.au/love-hate-relationship-crossfit/

If you or someone you know is pregnant or considering it, please read this guide on how you can get the most out of training while pregnant – safely of course! (Please share!)

https://fun-fit.com.au/pregnancy-exercise/

The Primal Blueprint is hands down one of the best lifestyle books out there. Read my review of this fundamental work.

https://fun-fit.com.au/primal-blueprint-review/

little ninjas self defence

Self Defence/Martial Arts (3 Articles)

Understand the motivation behind self defence training.

https://fun-fit.com.au/real-self-defence-risk-management/

Are you a parent? Please read this to help your kids keep themselves safe when they’re out and about and are offered a lift. (Please share with other parents)

https://fun-fit.com.au/pick-password-safety-tip-for-kids/

I’m often asked how to correctly tie a belt for martial arts. Here’s a video to which you can refer.

https://fun-fit.com.au/tie-belt-martial-arts/

prehabilitation

Rehab/Prehab (4 Articles)

Move better. Improve your functionality. Reduce the likelihood or severity of injury. Prehab.

Sore lower back? It’s often down to poor squat mechanics, weak and/or tight quads and glutes and tight hip flexors and hamstrings. Check out this video to help you do something about it!

https://fun-fit.com.au/quad-hamstring-lower-back-mobility-video/

Following up on the lower back, here’s a 9 stretch sequence you can do with a band to maintain or improve your suppleness.

https://fun-fit.com.au/9-ways-bands-can-help-stretch/

For those who like to integrate suppleness and strength dynamically, there’s FlowFit. Move, play, flow!

https://fun-fit.com.au/flowfit-move-better/

Done something to yourself? Check this out so you know for sure – when to ice and when to use heat. (Thanks again to Chirotherapy for the guest post!)

https://fun-fit.com.au/injury-treatment-ice-heat/

nutrition

Nutrition (2 Articles)

I have no problem with people criticising the Paleo Diet. What I do have a problem with is people misrepresenting the Paleo Diet (straw man) and then criticising what it isn’t. Example here.

https://fun-fit.com.au/paleo-diet-criticism/

Just in case you missed it in the fitness section above – this is a fantastic book. Please (re)read my review.

https://fun-fit.com.au/primal-blueprint-review/

Recipes (5 Articles)

Yummy things!

Delicious and low effort, slow cooked Turkey.

https://fun-fit.com.au/recipe-slow-cooked-turkey-garlic-mustard/

For the sweet tooth – gluten free, dairy free chocolate brownies.

https://fun-fit.com.au/paleo-chocolate-brownie-bites/

Need breakfast ideas? How about banana pancakes?

https://fun-fit.com.au/paleo-banana-pancake-recipe/

Looking for a healthy snack? Look no further!

https://fun-fit.com.au/recipe-kale-chips-win/

Choc Raspberry Cupcakes. Check this out – you won’t regret it!

https://fun-fit.com.au/recipe-choc-raspberry-cupcakes/

What are your thoughts on what you read in 2014?

I have a few ideas for 2015 – What would you like to see?

Technique Tuesday: Dave does a Power Clean

Here’s the first of our new regular feature, Technique Tuesday, in which Tim analyzes the technique and form of a particular lift. This week, the power clean as performed by Dave.

As always, we’re interested in your thoughts and comments, so please post them below!

Quad, Hamstring and Lower Back Mobility Video

Mobility Wod Quote

Here’s the inimitable Kelly Starrett of Mobility WOD delivering a great lesson on how to improve mobility to hips and spine and flexibility to quad, hamstring and lower back.

Also check out an earlier post on thoracic spine and hip mobilization.

Check it out – and do it!

Also have a look at Kelly Starrett’s book, Becoming a Supple Leopard, for more great mobilization tips.

Hip and thoracic spine mobility drills

Fantastic drills to test/re-test and mobilise areas of tightness you may have issues with at the hip and the thoracic spine.

Broudly speaking, extensibility refers to the ability of muscles to lengthen. Flexibility refers to the range of motion a muscle will allow a joint. Mobility refers to the full range of motion afforded a joint by all attached tissue – muscles, ligaments, tendons and fascia.

Kelly Starrett, PhD Physiotherapist, , Founder of Mobility WOD, Owner of San Francisco CrossFit and all-around mobility superhero and nice guy here at Crossfit Copenhagen to help with this video on how to assist mobility for overhead squats.

If overhead squats (or regular squats or any lifts requiring overhead position) are uncomfortable for you then definitely try these drills out. Best to get on to this before you have a rotator cuff issue!

After that, have a look at PhD physio Kelly Starrett’s book, Becoming a Supple Leopard, for more great mobilization tips.