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Dealing with Back Issues
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RManLCS

Hi everyone, I am new to the board but have been reading it for many years now. I played a variety of contact sports at different times(football, rugby, lacrosse, hockey) for about 12 years total including college and am now reaping the "benefits" of having done so.

At 36 years I am finding that there are fewer and fewer exercises I can do that that don't cause problems. I am finding that even exercises such as seated overhead press bother my back too much to do any more, rows as well. Deadlifts and squats are completely out of the question and even the leg press is something I have to do with light weight and relatively infrequently... Just wondering if anyone else has these issues and what can be done about it... Thanks!
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dhitquinn

RManLCS wrote:
Hi everyone, I am new to the board but have been reading it for many years now. I played a variety of contact sports at different times(football, rugby, lacrosse, hockey) for about 12 years total including college and am now reaping the "benefits" of having done so.

At 36 years I am finding that there are fewer and fewer exercises I can do that that don't cause problems. I am finding that even exercises such as seated overhead press bother my back too much to do any more, rows as well. Deadlifts and squats are completely out of the question and even the leg press is something I have to do with light weight and relatively infrequently... Just wondering if anyone else has these issues and what can be done about it... Thanks!


I can sympathise with you mate ve had to train around back issues pretty much my entire training life

As far as shoulder pressing id advise you do it on a relatively low incline in comparison to regaular presses, say 45 degrees. Substitute leg presses and squats and try hip belt squats with a dip belt. Leg presses irritate a lot of peoples backs, usually because of the massively exaggerated poundages that are usually used
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dhitquinn

RManLCS wrote:
Hi everyone, I am new to the board but have been reading it for many years now. I played a variety of contact sports at different times(football, rugby, lacrosse, hockey) for about 12 years total including college and am now reaping the "benefits" of having done so.

At 36 years I am finding that there are fewer and fewer exercises I can do that that don't cause problems. I am finding that even exercises such as seated overhead press bother my back too much to do any more, rows as well. Deadlifts and squats are completely out of the question and even the leg press is something I have to do with light weight and relatively infrequently... Just wondering if anyone else has these issues and what can be done about it... Thanks!


I can sympathise with you mate ve had to train around back issues pretty much my entire training life

As far as shoulder pressing id advise you do it on a relatively low incline in comparison to regaular presses, say 45 degrees. Substitute leg presses and squats and try hip belt squats with a dip belt. Leg presses irritate a lot of peoples backs, usually because of the massively exaggerated poundages that are usually used
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RManLCS

thanks ddhitquinn, I will try the 45 degree overhead press. I just recently got my shoulders back to the point of being able to do over head press so I was dismayed to find that my back couldn't take it!! I unfortunately am working out in a crappy commercial gym ( all I can afford right now d/t poor economy) and there isn't really any way to do hip belt squats. I had been thinking of trying to find a way to rig up a smith machine to do hip squats but the gym isn't really that friendly to anything "out of the ordinary." But it is worth a shot. Has anyone tried hip belt squats using a smith machine? Thank you
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entsminger

Virginia, USA

==Scott==
I too have lower back issues resulting from cycle racing wrecks many years ago that seem to get in the way of exercising all the time. Just recently I was into doing negative only chins where I held it at the top as long as possible and slowly went down. After about 3 weeks of that I started noticing my back aching again and I think the effects of my abs contracting so hard to hold me up aggravated my back so now I'm limping around like Fred Sanford. Who's the big dummy as he'd say? I am! I should have stuck to my prior routine of safer machines and not tried something that might have caused me trouble once again.
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summaHIT

Ontario, CAN

RManLCS wrote:
Hi everyone, I am new to the board but have been reading it for many years now. I played a variety of contact sports at different times(football, rugby, lacrosse, hockey) for about 12 years total including college and am now reaping the "benefits" of having done so.

At 36 years I am finding that there are fewer and fewer exercises I can do that that don't cause problems. I am finding that even exercises such as seated overhead press bother my back too much to do any more, rows as well. Deadlifts and squats are completely out of the question and even the leg press is something I have to do with light weight and relatively infrequently... Just wondering if anyone else has these issues and what can be done about it... Thanks!


I also played contact sports for many years and Track & Filed as well. My whole body aches all day everyday. I am missing too many ligaments to name.
I can tell you from experience that YOU MUST continue to deadlift and do other back exercises. It is the only way to ensure you won't get progressively worse FASTER. Working through pain is a necessary evil. When I feel I have temporarily reached a peak where I know any additional weight will hurt me I then drop down and do higher reps.
It's a constant management of pain and exercise selection. I would highly recommend an inversion table. I got one 10 years ago and used it many times a day every day for months. I only need to use it now every week. It was/is a savior to my spine.

I was told 14 years ago to never lift weights by a chiropractor. There is no way you are more messed up than me (LOL) so you can work through these things and improve. I am even waiting for ankle surgery at the moment.

INVERSION TABLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Actually, my back is killing me right now but that is what I live with and just tune it out. I will probably go on the inversion table in a few minutes now that I have brought it up.

Do you have more specific questions?
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dhitquinn

RManLCS wrote:
thanks ddhitquinn, I will try the 45 degree overhead press. I just recently got my shoulders back to the point of being able to do over head press so I was dismayed to find that my back couldn't take it!! I unfortunately am working out in a crappy commercial gym ( all I can afford right now d/t poor economy) and there isn't really any way to do hip belt squats. I had been thinking of trying to find a way to rig up a smith machine to do hip squats but the gym isn't really that friendly to anything "out of the ordinary." But it is worth a shot. Has anyone tried hip belt squats using a smith machine? Thank you


Again i sympathise it can be a bg battle fighting against your bodies limitatons 'the mind is willing but the flesh is weak' so to speak

I personally would not attempth to hip belt squat in a smith machine mate i doubt the bar would stay off the latches anyway

how about investing in a home gym, do you have the room?
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TOM C

I had back issues for years, getting worse every year, now it is getting better every year.

Best to address the issue now.

You have to find the back stretches and back weight-training exercises that work for you.

Google back stretches or stretches for lower back. Try them all until you find the ones that give you relief, then do them daily.

Avoid the standard weight stack back extension machines found in most gyms.
They don't work the back much if at all and can, in my experience, cause more problems.

Best lower back exercises I have found are:

1.Good morning exercise seated on bench, legs forward, fairly wide foot position - straighten your back completely before bending forward and maintain this position thru the exercise;start with a light weight.

2. Hyperextensions on bench - don't do this if it causes pain as your body weight may be too much for the damaged lower back muscles.

3. Lower back weighted flex - you need a tight fitting wide belt of some sort.
I do this on my Nautilus Multi-exercise machine, but can be done with a low pulley or even a dumbbell. Put the belt in the middle of your lower back, bend over, attached belt hook to low pulley or dumbbell, push lower back upward (kind of pulling in your ab muscles while pushing/arcing your lower back muscles upward). I put my hands on the OME step for support but you can use a bench or other support. There is not a big range of motion, may be 2-4" depending on the person and while you are doing it, it doesn't feel like much, but afterwards, you can feel it in lower back muscles you didn't know you had. I think it can, also, breaks up scar tissue in addition to strengthen the muscles used. Start light. I have found you can quickly increase the weight being used and work up to fairly heavy weights in safety.

Edit:

Simpler explanation of #3. Go over to a chair, place hands on seat, straighten legs (knees not locked), pull in/suck in abs while pushing up/arching lower back. Add weight by using belt.

I don't do the hyerextensions much anymore, except for warmups for other exercises as I have found the other two exercises to be the best for me.
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RManLCS

Hi summa and quinn, yes, it is an unfortunate thing. If I could go back and do it over again I never would have played sports at all, certainly not in the manner that I did (I was obsessed with "big hits" when I was young). It is stupid ridiculous shit to do to oneself and I don't think kids really know the full risks when they get involved. Never minding the body abuse, I am reminded of more serious issues lurking in the future such as one of my best friend's uncles who played football for Michigan in the 1970s and is now completely demented at age 62. More specific questions? I was not working out at all until I got some "medical help" (i.e. low dose pain pills) which take the edge off but do nothing as far as "pain management," but it certainly makes me more prone to moving around and exercising. Any input on this?

A home gym would be great, it would have to be limited as my funds are right now, but if it was set up primarily for hip belt squats I could probably do something. I am looking at a hip replacement at some time in the future and have some troublesome knees and ankles and I'm not looking to be pushing huge weights (though like most everyone on here I struggle with not pushing too hard).

More specific questions- well, I would love to have access to some of Josh's equipment or something, but what kind of exercises do you all recommend for trying to get the back together? I played in the front row of the rugby scrum have lots of "compression" issues of the spine more so than muscle issues at this point. Thanks again for your input.
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sgb2112

If I had back issues this is the route I would go. Under qualified supervision.

MedX Medical Lumbar Extension

* Provides resistance over a full range of isolated lumbar motion, or over a selected limited range

* Isometric testing may occur every 3? within a patient?s range of motion

* MedX software plots a strength curve to compare the patient?s strength and range of motion to established norms

* Stored energy can be assessed and factored out at each angle tested
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RManLCS

oh yeah- once I have found another full time job I will try to get an inversion table - I have the old "gravity boots" but at 270# my knees can't take that much strain... Thanks for all the input guys, much appreciated.
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Mark S

RManLCS wrote:
Hi everyone, I am new to the board but have been reading it for many years now. I played a variety of contact sports at different times(football, rugby, lacrosse, hockey) for about 12 years total including college and am now reaping the "benefits" of having done so.

At 36 years I am finding that there are fewer and fewer exercises I can do that that don't cause problems. I am finding that even exercises such as seated overhead press bother my back too much to do any more, rows as well. Deadlifts and squats are completely out of the question and even the leg press is something I have to do with light weight and relatively infrequently... Just wondering if anyone else has these issues and what can be done about it... Thanks!


http://www.backneckrehab.com/M...
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Mark S

summaHIT wrote:

I was told 14 years ago to never lift weights by a chiropractor.


Are you glad you took his advice?

summaHIT wrote:
There is no way you are more messed up than me (LOL)


Thanks,but we had already worked that out.

summaHIT wrote:
I am even waiting for ankle surgery at the moment.


Have you considered asking the surgeons to start from the top down?
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summaHIT

Ontario, CAN

Mark S wrote:
summaHIT wrote:

I was told 14 years ago to never lift weights by a chiropractor.


Are you glad you took his advice?

summaHIT wrote:
There is no way you are more messed up than me (LOL)


Thanks,but we had already worked that out.

summaHIT wrote:
I am even waiting for ankle surgery at the moment.


Have you considered asking the surgeons to start from the top down?


LOL. It has been a while since you insulted someone on this forum I guess. If you cannot relate or have nothing of value to add why don't you crawl back to your cardboard box.
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summaHIT

Ontario, CAN

RManLCS wrote:
oh yeah- once I have found another full time job I will try to get an inversion table - I have the old "gravity boots" but at 270# my knees can't take that much strain... Thanks for all the input guys, much appreciated.


I wear boots in my inversion table so my body does not pull away from my feet. If you can get in one you'll really apreciate it.
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krazy kaju

I've never had any physical pains besides some very minor hip and shoulder problems from my high school wrestling days. If I had lower back pains, I would go to a MedX clinic.
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theHITman

I can sympathise too. I've been there, and I too had to train my way out of it. I think most of us probably have. Current stats are that 80% of adults will suffer back pain at some point or another.

The good news is, unless you have some form of spinal deformity, or minute fractures in the vertebra(e) then you'll be able to train your way back to being pain free most of the time. Even if there is a deeper spinal condition, by finding out what muscles around your pelvis and lumbar spine are imbalanced, you can still significantly improve your situation.

There's certainly no reason you need to live with it and work around it. Spending a few months rehabing and then focusing on exercises you can do in the future to build strength and conditioning (or whatever your goal is) will be more productive than spending your life living with pain and trying to find workarounds for exercises you can't.

So first you need to identify what the actual problem is. You might find, for example, that your erectors are too strong for your hip flexors and are keeping you stuck in an extension pattern (where your pelvis is tipped backwards) in which case using a lumbar extension would make the problem worse rather than better.

It would be worth your money to see someone who can perform a thorough postural assessment to determine which muscles may need work to correct the balance around your pelvis and lumbar spine.

In general though, learning to use and strengthening your glutes will help to make a big difference. Generally stretching the muscles around your pelvis and strengthening your trans abs and pelvic floor will also make a big difference. Learning to 'activate' your trans abs may also in itself lower the pain when you're having a bout.

You'll probably never get rid of it completely, but there's a good chance you can get to a place where pain episodes are very few and far between, and when they do 'attack', are much reduced.
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Mark S

summaHIT wrote:

LOL. It has been a while since you insulted someone on this forum I guess. If you cannot relate or have nothing of value to add why don't you crawl back to your cardboard box.


I apologise for not being around to insult you more often.

Crawling? it sounds to me like you are the one who is having to do the crawling,with all your ailments.

SumoHIT a man barely alive. We can rebuild him,we have the technology. We have the capability to make the worlds first Bionic Man. SumoHIT will be that man.
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dhitquinn

RManLCS wrote:
oh yeah- once I have found another full time job I will try to get an inversion table - I have the old "gravity boots" but at 270# my knees can't take that much strain... Thanks for all the input guys, much appreciated.


Hi mate

i hope you have learned a few things from the guys here and i hope your pain alleviates, its no life at all to be in constant pain.

other things i forgot to mention that may help you.

try to use ice packs to alleviate sore muscles as opposed to hot packs, muscle that is inflamed does not appreciate extra heat, it may feel good but its chemicals in your brain being released that numbs the pain as it feels quite good, but get yourself used to ice packs instead.

Try to get 20-25lbs of weight off yourself to ease the pressure on your back, particularly if the weight is around your waist.

As another poster already stated find some good stretches and do them regularly, tight muscles massively exaggerate pain in general.

Avoid caffeine as it heightens pain sensitivity (apparently) so if you drink coffee or tea stick to the decaf varieties.

Make sure you are hydrated as being dehydrated increases pain sensitivity

Most back pain is caused by scar tissue build up in the muscles, its often nothing to do with the spine, though scar tissue over time can pull the spine out of alignment and cause a vicious cycle of other imbalances etc which further enhances pain, sometimes it can be frightening to be doubled up with your entire back seizing up but often it can be a little thng which is causing a lot of pain.

As per the scar tissue idea, id advise you find a good deep tissue muscle release clinic or a good chiropractor to help break the scar tissue up and mobilise certain areas. Try to get a guy to do this as most females lack the hand strength to do it to guys, and in my experience dont waste money on massages, whilst they feel good they have absolutely no lasting effect.

Get a good nights sleep (easier said than done) poor sleep enhances pain sensitivty (particularly in people that suffer long term pains) i read the other day that getting less than 6 hours sleep a night increases your bodies inflammation levels by 25%. Not only that but you need to allow fatigued muscles recovery time.

What does the diet look like, at your age id advise that you cut out crap or keep it down to a minimum ie dont drink alcohol, dont eat processed shitty foods or sugary products like cakes and sweeties, basically dont give your body the excuse to become a breeding ground for general ill health and to stimulate pain.

Investigate trigger point therapy

And finally dont waste your time going to GPs their knowledge of back pain is generally poor and you will be met with 'its a strain' responses

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TOM C

ddhitquinn makes a good point on getting the scar tissue broken up.

I actually had good success with female massageur (hard to find a good one) but they have to be very aggressive on the muscles (called a sports massage I believe).

She broke up a "scar tissue knot" that had been there for decades.
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Mark S

Hi RManLCS,

You have my sympathy, as although I am not a sufferer of chronic pain myself, I am sure it is difficult to live with. However, I am slightly mystified with your comment you have read this board for years and still decided to ask the question. That said, check out Melzack and Wall(1965)their Gate Control theory in many respects is still in vogue today. Also Turo Nurmikko from Liverpool University is pioneering new treatments for chronic pain,and is worth checking out.


ddhitquinn,

I am sure you mean well, but its strange you say don't visit a GP as their knowledge on back pain is poor. Yet proceed to tell us most back pain is caused by scar tissue. Well if you know that and you are not a doctor,what makes you think they don't know that?

And a point about caffeine.Most painkillers contain caffeine, as caffeine acts as an analgesic adjuvant
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dhitquinn

TOM C wrote:
ddhitquinn makes a good point on getting the scar tissue broken up.

I actually had good success with female massageur (hard to find a good one) but they have to be very aggressive on the muscles (called a sports massage I believe).

She broke up a "scar tissue knot" that had been there for decades.


Yes its amazing how long they can manifest and cause problems, people attitude to back pain 'just leave it and it will go away' but it doesnt go away unless it is treated, plus certain folk bad mouth alternative therapies as gmmicks which they are not. Yet they have faith in government run doctor clinics that specialse in handing out drugs to treat symptoms and not tackle the root cause.
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dhitquinn

Mark S wrote:
Hi RManLCS,

You have my sympathy, as although I am not a sufferer of chronic pain myself, I am sure it is difficult to live with. However, I am slightly mystified with your comment you have read this board for years and still decided to ask the question. That said, check out Melzack and Wall(1965)their Gate Control theory in many respects is still in vogue today. Also Turo Nurmikko from Liverpool University is pioneering new treatments for chronic pain,and is worth checking out.


ddhitquinn,

I am sure you mean well, but its strange you say don't visit a GP as their knowledge on back pain is poor. Yet proceed to tell us most back pain is caused by scar tissue. Well if you know that and you are not a doctor,what makes you think they don't know that?

And a point about caffeine.Most painkillers contain caffeine, as caffeine acts as an analgesic adjuvant


I have met numerous people who have been to Gps about their backs countless times and i have never met one who was told about the effects of scar tissue by their doctors the response was always 'its a stran or a sprain'

You could be right about the caffeine one minute they say one thing the next they will say another, think it refers to excessive caffene use, i myself used to drink a lot of coffee but now only drink decaf and i think it has helped
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RManLCS

Hi Mark S, I have read the board for years and I am well aware of the Medx treatments for back pain. If I had the money to go to a Medx facility right now I would.

These issues for me have been around for quite a while but have gotten much worse in the past couple years (due to additional injuries from car accidents, falling on ice, getting old, etc.)

As I have been reading the board it has usually been for learning about different training methodologies.

At this point I will only be able to treat myself with the (much appreciated) input from board members.
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simon-hecubus

Texas, USA

There's been some chiro slamming on this thread, and to be sure there are some bad ones.

I've had the fortune of finding some good ones. You need one that can do more than do adjustments. You need one that can help diagnose other underlying issues. Often the back pain is secondary --- the symptoms if you will --- of other problems.

Stiff-Leg DLs - I did 'em for years like the pictures of Lee Haney standing atop a bench and lowering the bar to the tops of his feet, WITH A BIG FAT ROUNDED BACK!!!

I went to doing partial (Romanian style) stiff-leg DLs while maintaining slight hyperextension (arch) to the back throughout.

Squats - Caused lower back pinch. My chiro had me work on my Hammie and Glute flexibility with a couple simple stretches and the problem went away.
__________________________________

A few odds and ends:

* Foam Rollers provide a good way to stretch the spine out.

* If you don't have access to Inversion table, then at least hang after every workout. Start with Pronated (palms-away) grip at shoulder width and hang for 15-30 seconds. After that, do with Supinated (palms-up) grip. Hanging on Hyperextension (roman chair) are good too.

* WORK YOUR ABS with crunches (Dr. D calls 'em Trunk Curls) or Cable Tucks. Avoid Lying Leg Raises and full sit-ups (too much psoa action on these).

* Avoid BB Rows. I always use machine with chest pad. Keep it nice, slow, and smooth.

* If your Chiro wants you coming back week after week, you have the wrong Chiro. Mine says nearly any problems should be fixed after 3 sessions, 4 tops.

Scott
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