Tag Archives: back pain

Elite PT Newsletter August 18′ – Running Injuries: Preventing Lower Back Pain

We’re continuing with our series on running injuries – this month focusing on how to prevent lower back pain.

But first:

I want to welcome our new PT student Charlie Crockatt

Charlie CrockattCharlie is in his third and final year of Grand Valley State University’s doctorate of physical therapy program, and is with us until October for hands-on clinical experience. He grew up in Livonia Michigan, playing football and baseball for the Stevenson Spartans. After high school he completed his undergraduate work at Central Michigan University, studying athletic training. After graduation from PT school, he is interested in working with athletic populations of all ages and hopes to travel outside of Michigan. In his free time, he enjoys the outdoors and also plays drums for an indie rock band called Birdie Country.

Charlie will be a great fit at Elite PT and will be here through October 5th.
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Running Injuries continued:  Preventing Lower Back Pain

Unfortunately lower back pain is a frequent problem for runners especially as distances increase.

As you’ve learned from our previous articles on running injuries, having good joint mobility and flexibility are very important for injury prevention.  When it comes to your lower back, the more mobile and flexible you are through the joints above and below – specifically ankles, hips, and thoracic spine – the better.

Another important consideration is core stability.  I prefer to use the term ‘stability’ over the more common term ‘strength’ because that’s really what we are after.  Stability, in this case, is the ability of the muscles of the trunk to maintain a safe position of the joints of the spine while you alternately swing your arms and legs to run.  In simpler terms:  to keep your lower back relatively still while the rest of you moves.

One of the best ways to train for stability is to use a variety of plank exercises to challenge the various muscle groups on the front, back, and sides of the trunk.  These are known as Bunke Planks and are pictured below:






Use a small box or chair approximately 12-18″ high (the higher it gets the easier it tends to get).

These exercises were introduced a few years back as a way of developing stability and endurance through the trunk muscles but also to compare how stable a runner was right to left.  Everything is done on one leg and compared to the opposite side.  Competitive runners should be able to hold each position 40 seconds at a minimum on each leg.  Asymmetries right to left (i.e. hold on left leg 40 seconds but only 25 seconds on the right) was thought to put runners at a substantially higher risk of injury.  Not being able to hold the full 40 seconds was not as big a deal but still thought to increase risk of injury.

So that’s the quick and dirty history of the Bunke Planks in one paragraph.  Competitive runners should be able to hold each plank 40 seconds on each leg in each position.  This can be very challenging, and very eye opening as some folks think they are quite ‘strong’ through their core until they try these!

For the rest of us, these planks can be very difficult and in some cases way to advanced.  Luckily there are a number of regressions possible that can be used to build up stability and endurance and maybe eventually work up to the full blown Bunke plank.

The easiest thing to do in some cases is just to do the plank in the pictures on both legs and work up to 40 seconds before trying to lift a leg.

From there alternate lifting legs up to 10 reps each leg.  You will only be holding a few seconds each leg before switching to the other.  If your on your side you would lift the top or bottom leg 10 time then switch sides.

The next step would be to start working in longer holds.

The shoulders can often be limiting factors in performing the Bunke planks – here are some regressions to take the shoulders out completely or at least to decrease the total amount of body weight you must hold up:

Hamstring Bridging

Single Leg Hamstring Bridge

Lift the tailbone but not the lower back!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Side Plank (from the knees)

Side Plank from knees

Hold the hips high and lift the top leg up and down

 

 

 

 

 

Front Planks (from the knees)

Kneeling Front Plank

Keep the hips high and back flat

 

 

 

 

If you have any questions at all or are suffering from lower back pain feel free to email me:  Joe@elitepttc.com

Keep running and stay healthy!

 

Joe Heiler

231 421-5805

Joe@elitepttc.com

Training to Prevent Low Back Pain – Feet Raised Bench Press

Low back pain is a huge part of what we treat at Elite Physical Therapy and Sports Performance.  Even folks coming in for treatment with knee replacement or shoulder pain (just a couple examples), will often complain of pain and tightness in their low back as well.   Dysfunction and pain in the lower back can certainly contribute and cause problems in other areas of the body.

In the coming weeks I’ll be posting a series of articles written by Andy Barker (SportsRehabExpert.com contributor) and myself that discuss how to spare your lower back during the performance of popular strength training exercises.  Hopefully you’ll find some good tips to keep that spine healthy all the while making great gains with your training.

Enjoy and if you have any questions feel free to email me:  joe@elitepttc.com

 

by Andy Barker PT

originally posted at SportsRehabExpert.com

I think we do a great job at cueing and coaching good pelvic position when using standing based gym exercises.  Equally, cueing the same position in supine in an unloaded state we also get it right.

However, when adding load to supine based exercises good pelvic form is often lost.

A great example of this is the bench press. Often when the load goes up so does load through the back as compensatory lumbar extension assists the lift. This is especially so when the feet are placed on the floor either side of the bench.

One easy way to reduce the effects of possible lumbar compensatory extension is to raise the feet to put the pelvis into posterior tilt and hence out of lumbar extension. This is shown in the video below:

Feet Raised Bench Press

One potential problem with the above technique is that athletes may feel less steady with the feet not placed on the floor and hence unable to shift as much load. This might be particular so the wider the athlete and/or the narrower the bench used.

As a result an alternative way to increase support whilst also raising the feet is using plyo boxes to act as foot platforms. Using the boxes allows athletes to push into the floor, via the boxes, as they would in a standard bench press, although in a much better pelvic position. This is shown in the video below:

Feet raised bench press (plyo boxes)

Have a blast and let me know what you think

BIO

Andy is the current head physiotherapist for the Leeds Rhinos first team squad and has been involved with the club for the past six seasons.

He graduated in Physiotherapy from the University of Bradford with a first class honours degree which followed on from a previous Bachelor of Science degree from Leeds Metropolitan University in Sports Performance Coaching.

Andy currently works privately in addition to his sporting work and has also previous experience within National League basketball and professional golf.

Andy has a keen interest in injury prevention and the biomechanics of movement in which he is continuing his studies with the start of a MSc degree later this year in Sports and Exercise Biomechanics.

Andy is also the creator and author of rehabroom.co.uk. RehabRoom is a free online rehab resource site aimed at but not exclusive to physiotherapists, strength and conditioning coaches and personal trainers. To visit the site, click here:  www.rehabroom.co.uk