Exercise For Healing
Back problems plaque eight out of ten people during the course of a lifetime. Some 80 billion dollars are spent on back pain each year which usually takes hold of 30-year-olds to 50-year-olds, right in the middle of typically busy, active lives.
It is estimated that the majority of back problems can be prevented and alleviated by keeping the musculoskeletal system strong and limber. Specific exercises and stretches that can help you develop a stronger and more resilient back follow. Do them regularly, several times a week for a strong, limber back. If you feel pain with any of them, discontinue the exercise and ask your physician for variations appropriate for you.
1. Back Extensions
Lie over an exercise ball face down. With hands behind your head, lift your upper body until your spine forms a straight line.
Safety Note: Do not swing or arch the back excessively.
3. Wall Roll Downs
Place ball on a wall and lean against it. Roll down and up.
Safety Note: Make sure the feet are far enough out in front that the knees stay at a right angle at the bottom of the movement.
4. Abdominal Crunches
Sit on an exercise ball and walk your feet out in front of you until the middle of your back is pressing against the ball. Place hands behind head and lift shoulders off the ball while pressing back into the ball. Return to starting position and repeat.
Safety Note: Do not arch back on the return phase.
1. Back Stretch
Lie on your back on the floor. Make your body into a round ball and hold.
2. Abductor/Gluteal Stretch
Lie on your back with knees bent. Place one foot on the other knee. Lift both knees to the chest. Repeat on other side.
3. Lower Back Stretch
Pull one leg into the chest, the other leg bent with foot on the floor. Let top knee drop to the opposite side of the body and hold. Repeat on other leg.
4. Quad stretch
Lie on floor with knees bent. Widen legs and tilt both knees to the side while trying to get the knees to the floor. Repeat other side.
By taking care of your back you will not only ward off back pain but improve your posture as well. You will stand taller, look younger, and be strong enough to protect yourself from being injured by day-to-day activities.
*This article is intended for general information purposes only, is not individual-specific, nor is it intended to replace the advice of your healthcare team.
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Sciatica pain affects millions of people each year. The term sciatica does not refer to a medical condition. Rather, it is a word that describes symptoms which are the result of an irritated or compressed nerve in the lower spine. In reality, there are a number of conditions that can lead to sciatica pain. Once you know the cause, you can begin a program to alleviate your sciatica pain.
Causes of sciatica
The major causes of sciatica pain are:
1. Spinal stenosis resulting in sciatica
The passageway holding the nerves to the spine narrows or tightens.
2. Sciatica as a regult of degenerative disc disease
A degenerative disc impinges on the root of a nerve.
3. Tight hamstring muscles leading to sciatica
This increases tightness in the lower back, leading to some of the other causes listed here.
4. Sciatica caused by sacroiliac joint dysfunction
Sacroiliac joint becomes inflamed and rubs against the nerve.
5. Herniated disc induced sciatica
When a spinal disc protrudes backwards.
6. Isthmic spondylolisthesis producing sciatica
Need help stretching? Try these tools:
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One of the lowest discs in the back slips forward.
7. Sciatica and Piriformis syndrome
The piriformis muscles itself irritates the sciatica nerve and causes pain.
Exercises for sciatica sufferers
In order to successfully alleviate sciatica pain, you must exercise and stretch daily. If you make this routine a part of your daily care, your symptoms will most likely decrease and your pain can be kept to a minimum. If you suffer from sciatica pain, you can help yourself by strengthening and stretching the abdominals and back. Here’s what you need to do:
Remember, chronic or constant pain should be attended to by a physician. If your pain persists or worsens, discontinue stretching and seek the advice of a medical practitioner.
In 2005, a study found that one-in-three adults in the United States suffers from arthritis, which translates into approximately 66 million people. Of those people, 43 million were diagnosed by a doctor, while 23 million had chronic joint symptoms (but had not been officially diagnosed). Arthritis is second only to heart disease as a cause for work disability. With so many people afflicted and no cure in sight, arthritis sufferers need to understand what they can do to alleviate their symptoms and make this disease easier to tolerate.
Two types of arthritis
There are two common types of arthritis: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is more common. In osteoarthritis, the cartilage surrounding the bone breaks down and wears away, which leaves the normal smooth, gliding surfaces of the bone exposed and unprotected. As a result, it is very painful to move, so a person's range of motion becomes limited. In rheumatoid arthritis, tissue inflammation leads to the destruction of the joints. Once a joint becomes affected, the inflammation continues intermittently, leading to swollen and painful joints (and potentially disfigurement of the joints). It is more common among middle-aged women and characterized by periodic flare-ups.
Exercise tips for arthritis sufferers
An exercise program for arthritis sufferers provides several benefits. It increases the range of motion so that joint and muscle elasticity is not compromised when the arthritis flares up. It also helps warm-up and loosen the joints. In my experience, arthritis sufferers can do any exercise, but they must make modifications in their exercise routine to accommodate their daily fluctuations in pain tolerance.
Here are some guidelines to keep in mind when putting together an exercise routine:
- Warm up extensively. Your warm-up should be longer than usual to get the blood flowing through your joints. This will help improve your range of motion and flexibility for the main workout.
- Exercise in moderation. You can do a total body workout, as long as you focus on proper form for the exercises chosen. You should perform each repetition at a slow controlled pace. The intensity should be moderate or 40-60% of your maximum weight (the heaviest weight you could possibly do), and you should go for high repetitions, 10-20 repetitions. The exercises should be performed at a full range of motion, to improve joint flexibility and loosening up of the joints.
- Stretch to improve your flexibility. You should make sure that you stretch to improve your range of motion, which will keep the stress off of the joints.
- Water workouts are a great option. If you have the ability to do cardiovascular or strength training work in a pool, then take advantage of it. The warm water will help decrease stiffness and relax your muscles, while the buoyancy will take the pressure off of your joints, as you work out in an almost pain free environment.
- Word of caution. Use the two-hour pain rule as a guide. If you experience excess joint pain or greater-than-normal pain two hours after you have exercised, then you have over-done it and you will want to modify your workout next time. You will do this either by decreasing the exercises done, adjusting the intensity, or choosing different exercises.
Exercise is a smart choice for arthritis suffers
Exercise is not an immediate pain relief formula for arthritis, but it is a proactive solution to fighting off the deterioration of your joints. If you do nothing, you are just going to feel more and more pain with no end in sight. Sure there will be days when you can't exercise, but in the long run, the potential temporary relief you might feel, even if just for 15 minutes at a time, is certainly better than the non-stop pain you will have to live with if you do absolutely nothing.
Just about everyone who exercises regularly suffers occasionally from various body aches and pains. Most ailments come and go. Others seem to pop up way too much. What most people don’t know is that many of these aches and pains can be alleviated once the cause is found. And, they often result from knotted muscles that cause extreme pain.
If the problem feels more like a muscle issue than a joint, it probably is. Trigger points, as they are more often referred to, can cause tremendous pain and take an incredibly long period of time to relieve themselves. These sensitive areas can bring a grown man to his knees. The fact is, trigger points can exist for years if not properly treated, leading to unnecessary chronic pain and suffering.
Identify your trigger points
The good news: Trigger points are easily treated. By you. You don’t need a specialist or costly equipment. Just a knowledge of what trigger points create pain in other areas of the body. An excellent book on the topic is TheTrigger point Therapy Workbook.
If you get a chance to read this great self-help book you’ll find you can rid yourself of a great deal of stiffness, pain, and frustration. And, you’ll be able to move and exercise more easily and comfortably. You’ll learn where the most common trigger points are for problematic areas of the body. Remember, a pain in the arm may be coming from a trigger point in the back or neck. Treating the arm is not going to get rid of the pain or the cause.
How to treat your trigger points
The idea is to squeeze, roll, probe or otherwise manipulate the affected knot until the pain lessens. For example, you feel like you’ve torn the Achilles muscle, located at the base of your ankle at the back of the foot. The pain is horrendous and you’re not sure what to do. Probing around a little can help you find the true cause if it’s a muscular pull. By taking a rolling pin and rolling over the calve, you may feel a few bumps that cause a lot of pain. Interestingly, these bumps are not located near the painful area you’re trying to help. Still, these knots and lumps may actually be the true root causing referred pain. Massaging them away will alleviate the chronic Achilles condition and get rid of the discomfort.
Is it a muscle spasm or a tear?
All right, so how can you tell the difference between a muscle in spasm or a more serious strain or tear? Look for inflammation. If you feel or see the area inflamed, it’s a sign of trauma. The body produces swelling as a way to cushion itself and protect from further damage. Swelling reduces the ability to move freely and prevents the area from healing. If you feel swelling is the culprit, follow the RICE procedure. Rest the area, Ice it, Compress and Elevate. If you still have pain or aren’t sure, consult your physician.