Saturday, August 11, 2007

Ask The Trainer. What to do about back problems.

I'm always flattered when someone I've never met, emailed or known in general asks me for advice. I'm often taken aback, not because I doubt my knowledge or skill, but because of all of the fitness and health professionals in the world, I seemed to be the one who could help out the most. It's a very humbling experience.

The other night I received this email:

Hi there,
I don't know if you can help me...I am simply looking for guidance/feedback. I live in Australia and have an ongoing lower back/pelvis problem. I am a dancer and for the past few months (despite having danced for nearly 3 years) my left hip joint keeps rotating backwards and up causing severe misalignment and pain down my right side. The therapist I am seeing suggests to take 1 month off dancing to work on core stability (have been doing her exercises for 2 months now) and allow myself to become stronger and more stable so that my hip joint won't keep coming out...and my pelvis out of alignment. I am afraid that my body will never become strong enough to allow me to dance (my passion in life).

Could I possibly ask for your thoughts on this? I need guidance and help and would appreciate any feedback....

Kindest Regards,
N in Australia

Hi N-

I'm sorry to hear about your back and hip problems. It's very disappointing to deal with physical limitations, especially when your passion in life is very demanding.

While I can't diagnose conditions for people I've never examined and assessed, I can tell you what I would do to find out the cause of your misalignments, possible resolutions and referrals to professionals in Australia who could help.

First and foremost; a chiropractic, orthopedic, neurological exam complete with full spine x-rays would be recommended. This would allow a health professional gather all of the physical information needed to properly diagnose the true cause of the imbalances and misalignments. Part of this exam should include a gait analysis and an overhead squat assessment. These are biomechanical tests that a health professional would do to see how your body moves, finding your muscular imbalances (what muscles are tight and weak).

After a proper examination, the general course of action would include deep tissue massage or myofascial release to relax the "knots" in the muscles, causing them to hyper-contract. After that, the muscles are prepped for corrective exercise training. This "re-trains" the muscles to work in a more balanced manner. Specific Chiropractic adjustments will compliment the corrective exercises, as our bodies are made up of systems that work together. You can't correct imbalances without addressing both the muscular and skeletal systems.

After corrective exercise training, stabilization training would be your next step. This stage is more core intense and also progresses you into exercises that will begin to build more strength, in addition to stabilizing your joints.

You'll want to find a Chiropractor who specializes in human movement science. Chiropractic Biophysics is a great spinal/joint rehabilitation technique. These Doctors may recommend physical therapy or give you the corrective exercise training program themselves. If you go through a personal trainer, you'll want to find someone who is NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) certified. You might be able to contact NASM directly for a referral.

I agree with the recommendation of your therapist in that taking a break from dancing will help, giving your body time to heal and retrain. Unless there is something seriously wrong, you should be able to regain your strength and stabilization, allowing you to dance again.

I hope this information helps you out and points you in the right direction.

Good luck!

No comments: