back pain

Tight hamstrings

If you’ve got any sort of musculo-skeletal pain, chances are your body is out of alignment. Your quest is to find out why it’s out of alignment.

Here are two analogies that might help explain what’s going one.

Firstly, you’re out camping and someone slackens off one of the guy ropes of your tent. Likely as not, it won’t take long for the whole tent to collapse.

Chances are that if you’re in pain, the ‘tent’ is leaning over and a few of the ‘guy ropes’ need adjusting.

Secondly, imagine that one of the front tyres on your car is wearing unevenly. You take it to your mechanic and he recommends you replace the tyre. You know, and I know, that if all you do is replace the tyre the same thing is going to happen again.

You need to have your wheels re-aligned and the tyres balanced. It’s not a five minute job.

Taking it back to the human body, in most cases when bones are out of alignment, the secret to getting them back into alignment is to do the opposite to what you’d do to straighten up your tent. You need to loosen off the muscles that have pulled bones out of alignment.

Very few people understand that this is the principle reason why they need to embark on a flexibility training program.

If you want clues as to the underlying cause of your back pain take these tests

  1. Are the muscles on the back side of your body flexible enough to allow you to put your socks on while standing on one leg?

  2. If they’re not, you’ve definitely tightened up – calf, hamstring, buttock and back muscles. Crunching your lower back bones or taking a pill to mask the pain isn’t going to improve your flexibility.

  3. Can you sit against a wall with your legs straight out in front of you and your bottom close in to the wall? If you can’t, you’ve got tight hamstrings – which are high on the list of suspects for lower back, neck and shoulder pain.

  4. Are your buttock muscles too tight? Can you sit up straight with your legs crossed and your hands clasped behind your back? If you can’t, your buttock muscles are too tight. Tight buttock muscles are also high on the list of suspects for back, neck and shoulder pain.

  5. Can you do 20 pressups, men on their toes and women on the front of their thighs? Research shows that the best predictor of risk of lower back pain is your ability to do pressups. The reason is that while you’re doing a pressup the muscles of your trunk – front, back, sides and core need to keep your trunk as stiff as a board. In fact, if you think about it, while you’re doing pressups, you’re also doing the ‘plank’ exercise, a highly recommended exercise for strengthening all the muscles that hold your back in good alignment.

  6. Can you do 20 good situps? I do mine with my knees bent, feet under a rail and fingers behind my ears. If you can’t to 20 situps the muscles on the front side of your body aren’t strong enough to keep your spinal column in good alignment.

  7. Are you more than 20Kg (that’s a bit over 40 pounds) over weight? If you are, the risk of coming down with back pain are very high. It’s not a matter of if, it’s when.

  8. Lastly do you have a regular and systematic strength and flexibility training program, either at home or in the gym? My research shows that people who make a point of keeping themselves strong and flexible dramatically lower their risk of back pain.

In a nutshell, if you’re weak, tight, fat and you don’t have a strength and flexibility training program, your back pain is definitely not due to a lack of rubbing, crunching, heating, vibrating or Voltarin.

Rushing off to the doctor isn’t going to make matters any better because for most people back pain is a fitness problem, not a medical problem; and you can’t solve a fitness problem with a medical solution. A lot of people tried and things only got worse. Neither Voltarin not Celebrex strengthen weak muscles or loosen tight muscles. Neither for that matter does rubbing, crunching, heating or vibrating.

The first three tests above will provide you with clues as to which stretches you need to do. The main stretches will involve muscles that are attached to your pelvis, front, back and sides, the reason being that if the pelvis is out of alignment then everything above it will be out of alignment.

In the mean time stay tuned, highly tuned, and move heaven and earth to get your body back in better alignment and strong enough to do every day tasks in comfort.

John Miller

John Miller, Canberra (Australia) based physical educator and the Director of the Musculo-skeletal Fitness Institute helps people worldwide to achieve to relief from musculo-skeletal pain. You can discover more helpful information about how you can achieve back pain relief naturally by downloading a free emergency handbook and free newsletters at http://www.globalbackcare.com

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