All posts by andrewstemler

personal trainer, crossfit london uk trainer, Lower back pain researcher

Is your back pain “psoas Syndrome”

Read more here.

According to the abstract

“Psoas syndrome is an easily missed diagnosis. However, it is important to consider this condition as part of the differential diagnosis for patients presenting with low back pain—particularly for osteopathic physicians, because patients may view these practitioners as experts in musculoskeletal conditions. The authors describe the case of a 48-year-old man with a 6-month history of low back pain that had been attributed to “weak core muscles.” The diagnosis of psoas syndrome was initially overlooked in this patient. After the correct diagnosis was made, he was treated by an osteopathic physician using osteopathic manipulative treatment, in conjunction with at-home stretches between office treatments. At his 1-month follow-up appointment, he demonstrated continued improvement of symptoms and a desire for further osteopathic manipulative treatment.”
Frankly, the stretches recommended in this report are quite standard. The diagnosis of ” weak core” in itself should always be challenged as being too simplistic,  there will almost always be glute, postural,  limb flexibility, manipulation issues to be taken into account
The big warning.
Some back pain is really serious: check your RED FLAGS by clicking here 

Necks on a plane

Who didn’t love that great film, Snakes on a Plane: great plot, well acted, well paced  and utterly believable.

In that great tradition, can I present, “Necks on a plan”

neck issues

Air travel presents a great opportunity for you to abuse your body and create long lasting pain. Probably not quite as effective as  buying the services of a Mayfair dominatrix, but  still, pretty good.

To really make your neck hurt, let it drift forward and down as you stoop to read: if you can switch your abs off too and “hang” for 1, 2, 3 , 4 hours, you will really over stress those upper back and neck muscles and develop some really great pain. For free ( excluding the cost of the flight,  of course).

If, however you don’t want the rest of your week blighted by  agonising neck pain, why not , gently,  engage your abdominal muscles ( “tone” rather than tension) and rest  the back of your head on the head rest. The clue is in the name. HEAD REST: something on which to rest your head!

DOAH!!!! I hate to say, it. Your mother was right!. Don’t slouch, and sit up

So, necks have  a lot to do with the upper body and shoulder mobility ( and lack of it). Why not come to one of our amazing “shoulder mobility” masterclasses


The relationship between the tampa scale of kinesiophobia and low back pain rehabilitation outcomes

Thanks to Gregg et al for

The relationship between the tampa scale of kinesiophobia and low back pain rehabilitation outcomes.

For those of you who are terribly ignorant about such things, “The Tampa Scale for Kinesiophobia (TSK) is commonly used in clinical practice to quantify levels of pain related fear of activity or re-injury in patients presenting with back pain. Patients with high levels of kinesiophobia are often considered at greater risk of developing long term activity limitation and chronicity. There is, however, little evidence to support this assumption”

Gregg et al used a questionnaire on 313 patients of a back clinic.

The study concluded that “The Tampa Scale for Kinesiophobia (TSK) provides no benefit as a screening tool to predict pain, functional and work outcomes following rehabilitation. Measured changes in TSK scores following rehabilitation do not correlate strongly with similar, concordant changes in pain scores, functional levels or return to work outcomes”.

Well, who knew

classification of back pain:

Thanks to Norton et al for “Classification of patients with incident nonspecific low back pain: implications for research” that appears in “spine”

Four distinct groups of patients were identified and validated. One group (53.4%) of patients recovered immediately. One third of patients (31.7%) may appear to recover over six months, but maintain a 37-48% likelihood of receiving care for low back pain in every subsequent quarter, implying frequent relapse. Two remaining groups of patients each maintain very high probabilities of receiving care in every quarter (65-78% and 84-90%), predominantly utilizing therapeutic services and pain medication, respectively. Probabilistic grouping relative to alternatives was very high (89.6-99.3%). Grouping was not related to demographic or clinical characteristics.

The four distinct sets of patient experiences have clear implications for research. Inclusion criteria should specify incident or recurrent cases. A six-month clean period may not be sufficiently long to assess incidence. Reporting should specify the proportion recovering immediately to prevent mean recovery rates from masking between-group differences. Continuous measurement of pain or disability may be more reliable than measuring outcomes at distinct endpoints.

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Meniscoid Entrapment theory

If a therapist, like me,  jumps on your back to give it a crack, it may be that they are acting out a  “meniscoid entrapment theory” moment. This  means, they are speculating that vertebral joints have small menisci  (synovial folds) that gets trapped within the joint. This entrapment causes  guarding  and preventing movements ( that group of facet joints lock).

The idea of using a manipulative techniques  is, so some think, is to  change the pressure within the joint , pushing the synovial  folds back out.

Originally proposed by Kos and Wolf. elaborated by Bogdvk And Jull.

Frankly, I think my theory that your back is invaded by evil demons, makes far more sense!