Category Archives: back pain

Handstands for scoliosis and back pain

I have a belief that handstands have a  role is developing the Core and aiding spinal mechanics. However, Im sure this has not been studied in any depth. The aim of this review is simply to collect enough evidence from easily accessible sources  to justify experimenting with my clients.

Whilst Im not sure about many of her recommendations, it was interesting to note that Sarah Key recommends the handstand for her scoliosis patients.

“the best specific strengthening exercise is handstands….. being upside down it literally tricks both sides of the para-spinal muscles into working equally hard in keeping you upright and balanced”

According to site that sells inversion tables, “In mild cases of Scoliosis, research and clinical studies have shown that inversion tables and regular exercise can have a positive effect on treating the physical defect. Unfortunately, inversion therapy has not been shown to effectively treat Scoliosis in severe cases”

BTW, I’m not validating passively hanging upside down. The benefit of  a handstand is that your body needs to be the tightest its ever been.

The “Mindbodygreen” blog by Heidi Kristoffer discusses that handstands can heal, but to avoid headstands! I must admit, I’ve never been a headstand fan!

Whilst this is far from anything resembling science, hanging people upside down , making them handstand, seems  not to kill people, so it may be worth experimenting with,  as long as  a proper posture ( neutral spine) is maintained. .

I’m assuming that I’ll develop the handstand from a good plank position, then walk it slowly up the wall!

I should say, I think that handstands will help IF people have adequate shoulder flexibility: hanging in an awful arch could do harm

Be careful of your deadlift form: why sport science reports can mislead you

Much of the development of human movement comes from coaches comparing techinques. Better coaches hang out with other coaches, go on their courses, read their blogs, learn, analyse, video, and humbly put stuff up for criticism.  Many sport science papers purport to do the same thing. However, the only value of  a report of an experiment is, if you can reproduce the experiment yourself.

Do you remember those basic physics and chemistry experiments we did at school? We followed the exact doses, mixed , shook, heated and retreated to a safe distance. The instructions told us, how much, in what container , in what proportion. to what temperature.

This often isn’t the case in sport science journals. Sport scientists  casually say they are testing the efficacy of , say,  the deadlift and squat but often fail to explain what they mean. This frequently means back specialists often prescribe or ban  movements where there is no correct understanding about what the movement is and how to perform it. I often see clients who have been banned from performing movements they do well and perfectly, and being set drills and movements, which, clearly, the  instructor had not the faintest idea of the correct form or the correct mechanics .

The picture here is from a leading book on back issues and is supposed to be the correct form of the deadlift. It is, unfortunately not brilliant, (probably for all the best reasons), but, if you  deadlifted in this way, you would , eventually, overload your back ( as always, poor form needs to be mixed with  repetition and  escalating load weight  to be truly nasty).

This is not an attack on sport scientists ( I do that elsewhere). After all,  all research is useful , it is a plea to look for the instructions or method in the report you are reading. Can you reproduce what they did? If not, treat the information with caution.

We will post later the correct way to deadlift.

And maybe you should twitch

inspired by  a re-reading this report:
Effectiveness of Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation for Treatment of Hyperalgesia and Pain

and talking to a former (100% cured,) Backaholic, i was  encouraged to drag out from the bottom of the wardrobe, my old “Bodi-tek” machine.

I  bought  a “Bodi tek”  years  ago  (seriously, 2001, 2002) when I thought it would improve my Martial arts.

In my favour i only used it once. I sat there covered in those patches. Twitching.

However,  there is, at certain levels, a validity to the electro stimulation of muscles and, well, according to the report above, some use in the therapeutic relief of pain.

To be honest,  as I write, I am reminded that , about 2 years ago, when  a sales rep from “firefly” came a calling, I got this machine out again, slapped it on various leg lower leg muscles and it seemed to help my achilles tendonopathy ( along with massage, trigger point therapy and some taping) So, if we, in the future, ask you to lie on the massage couch for a short while, hook you up,  and make you  twitch, you’ll know the reason why.

Interesting to see if we can effect the piriformis  thinking about it.