Tag Archives: back pain

Piriformis Syndrome

There is a sneaky little muscle in your bum that often makes your back , or legs hurt.

It’s sneaky as, whether or not you have a booty or a skinny ass,  its a muscle that hides underneath the big ( or skinny?) obvious bits.

It creates a lot of mischief. So Voila, the piriformis is the muscle to blame. Its this muscle that I’ll often try and find and “trigger point” if I see you acting  or moving in one of many ways. If you are going to have back pain,  you might as well understand the anatomy

So this is where it lives.

piriformis location

When I’ve found it, here is where I’ll try and press

Piriformis points

I’ll often press or rub each point with my thumb about 10 times. Often I’ll try and teach you how to find these points with a Lacross or massage ball.

Obviously, there are other muscles in this area that I’ll identify and treat, but this is often the cause of a lot of back pain

Well, thats why Ive probably shoved my thumb in your bum!

If you have back pain, do get in contact and I’ll see what I can do to help.

I do a lot of work with the Backaholic programme at Crossfit London in E2 , and I help people cure there back pain. Strangely Im just a massage therapist, but as I teach people to olympic lift,  clamber over objects and do lots of cool  gymnastic stuff, Ive been forced to deal with the bad backs my clients bring to their sessions

There is a lot to be said for losing weight!

The body mass index is a little clunky as a measure, but for those with knee and back problem, it should  be your 1st port of call.  Do you have  a healthy Body mass index?

click here and check

If not and you are  active, think on this. “Active” normally means 10,000 steps a day. If you are 10kg over weight  thats  10 x10,0000 that 100,000 kilos extra than your body  expected  . Weightlifters brace and prepare!

If you are inactive and slumping in your chair thats a lot of deadweight pressing on knackered  back and bum muscles.

“Dude, loose some weight!”

If you  have an ok weight, well thats ok. Go you. Thats not the problem!

i

Sit on your Ischial Tuberosities

When sitting, you can sit on your  Coccyx, or your Ischial Tuberosities. After all, it’s your ass!

sit on you ischial tuberosities

BUT…..sitting on your coccyx  ( right picture above: Boo. Bad) is the same as bending over badly and slumping (bad): the abdomen protrudes (bad) , the chest sinks ( bad), and breathing is inhibited. (cannot be good) It also indicates  fatigue (yawn) , and lack of support (Boo). In this position you can  try and make the client  (or yourself) sit up, but it will only last a short time before slumping back (sob) into your Backaholic patterns

Sitting on your Ischial Tuberosities ( a good place to sit, on the left above) , causes a more upright position (good), which elongates the spine (good)  and reduces excessive curvature (good; high five) .  Maintaining  this natural spine is easier as it is seen as a natural position (good. Fist bump). Each minute of wrong sitting can be compared to doing  the wrong exercise. if you sit poorly for 8 hours a day, thats a lot of bad exercise.  you are not a runner or a body builder or a crossfitter, you are a “bad back maker”

Of course, you should never sit  for that long, but if you must sit, sit on your Ischial Tuberosities!!

To get into correct “sit”, once you have sat down, lean to one side (imagine you are  trying to break wind!)  and gently lift your “lifted” buttock up with your hand,  scoop it back then sit down, then do the other side.

This said, you still  have  to fight your slumping habit. You must learn to sit tall and relaxed, but with an appropriate amount of abdominal tone. Say No to being a Backaholic!!

The shoulder bridge: gluteal engagement

Lie on the floor with your knees flexed (feet on the floor) and stick your fingers into the meat of your ass.

Squeeze your ass cheeks together as your method of engaging them  and not by trying to over extend your hips or play with your pelvis; keep that neutral.

Once that is mastered,  bridge the torso off the floor. At this stage, you , a friend or your trainer needs to feel your hamstrings. People who are “hamstring dominant and gluteal deficient will engage the hamstrings prior to moving” (McGill: page 195 Ultimate back Fitness).

This is the wrong pattern. The glutes should drive this action. To help  we can put our foot against your toes, and whilst asking you to squeeze your ass, we  can help your quads engage by lightly cueing from the knees ( so either a finger hook under the knee to gently pull them up, or if you know each other, a quad stroke ( to encourage the hamstrings to switch off) ).

Once you get  your  ass  engaging, “Boom” your back gets  a bit more resilient  and your squat gets better!

shoulder bridge

Help your back find its way: tape it up!

If you struggle to maintain  a neutral spine when deadlifting or squatting, or sitting for that matter, a “bit of gaffer tape” either side of your lumbar spine can give some very useful feedback. Set your neutral back, and get someone to stick tape either side of your spine ( the boney bit in the middle): when you stoop it pulls, and reminds you to maintain a better back position (  but don’t tape into a hyper- lordotic position!!)

backtape1

Obvious point, but make sure you are not allergic to the tape you are going to use! This can really help you save your back and cut down your  pack pain. Essentially it tells the body where your back is. Often back pain sufferer’s have no idea what their back is doing.

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