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How These People Used Exercise To Beat Chronic Back Pain

Written by: Nick Jack
Category: 2014
on 11 May 2016
Hits: 7847

I don’t often highlight individual success stories as I don’t like to make one person’s success seem more significant than another as we are all on our own individual journey. However I feel compelled to share three inspiring case studies to really drive home that even with the most severe injuries, exercise if prescribed correctly can make a massive difference. We must get away from looking for a magic pill or some surgery to get rid of our pain, and start looking at the body as a complex computer with many programs and systems running at the same time that can cause big problems if the underlying problem is not addressed. The reason I want to share these particular stories in the article below is for several reasons.

  1. They share the same problem – Severe Lower Back Pain causing nerve damage and paralysis!
  2. They are all relatively young (26-40 years of age) with an injury most would deem to be an older person problem
  3. Surgery in some cases made the problem worse and never addressed the “real root cause”
  4. The solution we used was almost identical, yet very different!

If you are someone suffering with chronic back pain now, make sure you read this full article as it will give you plenty of hope on how to get on top of your problem once and for all and also prevent you from making the mistakes that many of the population make. I left the full story written of each client in the article so you can see exactly what they were going through during their worst and best times on our program.

Spinal Fusions Rarely Cure Chronic Back Pain

We are so trained into treating the symptoms, wanting some pill or someone to “fix us” that we completely miss dealing with the root cause of the pain and where the problem first started. And in the case of back pain this can be a disaster! As many as 8 out of 10 people struggle with back pain, and for those who suffer with extreme chronic pain many resort to surgery as a solution. Unfortunately, this often does not resolve the problem, and in some cases simply worsens the situation. I understand that the pain may be very debilitating but using resorting to surgery without exhausting easier options first is fraught with danger.

In all my years (11 years now) working with hundreds (if not thousands now, we are online as well) I have not met one person who has been better off after undergoing surgery on their spine! Not one! Now I am not here to try and rubbish surgeons or the medical world, as the work they do is nothing short of amazing putting people back together after horrific accidents or even birth defects. Science really helps significantly with these cases which prior to this technology many would die or live a life severely disabled. Technology also significantly helps in diagnosing injuries and where things that previously may have been undetected to be identified and corrected. The type of cases I am referring to are where people have developed a chronic pain or problem that WAS NOT from a traumatic accident, but instead a postural problem developed over time. Using surgery to correct the end result of something that has evolved from lack of exercise, poor exercise choice, poor movement and postural habits but leave all of these faults still in motion is craziness. And also explains why many people even after the surgery are still in pain!

Even some surgeons question the use of surgery themselves!

Dr. David Hanscom, an orthopedic surgeon with a practice in Seattle, is unusual in that he tells most of his patients they don't need surgery. He's written a book detailing his novel approach to chronic pain treatment, called "Back in Control: A spine surgeon's roadmap out of chronic pain."

Spinal fusions are a lucrative business and great source of revenue for the hospital and surgeon. Unfortunately, they rarely work for the patients. Spinal fusions arose from the assumption that disc degeneration was a source of back pain. Therefore, it was thought that by fusing the disc together with the bone, which eliminates motion, you would get rid of the pain. However, that has since been proven false.

"Disc degeneration actually does not cause back pain. That's been well-documented," Dr. Hanscom says.

"The success rate of the spinal fusion for back pain was about 24 percent, but we still kept doing it. Then, in 1994, when this paper came out Washington showing that the return-to-work rate one year after a spinal fusion for back pain was 15 percent, I just stopped. Every paper since then has showed pretty much the same dismal results; there's maybe a 20 to 25 percent success rate of spinal fusion for back pain... And the downside of a failed spine surgery is terrible. It's really bad. These people are condemned to live their entire lifetime, 30 to 40 more years, in chronic pain." Despite such findings, spinal fusions are still popular. Each year, some 600,000 spinal fusions are performed in the U.S. with a high percentage of them being performed for non-specific low-back pain, at a cost of more than $600 billion.

Source: www.mercola.com

And if you still think surgery is a good choice I recommend you read two very interesting books. One is called "Surgery The Ultimate Placebo" by Ian Harris and a very compelling book written by an Orthopedic surgeon questioning the value of many of the common surgeries performed every day. The second is Back Mechanic by Stuart McGill's thoughts on this. McGill is considered to be one of the world's best researchers and pioneers of back rehabilitation methods and programs. Much of the work we do is based on his teachings, because it works! In McGill's recent book "Back Mechanic" in his chapter Is Surgery For You he says, "Ninety Five Percent of the challenging patients see do NOT need surgery, even thought they were told that was their only cure. My opinion based on three decades of experience, working with patients who have been successful with surgical avoidance and in dealing with the "failed backs" caused by unsuccessful surgery."

Exercise Is Your Solution Not Surgery!

Before I go any further I will start off with a word of caution. Make sure you have a correct diagnosis from a qualified Doctor, do not self diagnose, and that any exercise program you follow is designed carefully and specifically to YOUR NEEDS!

The type of exercise most people are prescribed is too focus on their "Core Muscles", using Pilates or as the Physiotherapists these days like to call it, clinical Pilates. This can be a good place to start and may even reduce your pain, but it is exactly what I said - A starting point. I have never met a person yet who injured themselves lying on their back or kneeling on the floor. But I have met hundreds who have injured themselves standing up! Strong core muscles does not guarantee you will prevent back pain. Other people use Yoga, accupuncture or go swimming as they have been told this will be good for their back. There is no one way to cure back pain, only the right way for you! Read more about this by clicking here. You could have great Core control, abdominal strength with your pelvic floor and TVA and be the best in the world at activating your abdominal muscles. But if your movement patterns are faulty and your large moving muscles do not coordinate correctly with your stabilizers, you will continue to suffer with pain. That is 100% guaranteed. And this is why many Pilates and physio programs only take people to a certain point, and do not fully prepare the person for MOVEMENT in the real world. Now before I offend someone I am not saying this is ALL Pilates or therapists, because there are some great ones out there who are using standing movement exercise programs. Unfortunately these people are in the minority as far too many still focus on muscles and the area in pain.

Only a specific assessment that identifies your weaknesses, postural imbalances and movement dysfunction will work. Get it wrong and you can end up in more pain! Seeking out a well skilled therapist, trainer, exercise physiologist, CHEK Practitioner, who understands MOVEMENT will help you for sure. If you live in Melbourne you can request a Free assessment from us by going to the form at the bottom of the page. Or you can download a FREE copy of our Back Pain Cheat Sheet that outlines this in a one page sheet, or go one step further and get our entire assessment and program design process so you can do this yourself! All of the clients whose stories I am about to share here followed the process we use in this video and book series and is how our program works with clients each day. Click here or on the images below to get a copy, but make sure you read the rest of this article as I am about to share the 3 amazing stories now!

 

Okay, let’s take a look at the 3 case studies we have worked with and I will then summarise the solution from each case to show you how they all managed to get on top of their problem better than before.

Case Study One Brad

Injury:

He ruptured two discs in his lower back which left him with Cauda Equina syndrome a rare condition which left him without feeling in both of his legs and the loss of function of his bowel and bladder! He is left with permanent nerve damage in both of his upper legs.

His Story:

"Having always been active with sport and work, my whole life changed in 2013 when I ruptured two discs in my lower back two weeks after the arrival of our third child. I was diagnosed with Cauda Equina syndrome a rare condition which left me without feeling in both of my legs and the loss of function of my bowel and bladder.  I was rushed into hospital for spinal surgery and was relieved to get use of my functions again, however I was left with permanent nerve damage in my upper legs and spent 8 weeks on the couch re acquainting myself with daytime telly, building a new house remotely and trying unsuccessfully to help my wife with the three kids. Given little to no advice from my surgeon except " don't lift anything over five kilograms and don't do sit-ups" I set out to get things right again.

For the next 18 to 24 months I spent a lot of time in the pool walking laps and doing simple exercises given to me by my osteopath. Slowly I was getting a little better however I was developing bad postural habits as I was always trying to protect myself from re injury.  Then in April 2015 a chance meeting in a local cafe between my wife and my long time friend Nick Jack saw me heading to No Regrets for my initial assessment. Having played basketball with Nick from under fourteens, training with him at the start of his personal training career and experiencing his enthusiasm. I had confidence in Nicks new Holistic approach to my problems.  Straight away I felt like I was on the right path although getting the balance right was the key to me getting better. What used to be simple tasks now frustrated the hell out of me and sometimes "flared up" the nerve damage in my legs.I trained with Nick for about seven months experimenting with different movements and exercises and couldn't believe that I was lifting weight, throwing medicine balls and even boxing again. Nick slowly but surely passed the reigns over to Elley and Nathan and I now enjoy doing a session with each of them during the week. I still have bad days and flare ups in my legs however they are getting further apart and my overall fitness and strength is better.  The great thing is Nathan and Elley are experienced enough to change our sessions depending on how I'm feeling. Thanks to the No Regrets team I now feel confident to do some of the things I used to enjoy like playing golf, fishing and working ( sad I know.. I used to enjoy work). Most importantly I am able to play with my kids and my outlook for dealing with my injuries is much more positive. Thanks again." - Brad Sisson

What We Did To Help Him:

 

Brad's plan was very difficult and is still a work in progress, as although he is much better than when we first saw him he still regresses back to pain from time to time and there is a few movements we have yet to conquer! But just to show you how different each case of back pain can be and why you can never follow a "cookie cutter" program but use tests and assessments to guide you. Anyway here is in order of what we did and what we found were the most important pieces of the puzzle.

#1: Flexibility

In particular his HIPS and his THORACIC spine were so locked up that it was impossible for Brad to move efficiently and he was always only one slight movement away from pain. We had to try many different approaches to improve and weaken these dominating areas so that the movements we wanted to use to strengthen the weak areas had a chance of working. This was to be the foundation of things to come moving forward and makes up the BIGGEST part of his training still today. When he is at his best, his flexibility is not compromised and as a result he moves very well.

#2, 3: Stability & Glute Activation

Brad was very unstable in the beginning. Even standing in a split stance for a lunge was very challenging for him. His lack of glute activation, yet alone strength was very noticeable. We had to introduce exercises such as the horsestance and the clam to develop these skills in combination with postural awareness and the stretching program we had in place. After a few weeks we were able to move to the next stage which involved standing up and it was in this next stage that we found the "real secret" to the success of his program.

#4, 5: Lunges & Rotation

Once we were able to improve Brad's basic level of glute strength and stability we had to find a way to improve his standing skills. We had been working on these in a very low level intensity from week one however it was not the major focus until we determined he was ready to be challenged with these movements. We knew that people with tight hips find lunges very difficult as it requires a lot of flexibility, and people with tight thoracic find twisting difficult for the same reason. If however you can find a way to do these correctly you will be well on the way to making their problems disappear. We also knew that BENDING was going to be the most risky and potentially dangerous movement and decided to build some strength and reserve with these movements first before taking this one on. And as I said earlier, it was in this stage we made real progress. As Brad began to develop skills and strength with integrated lunges and rotation movements his pain started to lessen off and his overall function outside the gym became much easier. We still needed to find a way to take on the gorilla which was bending and this led us to the next key exercise which he uses now as a home workout to keep things in check.

#6: Single Leg Deadlift

This complex exercise allowed us to do 2 things. Firstly build some incredible glute strength, but more importantly be able to teach him the bending movement and how to use his hips as opposed to bending his spine. For all 3 cases this particular exercise was key. But out of the three Brad found this to be his most important exercise other than the stretches. Click here to see a video of how to do the single leg deadlift.

 

Case Study Two: Laura

Injury:

Herniated Disc causing temporary paralysis in her legs

Her story:

On November 29th 2014 my entire world came crashing down, I tried to get out of bed, after going to sleep with a slight pain in my back and woke up, unable to walk. I was convinced I was paralysed, no matter how much I tried, I could not put one foot, in front of the other. My fiancé tried to pick me up, to take me down the stairs but it hurt to be touched. The tears rolled down my face, not so much for the pain, but more because I had no idea if I would ever walk again. Using the hand-rails on the stairs, I lowered myself onto each step, it took me about 10 minutes to go down 15 steps. It then took another 20minutes for me to shuffle myself 5 meters to the car, grasping my fiancé for support because I felt that my legs would give way any second. We went to the emergency department and I was told there may be some kind of nerve damage. An MRI confirmed that I had a bulged disc in my lumbar spine that was pushing on the nerves and as a result I was in a lot of pain and had reduced feeling in my foot- the pins and needles drove me insane!

The doctor said I couldn’t exercise and that I may need surgery to ‘cut out’ the bulge! I was told it would never go away, and I may always be in pain. At 23 that’s the last thing I wanted to hear. The next two months were agonising, I couldn’t do any of the things I had always taken for granted, I needed help to get dressed, to get in and out of bed, I couldn’t sleep properly because every time I moved it felt like a knife was being stabbed in my back. I couldn’t sit and have a meal with my family, and standing was limited to just a few minutes. It was like a game of Simon-Says with my back being Simon, an evil dictator that ruled my life! I consider myself to be a very independent person, the fact that I now had to rely on everyone around to do everything for me was devastating.

In February 2015 I decided that I would not let Simon (my back) win. My Mum had to drive me to my first session at No Regrets, as I still couldn’t drive properly. I was excited that I was back in a ‘gym’ environment, but scared at the same time, especially when I saw the stairs! I managed to hobble up the stairs using the trusty rail for support, I sat, rather awkwardly, for a bit, and then had to stand. Although my pain was taking up most of my thoughts, I managed to take in what Nick was saying. His extensive knowledge was amazing, and very reassuring. That day I also met Nathan,  I don’t think I would be where I am today is it wasn’t for him! That day I also learned I didn’t know how to breathe, who would have thought! The fist few sessions were slow, Nathan taught me how to breath properly using my diaphragm, and slowly began some easy exercises- I didn’t like the baby weights, but that’s all I could use! Two months in, I felt less pain, I could now bend over without any problems, and I wasn’t scared of stairs anymore. Nathan was very cautious, and still today, asks if I feel any pain; but at the same time he knew how much I longed to get back to my big girl weights! Six months later, my sessions at No Regrets are the highlight of my day. I went from not being able to pick up a pen on the floor, to being able to dead- lift 75Kgs, without a problem. Six months ago It took me 15minutes to get down my stairs, today I climbed the No Regrets stairs- two at a time with a 10kg vest on, holding two 8kg kettle bells- that’s 26kgs of extra weight I had to haul up the stairs- but I did it!

Six months ago I couldn’t walk, now Nathan makes me run over 800 meters- I don’t like running so I pray for rain, but at least now I CAN DO IT!

Sometimes I find it hard to believe, how I was six months ago and how I am now. If someone back then, said that in six months I would be even stronger then what I was before the injury, I would have laughed in their face, said it was impossible!

But instead here I am! Lifting heavier weights every sessions, and becoming fitter than I have ever been before. So stuff you Simon- I WIN! I could not have done any of this without the help of the entire team at No Regrets. I know I can never repay them for giving me back my life, but I will endeavor to continue to be stronger, and work harder, as a reflection of everything they do. THANK-YOU, YOU REALLY DID CHANGE MY LIFE!" - Laura Cannistra

What we did to help her:

 

Now you will notice that Laura has many different exercises to what Brad had! You will notice that there is no stretches here! That is because on our assessment we could hardly find a tight muscle in Laura's body! Whereas Brad was stiff as cement, Laura was the opposite. Everything that we used with Brad in the early stages would be completely useless to Laura, if anything they would possibly make her worse! What we did find though was we could progress to much more difficult exercises sooner.

#1,2 Stability Focus

The first few weeks we had to spend some considerable time teaching Laura breathing methods and core conditioning techniques. I must admit she was a great student and picked this up quickly. I think many of her problems may have been created from poor knowledge and training habits, so once she was shown the correct technique she was able to make quick inroads.

#3,4 Balance & Glute Strength

As with Brad and almost every single injury there was considerable glute weakness and dysfunction. Her balance was also really challenging early so we spent a few weeks in combination with the basic core conditioning exercises to build her body up for the next stage of integrated movement skills.

#5,6,7 Integrated Strength

This phase is where Laura excelled. Actually so much that we would now rate her as one of the strongest females in our studio! Her favorite exercise by the way is the DEADLIFT! This is the exercise that is most likely to ruin her if done incorrectly. She is now able to pick up 80kg from the floor with no hesitation. The picture above of her she is doing this exercise. But it wasn't just the deadlift we needed to work on we had to improve her coordination in particular with movements using opposite arm and leg. Within a few months of gradual progression she was at a point where we tested her with more challenges. Out of the 3 case studies Laura was the only one able to get to this next phase, POWER!

#8 Power

As she mentioned in her story Laura was able to start walking up stairs with weights, and even run up hills. To get to this phase in your training means you must learn how to move FAST! Most of the exercises up to this point we focus on slow and careful technique, but with power it is all about moving quickly. This phase possesses more risk than strength, so careful choice of exercise and monitoring of quality movement is essential. Again with time she was able to build on her movement skills, develop her strength more and more and get to a point now where she is mainly doing fitness sessions and not rehab. A great story of what can be done with well designed programs.

Case Study Three: Georgie

Injury:

Herniated Disc with referral to shoulder and neck

Her Story:

"For the past 10 years pain has been a constant in my life. I ended up having 2 surgeries for a bulged disk in 2006 and have never really recovered. The surgeon referred me to a physio who I saw twice a week and they also had me doing one-on-one Feldenkrais to learn how to move correctly again. I did EVERYTHING they told me to. After a year I was still in a lot of pain so I went back to the surgeon. He did another scan and confirmed there was no longer a bulge, and said ‘give it another year’. Easy for him to say!

Over the following 8 years, across different countries, I’ve seen at least 10 different physios, ~2 osteos, ~5 remedial massage therapists, ~2 myotherapists, ~3 acupuncturists, ~2 personal trainers, an exercise physiologists, one-one-one clinical Pilates with multiple physios, a swim trainer and 2 podiatrists. Well that’s what I remember - I could have paid off my house by now! Last year I decided my twice weekly Pilates wasn’t building my strength, and it was also aggravating my shoulder and wrists. I knew it was related to bad habits picked up from ‘protecting’ my back, but no one could really diagnose it. Late last year I saw a new sports doctor, who after finding out I was recently pregnant told me that he ‘couldn’t really help since I couldn’t have an injection, so I should plan to leave work early as I was highly likely to struggle, and well good luck with the feeding because that’s going to be tough’. After working so hard for so long I felt like I had failed. As it turned out I had a miscarriage, so I decided to suck it up and go back for the injection – my last resort. The scans and injection cost close to $2k, and it didn’t work at all. He didn’t have much to say to me, so I demanded he refer me to a pain clinic – if they couldn’t fix it, I was going to need a better way to cope with it – enough was enough. Instead he referred me to a rheumatologist, who suggested I immediately cease all Pilates, go back to Feldenkrais and learn meditation. He suggested my problems stemmed from being super tight and ‘strengthening’ just made me tighter. I felt much better initially, but 4 months later I felt worse than I had with the Pilates, I’d lost any strength and momentum I did have, and was just another patient they had forgotten about.

Upon hearing this recent update, a friend who had been seeing Nick for a while recommended I give No Regrets a go so I reluctantly met with Nick one lunchtime. I thought his approach sounded great as it seemed to pull together so many of the various things I’d learnt over the years, and I was keen to give it a go, however I was completely reluctant to commit as I had been through this so many times in the past 8 years – throwing a lot of money into a different approaches – only to be the one who gets screwed in the long run when the trainer/physio/specialist etc. get very little results and basically gives up, but continues to take my money until I eventually get handed over to someone new, and the cycle continues…

But I did really like that Nick took learnings from so many different approaches and I felt that maybe he would just pull all the different bits from all the different therapies and put them into something that worked precisely for ME. I am only 33, and I simply felt like I shouldn’t have to settle for where I was at – yes I was ‘functional’ and working full time again, but every decision and plan in my life was made with pain management in mind.

I’ve now been seeing Nick twice a week for three months. Right from the start he has identified poor movement patterns that I’ve always felt weren’t right but no-one ever listened or taught me HOW to correct it. He is great at explaining why we do movements or exercises a certain way and identifying the specific trouble spots that I have, allowing me to be much more aware of how I move both in and out of the gym. Particularly the way he structures workouts around the relationship between stretching and strengthening makes so much sense. Much of what he says is bits and pieces of what I’ve heard before but finally packaged into a training session that works for ME and doesn’t aggravate my various complaints. He’s also very flexible and will change his workout plan to suit how I’m feeling that day which means I never feel pressured. I’ve learned that I still hold a lot of fear with my movements but I know I can be honest with Nick and he makes sure I feel supported physically and emotionally. Whilst I get the muscle soreness that you get from a good workout, my body has quickly adapted and I’m yet to have any major ‘set backs’ like I’ve always encountered with other therapies/trainers.

My employer recently offered me a job closer to home, a dream given driving aggravates my sciatica. After much thought I accepted the position on the condition that I could continue to work from Nunawading once a week so I could continue my training. That’s how committed I now am to working with Nick! I never thought it would be an overnight cure, and Nick is very honest and upfront about the work you need to do and time it takes to make permanent corrections, but I have genuinely seen more improvement in the past 3 months than I have in the past 6 years! Obviously it’s still early days, but for the first time in a long time I feel like I’m making consistent improvements and am on absolutely the right track." - Georgie McIntosh

What We Did To Help Her:

 

Georgie was different again! I bet you are surprised to hear that? Well she was similar to Laura in that she was extremely flexible so stretches were again going to be a waste of time. And it is funny that many of the therapists and the treatments she had received up to the point of meeting me were all trying to do one thing, LOOSEN her up. Some of the therapists told her she was too tight! Yet I could not find one stretch that was even a tiny bit tight! When I first met Georgie I was not even sure myself that we could help her after she gave me the rundown of what she had tried. Yet I applied what I knew, which was to test her and let the tests guide me on what to do. And this is what I found.

#1,2 Rotation Was Key

As mentioned already stretching was going to be a waste of time for Georgie. And so was core conditioning. Unlike Laura, Georgie was able to execute many of the basic core exercises easily, possibly from her Pilates training. There was no need for me to do anything here as the tests indicated nothing was wrong! Yet we knew she was in pain and had a real fear of moving in certain ways. I noticed early on how much she moved like a robot. This gave me the idea to teach her how to rotate and use her hips to become mobile as opposed to locked down. Exercise number 2 interestingly enough became one of her key exercises she used all the time and gave her a good sense of mobility. That particular exercise I used mainly with golfers and tennis players to teach them hip drive. Hip drive is essential for sports performance generating power for the golf stroke or tennis shot. But I used  the concept of what was need to improve her hip mobility and it worked!

#3,4 Glute Strength In Standing Position

As with the other two case studies she lacked considerable glute strength. Strength in general, Georgie was the weakest of the 3. However after some time her legs became much stronger but more importantly her movement skills were almost automatic perfect. The fear of moving in certain ways was no longer apparent, but like Brad the Deadlift was going to be our biggest concern.

#5,6,7 Bending

We tried this several times with no success and had to keep going back to what worked until one day it just clicked and come together. I wish I could tell what it was, but it was just one of those things that Georgie was able to teach herself. Maybe the cues that I gave her, but whatever it was we were able to get to a point where she could lift 30-40kg barbell off blocks using perfect deadlift form. Unfortunately we were unable to continue building her strength as Georgie managed to become pregnant and also had to move further away from our training studio. One of her goals when she met me was to have confidence to get pregnant and have no fear with hurting her back. She wanted to be able to lift her baby up off the floor without ending up paralyzed. So for us to get her to this point was a huge success! After 6 years of not knowing if this was possible and being told to get pain counseling this was great news. So while we never got to finish her training like we did with Laura we still changed Georgie forever. I still talk with her now and then and she still uses many of the key exercises we taught her and now has 2 kids!

The Similar Solution To All 3 Cases Is?

Do you know what that is? Well there is one factor that stands out above all the others, and that is - learning quality Movement skills! Sure we needed to improve flexibility with Brad, and at times all 3 of them struggled with basic stability and core conditioning at times, but with all 3 cases there was significant problems with basic movement patterns of bending, lunging and squatting. Until they were taught how to move correctly and given enough time to do this until it became automatic they were never going to make much progress. Remember I said earlier that focusing on core muscles with all types of isolated abdominal muscles will not help you, well this is why. Read our articles on Movement Skills for more information on this topic.

Out of the 3 cases, Laura made the most improvement, with Brad still struggling to be able to fully complete the bending movement without limitation or pain. And out of the three Brad is left with the most significant nerve damage and also tested much tighter on all the stretch assessments. The two girls on the other hand did not need stretches much at all! Which brings me to my second common theme to all 3. We had to assess each case with a detailed assessment before deciding what to do. Adhering to the success formula is key here.

Early in Georgie’s assessment I had a feeling as to why all her previous treatments failed because on all of our stretch assessments she was abnormally good! Too flexible. All of her treatments up to her coming to see me involved trying to loosen tight muscles. Yet on our very, very simple stretch assessment I could not find one single joint that showed a flexibility imbalance! We see this more and more these days, which is why a thorough flexibility assessment is needed to ensure you don't assume.

Laura was very similar but not quite to the level of Georgie.

I knew that the answers to the girls problems, and also Brad after we put our stretching program in place was going to be to find a way to make them more stable and strong especially with the legs. Lastly I needed to find a way to use this new strength within integrated movement patterns such as squats, lunges, single leg stance most importantly with bending.

Which brings me to the next common point.

The Movement That Is Likely To Hurt Them Is The One We Do The Most!

We had to go towards the movement that was most likely to hurt them and do this over and over and over until they could complete it perfectly! In all three cases the Deadlift or Bending movement would be the risky one. As I said Brad is not quite there yet, but his improvement across many other patterns is incredible. Another area where most treatments and therapies get it disastrously wrong by saying to the client, “never do this movement or exercise again”.

The fear of hurting themselves again already creates a compensatory movement, now with this advice from a medical expert starts to set the wheels in motion of a chain reaction of more problems. A movement like bending, squatting or lunging is a movement we need to simply live! It is not a gym exercise, it is how we move as humans to do things like pick up our shopping, walk up stairs, get in and out of a chair, even be able to get up off the floor! If you lose these skills you now have to use a new way to do things. This new way is the fast way to serious injury!

The last common factor was they all needed to stick to the plan for a long time, and remain consistent with their training for their program to take effect. There is no magic fix which is what the surgery approach offers to people. Staying patient and not trying to rush the process is very important to ensure we prevent further compensation and quality of movement.

Conclusion

As Brad said in his story we had to use a holistic approach, which included nutrition and recovery strategies to enhance the healing process. Far too many approaches to these conditions are ignorant to all of the contributing factors and just look at the area in pain. I hope this article proves to you that there is a better way, using an intelligent strategy of defining what to do and taking your time to implement your plan. Staying consistent and sticking to the plan is a much better idea than risking surgery that comes with side effects and potentially could leave you in more trouble than you started. Always exhaust the simplest things first and then if all else fails resort to surgery and medical intervention.

Again if you would like to know more about how to put a program together either contact us by filling in the form below or get yourself a copy of our detailed program below by clicking here