It's About Time

If you have ever spent more that 5 minutes with me, it is fairly obvious that I love fitness. I have learned so much (sometimes the hard way) in the 30 years that I have been teaching. What better way to share my passion than to start a blog and pass on the information that I share with clients on a day-to-day basis.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Information About Back Pain

Degenerative Disk Disease (DDD) is the most common catch phrase for back pain.  It afflicts many people and can be very painful and frustrating.  It occurs naturally as we age but can be aggravated or induced by trauma, injury, heavy lifting, obesity and heredity.  Nearly everyone experiences some disc degeneration after the age of 40.  Some people may even have some degeneration but don't have any symptoms.  DDD is not actually a disease but a condition where there is a breakdown in the disks.

"Part of the confusion probably comes from the term "degenerative" which implies to most people that the symptoms will get worse with age.  The term applies to the disc degenerating, but does not apply to the symptoms.  While it is true that the disc degeneration is likely to progress over time, the low back pain from degenerative disc disease usually does not get worse and in fact usually gets better over time.  Another source of confusion is probably created by the term "disease", which is actually a misnomer.  Degenerative disc disease is not really a disease at all, but rather a degenerative condition that at times can produce pain from a damaged disc."
Exercise can help prevent, and relieve back pain.  Most people with low back pain reduce their activity to avoid the discomfort and that is very understandable.  Others want to stretch to help relieve the back which may help in some circumstances but  can further traumatize strained muscles.  My solution is to strengthen the muscles that support your spine.  Avoiding movement or holding the back in a fixed position for too long can have an adverse affect on your healing and even cause other compensation issues.  The remedy is to pick the right exercises and strengthen your core.  Exercise in a controlled and progressive environment can help heal the back by bring blood to the injured area.  

Here are some exercises that can help you strengthen your core.

Dead Bug Series-  Lay on floor with feet on the floor, compress abdominal wall then alternate picking up  feet.  Do not let your body shift or  allow your low back lift off the floor as leg lifts up.  Vary timing for more of a challenge

Dead Bug-Start with legs in the air, alternate slowly dropping one leg towards the floor.  Avoid quick movement.  As leg is dropping concentrate on pulling in abdominals to avoid back lifting off the floor. You can also length the leg as it drops down towards the floor for an added challenge.

4-Part back stability series.  Lay on back,  Flex spine and curl up.  Press hands against  legs and  simultaneously pull knees into hands creating an isometric contraction.  Hollow and compress abdominals.  Hold for 15- 30 seconds depending on strength.  If you are straining at your neck, place a pillow under upper back for support.  

Part 2-Same starting position but arms are pulling and legs are pushing away to create the isometric contraction.  Hold  15-30 seconds
Part 3 and 4- Using opposing forces, push with one arm and pull with the other.  Keep shoulders square and  thighs parallel.  Hold on one side for 15-30 seconds and then repeat on other side for the same amount of time.   Thanks to my lovely model Theresa.  She is amazing.  Repeat this series 3 times.  


  1. “My solution is to strengthen the muscles that support your spine. “ – This is the best solution for back pain. Exercising will help you to strengthen the muscles that support your spine. I use an inversion table in my daily exercise, and I was pretty surprised with what I felt. I think my muscles are actually getting stronger and I’m experiencing much less back pain than before. Exercise can be of great help with body pains, just make sure that your routines are checked and approved by a professional fitness instructor or a doctor.

    -- Shaunna Schumacher

    1. Does this inversion table suitable for exercise

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  4. Upper back pain is an agonizing illness that is tough to live with. However, following certain exercises for obtaining respite from upper back pain have proven to be very beneficial.
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