back pain

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Chronic pain: Exercise can bring relief - part 2

personal trainers at work personal training New Orleans

A year and half ago I could not reach up and adjust my rear view mirror without shooting pain. I had trouble reaching out to close the car door. Often just laying in bed was painful. Now I do those things without a care in the world.  Exercise changed things dramatically.   

To avoid chronic pain such as arthritis those afflicted will avoid movements that cause them pain. Eventually that leads to a loss of strength, a decreased range of motion, and more pain – a vicious cycle.   Proper exercise will eliminate the pain, increase strength and range of motion, and create a positive cycle.

The right exercise will have the following components:

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Chronic pain: Exercise can bring relief

personal trainers at work personal training New Orleans

Exercise can be a great way to ease chronic pain. There are risks associated with inactivity and benefits associated with movement.

When you're in pain, exercise is probably the last thing on your mind, but regular exercise can be a versatile weapon in the fight against chronic pain.

When you're inactive, your muscles — including your heart — lose strength and work less efficiently. Your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes increases. Inactivity can increase fatigue, stress and anxiety as well.

"Years ago, people who were in pain were told to rest," says Edward Laskowski, M.D., a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist and co-director of the Sports Medicine Center at Mayo Clinic,
Rochester, Minn. "But now we know the exact opposite is true. When you rest, you become deconditioned — which may actually contribute to chronic pain."

As tough as it may be to start an exercise program, your body will thank you. Exercise can:

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Alleviating back and neck pain

personal trainers at work personal training New Orleans

Mark was plagued by neck and back problems. He had very little range of motion, little strength, and a lot of pain. He ended up having neck surgery, went through physical therapy, and after he was finished he began training at our facility on our MedX rehabilitative exercise equipment.

One of the features of the MedX equipment is that the resistance is provided in an arc. Bow your head and then lift up and look at the ceiling. Your neck follows an arc. The same if you bend over or if you flex the lumbar region. Your body follows an arc.

All barbells and many types of equipment provide linear (straight line) resistance. The MedX low back machine provides resistance in an arc congruent with the arc created by the motion of your back. This makes for a much safer exercise. You don’t have weight bearing down on your back from above, so there is no vertebral compression.

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Memories of a Broken Vertebra

personal trainers at work personal training New Orleans

I was watching Brazil versus Columbia when Brazilian Soccer player Neymar went down. At first I thought, “Oh boy, more flopping”. When they were carrying him off the field I saw the pain he was in, and it did not surprise me to learn that Neymar broke a vertebra. I broke a vertebra in my back 40 years ago.

My recovery was pretty straight forward – rest, pain meds, and a brace. The most difficult for me was sleeping. Sleeping on the floor was my only relief from the pain. I slept on the floor for years after that.

Years later I developed back pain that stayed with me for the better part of two years. Nothing gave me relief. I did everything I could to relieve the pain – new bed, swimming, getting rid of my chair at work, no long trips in the car, and standing instead of sitting during the night school classes I was attending. Exercise seemed to make it worse.

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Living without back pain or living with it

There are many changes that come from exercise - increases in strength, stamina, body leanness, speed, and flexibility – that can be measured. Changes that cannot be accurately measured include the decreased likelihood of injury and the attendant pain and how well you feel. The right exercise can result in an increase in one’s quality of life. In some cases it can be dramatically life changing. As trainers this is the most rewarding result we experience with clients.

One client: “ A year ago at this time I was experiencing frequent bouts of aches and pains in my neck, shoulders, and back. I figured it was just part of growing older. Since I started strength training last January, these problems have gone away. Amazing!”

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Living with pain or living without it

“ A year ago at this time I was experiencing frequent bouts of aches and pains in my neck, shoulders, and back. I figured it was just part of growing older. Since I started strength training last January, these problems have gone away. Amazing!”

This was the experience of Bill Milliken who trains with Timothy, one of our Austin Personal trainers. Carole had a similar experience: “I woke up every day with back pain. Going up and down stairs was painful for me knees. I am now pain-free”.

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Strength training better than aerobics for easing back pain

In a 16 week study using two different modalities to ease back pain one group performed aerobic training such as walking on a treadmill, jogging, and using an elliptical machine and another group exercised used barbells, dumbbells, and other load-bearing exercise equipment. The aerobic group experienced a 12 percent decrease in back pain, while the weight training group experienced a 60 percent decrease in back pain.

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