BaguaKicksAss

Strong core muscles help back pain, and reduce the chance of injuries

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Is what my chiropractor told me today :). This is what he says as to why mine doesn't get all that bad usually, considering. I had no idea. I thought it was only the awesome pretzleness of Bagua. He sai that definitely helps as well.

 

So everyone with bad backs, take up Bagua :D, as it REALLY helps build core strength (guess where we move from all the time?)

 

Oh alright, there's probably some other ways to increase core strength as well...

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I feel like I recently heard some rant against this statement, and that it's typical of the western medical system that only tends to pay attention to muscular strength and development, and somewhat ignores the complex system of soft tissue, fascia, ligaments, and skeletal structure that also contributes to the human movement system and can contribute to or alleviate pain, of which back pain is just one subset.

 

But I don't remember the exact details.

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I feel like I recently heard some rant against this statement, and that it's typical of the western medical system that only tends to pay attention to muscular strength and development, and somewhat ignores the complex system of soft tissue, fascia, ligaments, and skeletal structure that also contributes to the human movement system and can contribute to or alleviate pain, of which back pain is just one subset.

 

But I don't remember the exact details.

 

About the skeletal system, I'm a huge proponent of muscle energy technique instead of chiropractic. Why? Because in chiropractic, you pop a bone into alignment but what happens later? It goes back out of place and you have to go back to the chiro and get another adjustment. Why does it go back out of place? It's pulled that way due to how the body is. Why do you go back to the chiro? Because that's how they earn $.

 

MET on the other hand resets the muscle spindles, so that the muscle holding the bone out of alignment is taken out of chronic strain and back into function (by simply activating it, or causing a very small contraction)...then the alignment occurs naturally as a result of the muscle being normalized, and the skeletal alignment is permanent in most cases.

 

(one might wonder how muscles stay chronically contracted when we're moving all of the time...well in my opinion, we don't move in the precise way which activates those particular muscles. They aren't very natural motions. If we did for some reason, the muscles would probably reset without any need of therapy.)

 

Another method that works along similar lines is positional release therapy. In that method, they basically shorten the correct contracted muscle and keep it there by use of an effortless posture (where that muscle is doing literally no work), which causes the spindles to reset. This method also involves a whole body approach to be most effective, not just working on one muscle but correcting all of the problematic ones.

 

The trick to these methods is finding the exact muscle for that bony structure, the exact direction and action of movement to active or shorten it, the exact pressure, etc. It's important to find someone who is kind of an expert in these things, like a DPT or D.O. who specializes in them and does them often. No one thinks to go to these types for getting their back aligned, they think of chiros, but these are the absolute best choice if they specialize in this stuff.

 

Another problem with chiropractic...the upper cervical methods have caused quite a few deaths due to blocking the vertebral arteries.

 

...more about the core, which coincides with having good posture: it's highly important to have the pelvis aligned (ASIS should be close to equal horizontal level to PSIS, and should be equal on the vertical line to the pubic symphysis)...lots of people have "lower crossed syndrome", where the asis is lower than the psis, and the pubic symphysis is lower than the asis...which is basically caused by inactive and chronically strained and shortened iliopsoas. Other muscles can come into play. Once this foundation of alignment and good posture is in place, then aligning the pelvic landmarks horizontally works best (for instance, the left asis should be aligned with the right asis, the left ishcial tuberosity should be equal to the right) which is done through muscle energy technique, by a physical therapist or something. Myofascial work would be okay alongside or after getting the bones of the pelvis good...but it's likely not going to accomplish everything...and the skeleton being aligned will naturally fix the fascia. Fascia when stretched for over a couple of minutes turns liquid, so if the skeleton is suddenly normalized, within a few minutes the fascia will have readjusted for the most part...especially if you do other posture work.

 

...oh and about core exercises, here are some interesting things to consider.

Edited by Aetherous
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Why does it go back out? Well usually it involves class, and sparring, and wrenching something out of place and a pinched nerve, and such.... lolol.

 

Fortunately I haven't had the go back out of place problem... must be the Bagua I figure :D.

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Yes the real deal for anything is hard to find.

 

Look for more depth than forms, careful of the word "wushu" heh.

 

If they have some ligament stretching warmups, attend every single class and never quit :).

 

I don't know of any Bagua people from your actual location though unfortunately... If you are OK with posting your location some local to you Bagua people might give suggestions. Also if you paste the local teacher's websites here, some Bagua folks could have a look and give an opinion ;).

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For those suffering from chronic musculoskeletal pain you may enjoy reading Tom Myers Anatomy Trains I found it quite helpful in understanding how the fascial web of our bodies can relate to the Chinese meridian map. Also, if your chiropractor offers Active Release Technique I highly recommend it, if not, you may want to find one that does. Just be aware that you will probably experience massive shifts within the tensegrity structure of your body after ART so it can really screw your energy or martial practices up for a little bit until you're used to the new tension equilibrium.

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I'm not sure what he does exactly. Most chiropractors don't work for me, but a fellow seasoned martial artist recommended this one, and it works amazingly well. The rest I tried over the years all sucked for me in particular. I'm not so sure what is up with that. I only tend to go in after I've ended up with something pulled or an injury from the martial arts training though. Anything else I just do more Bagua heh. He does some pressure stuff, a bit of massage stuff, then the standard crack once or twice stuff. Also some stretch stuff today.

 

The TCM massage folks also do great chiropractic even though technically they aren't supposed to and such, it tends to work very well.

 

Acupuncture is also awesome. I used to have a lot of back pain from car accidents... acupuncture was the only thing that ever worked, until I started Bagua that is (though the first few months was torture while redoing my back heh).

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"No doctor, massage therapist or physical therapist can release your back muscles for you; you must do it for yourself."

Martha Peterson

 

In my opinion, the above statement is true but misleading. Massage therapists don't release back muscles or anything else; they facilitate awareness. At least the good ones do. Once the client has more consciousness of the area in question they can go ahead and let go of their own tension easily.

 

(I think the same thing, incidentlly, about psychotherapists. They don't release emotional pain, you have to do that yourself. What they do is facilitate awareness-- which is no small potatoes. A person can probably release trauma, physical or psychological, without going to any kind of therapy whatsoever. Why try though? It's so so helpful to have the support of an outside person gently pressing on the numbed out place, saying "hey look, isn't this interesting--do you feel this?")

Edited by liminal_luke
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Nice topic for me as I am presently working with this.

 

I am an older person so I am going to have back pain. I haven't injured my back but it has been through a lot and most mornings it take about two hours before I am walking upright without any back pain.

 

The exercise session I am currently in consists of one day with the dead weights, next day with the Tai Chi and other stretching, coordinating & flexibility exercises, and the next day rest.

 

I may one day soon buy one of those Teeter machines because I seriously believe it would help me.

 

Also, in another thread, I forget the opening poster, he spoke of sleeping with sandbags. One of the things I do is put a pillow under my butt on my workout bench and lay down. This helps to reduce the "sway-back" of my lower spine. When I do this it initially hurts because it is stretching muscles and ligaments that normally don't get stretched that way. After doing this I feel so much better when walking and I walk much more upright.

 

The back is one of the easiest parts of our body we can damage and in many cases the damage is unrepairable, even with invasive surgery.

 

Bottom line, take care of your back!

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Zhan zhuang has done wonders for my lower back.

I've even become taller. And I carry old ladies across the street.

And proud warriors to battle.

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Zhan zhuang has done wonders for my lower back.

I've even become taller. And I carry old ladies across the street.

And proud warriors to battle.

Okay, funny about carrying proud warriors to battle.

 

But serious, glad your practices have helped your back. And it is true, when our spine (again) becomes straight we will indeed be taller.

 

I looked around my small town yesterday for someone who has an inversion table (Teeter) so I could check how I felt using one but only one store had one and their insurance policy would not allow customers to get into it.

 

I guess I'll just have to buy one and hope for the best.

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After thinking about this, I'm going to keep training Tomiki Aikido - I'm lucky enough to have some excellent teachers very close by, and I've realized how much my whole life has improved since beginning at this Dojo...I'll keep looking into cross-training/keep doing what I do by myself, but I'd be passing up on some very good training if I left. Thanks though!

 

Oh if there is a good school nearby, definitely train as much as you can with them :). Sometimes these opportunities don't last forever, so get it while you can.

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TS if you're going to stick to aiki arts I recommend you try to get some seminars in with Ellis Amdur, Howard Popkin, and most of all Dan Harden.

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A lot of back pain comes from being too short/tight in front. Overly tight rectus abdominus (RA) and obliques crank the ribcage down in front and then the back and neck muscles have to work harder to keep you upright. Then those muscles are tight all the time and it doesn't take much to take them over the edge. Shortened serratus anterior and hamstring muscles also contribute. So those are the muscles to lengthen and loosen. It's difficult to strengthen a muscle when its antagonist (the ones that do the opposite action) is tight. So you have to stretch the short ones mentioned above before you can effectively strengthen the back muscles.

Referral zones from trigger points in the rectus abdominus (aka six pack) muscles go all the way across the upper and lower back!

 

A ball park guide to how far your rib cage has dropped: turn sideways to a mirror, and put one index finger on your throat at the depression at the very top of the sternum (sternal notch). Put the other finger on your first thoracic vertebra in back (the first one that doesn't turn when you turn your head from side to side). Your two fingers should be close to level, an inch drop at the most. Most of us are 2 or 3 inches dropped in front, all due to tight abdominals! Crunches and sit ups make this WORSE!

 

The "core" muscle you really want to activate/strengthen is the transverse abdominus (TA). Problem is there is no overt exercise (that I know of, but maybe nauli does it)) that strengthens it, and the exercises are very internal and subtle, so hard to explain. You want to strengthen it because, unlike the RA and the obliques, which pull down on the ribcage, the TA wraps around your lower gut, working through hydraulics, squeezing the fluids in, lifting and supporting your rib cage! When the TA is stong and toned, you stand up straight effortlessly! Your gut disappears! Your back muscles heave a sigh of relief!

 

You can get a feel for what this is like by standing up straight and stretching both hands up over your head. Then hold that posture, while letting your arms come down to your sides. That's what it feels like, effortless buoyancy!

 

The TA attaches all along the lower back, so when it has more tone, your lower back is also supported. If someone gives you an exercise for the TA and you do it but find you can't breathe freely while you hold a contraction, then you have contracted the RA and obliques, not what you're looking for. It's a tricky thing. I can try to describe one of the effective exercises if anyone is interested...

 

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The "core" muscle you really want to activate/strengthen is the transverse abdominus (TA). Problem is there is no overt exercise (that I know of, but maybe nauli does it)) that strengthens it

 

It does, as does just a regular "stomach vacuum"...and even exercises like planks get it working.

 

Something kind of counter-intuitive is that the TA doesn't only strengthen by sucking the gut in...it also strengthens by pressing the gut out against something...so for weightlifters, using a belt during lifts will help strengthen the TA.

 

Basically the TA always activates in order to maintain the entire abdominal cavity as one coordinating unit...so if you train in counter-flexion, counter-extension, counter-rotation, counter-lateral-flexion...you will be training the TA in a very functional way.

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Hi RV,

Extending the exhale is a great method for increasing your carbon dioxide capacity, which will also increase oxygen usability, but I don't think it would necessarily elongate the TA. The TA is kind of like a girdle, so you actually want to shorten it, ie tighter girdle. If you were able to isolate the TA and use it to extend the exhale, then that would probably tone it more, but you would have to make sure you weren't using the RA and obliques to do it. Extend the exhale keeping your rib cage lifted and without caving forward...Interesting experiment.

 

 

 

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A lot of back pain comes from being too short/tight in front. Overly tight rectus abdominus (RA) and obliques crank the ribcage down in front and then the back and neck muscles have to work harder to keep you upright. Then those muscles are tight all the time and it doesn't take much to take them over the edge. Shortened serratus anterior and hamstring muscles also contribute. So those are the muscles to lengthen and loosen. It's difficult to strengthen a muscle when its antagonist (the ones that do the opposite action) is tight. So you have to stretch the short ones mentioned above before you can effectively strengthen the back muscles.

Referral zones from trigger points in the rectus abdominus (aka six pack) muscles go all the way across the upper and lower back!

 

A ball park guide to how far your rib cage has dropped: turn sideways to a mirror, and put one index finger on your throat at the depression at the very top of the sternum (sternal notch). Put the other finger on your first thoracic vertebra in back (the first one that doesn't turn when you turn your head from side to side). Your two fingers should be close to level, an inch drop at the most. Most of us are 2 or 3 inches dropped in front, all due to tight abdominals! Crunches and sit ups make this WORSE!

 

The "core" muscle you really want to activate/strengthen is the transverse abdominus (TA). Problem is there is no overt exercise (that I know of, but maybe nauli does it)) that strengthens it, and the exercises are very internal and subtle, so hard to explain. You want to strengthen it because, unlike the RA and the obliques, which pull down on the ribcage, the TA wraps around your lower gut, working through hydraulics, squeezing the fluids in, lifting and supporting your rib cage! When the TA is stong and toned, you stand up straight effortlessly! Your gut disappears! Your back muscles heave a sigh of relief!

 

You can get a feel for what this is like by standing up straight and stretching both hands up over your head. Then hold that posture, while letting your arms come down to your sides. That's what it feels like, effortless buoyancy!

 

The TA attaches all along the lower back, so when it has more tone, your lower back is also supported. If someone gives you an exercise for the TA and you do it but find you can't breathe freely while you hold a contraction, then you have contracted the RA and obliques, not what you're looking for. It's a tricky thing. I can try to describe one of the effective exercises if anyone is interested...

Oh I think I need this exercise pretty much.

(No back pain because of disolving of rotations and folding forward

but pull down ribcage, seriously more than 1 finger)

Actually if the TA is the cause to pull the ribcage down - then logical the ribcage has to be hindered to pull into direction

where it is stretched else the ribcage is pulled to the TA.

Second the chronic contraction of the TA has to be stopped.

Stretching is ok and elongation also stopping it the chronic tension reaction is one of the key.

 

Hmm, I am just thinking loud go ahead Cheya.

Third

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Aye, the TA is definitely my biggest issue, particularly on the left. As I slowly loosen it my ribcage is expanding and my upper back is decompressing.

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