Thursday, August 19, 2010

Back Pain

A really good article from on Back Pain

Whether you are an elite athlete, a weekend warrior, or a regular exerciser, you can be almost certain of three things regarding back pain: 1) Sooner or later, you will have it. 2) Most of the time, the pain will be in the lower back. 3) With or without treatment, it will get better.

Apart from those three near-truths, things get a lot more complicated. The muscles, bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, and disks of the back all have to work together in perfect harmony to avoid injuries. Even when all the parts work well, some back injuries are simply unavoidable. Athletes accept the risk of back injuries when they decide to play a sport or exercise regularly, vigorously or over a long period of time.

Among a variety of possible back injuries and back conditions, the University of Maryland Spine Program has identified the four most common injuries and conditions likely to affect athletes:

Back strain
Herniated disk
The causes, symptoms, and treatment may be slightly different, so it would be a mistake to consider all low back problems as a single condition with exactly the same cause, treatment or prevention strategy
Nevertheless, there are some common denominators when it comes to lower back pain caused by strains, and those factors will be discussed in this report.

How It Happens
Because of the complexity of the structures in the back, there is no single mechanism that accounts for lower back injuries and pain. But back strains—tears in tendons or ligaments—are among the most common sports injuries. They occur after sudden or awkward movements, when lifting or moving a heavy object (like an opposing lineman) or when absorbing a blow from another athlete. Sometimes back strains are triggered by seemingly harmless movements, such as bending over to tie a shoe, picking up a child or reaching up to get something out of a cabinet.

Structural problems may also cause lower back pain and may accompany strains. A bulging disk (the soft material between vertebrae) may press against a nerve. If it presses against the nerve that extends downward through the leg, it can cause a shooting pain called sciatica that affects the buttocks and the back of the leg. Skeletal irregularities such as scoliosis—a side-to-side deviation of the spinal column—can cause pain in the upper, mid or lower back. And the lower back is one of the most frequent areas affected by osteoarthritis.

By the Numbers
Back pain is the number two reason (behind colds and the flu) that Americans seek medical attention.

Estimated percentage of all sports injuries related to the lower (lumbar) spine.

Percentage of the population that will have lower back pain at some point in their lives.

Percentage of lower back pain that will improve with or without medical attention.

Who’s At Risk
Any athlete who places stress on the spine is vulnerable to a back strain. Weight lifters and field event athletes such as discus, javelin and shot throwers/putters are the most obvious examples, but lower back strains are often reported in skiers, runners, golfers, skaters and lacrosse, basketball, football and tennis players.

Pain in the lower back
Lower back muscle spasms
See a doctor immediately if the pain is intense, spreads down one or both legs, causes weakness or numbness, or follows a fall or a blow to your back.

Initial Treatment
Rest your back for 24-48 hours, but do not stay completely immobile; limited, mild movement is better than bed rest.
Apply ice packs for 15-20 minutes, 3-4 times a day for the first 48-72 hours.
Apply moist heat after the first 48-72 hours if it makes you more comfortable.
Aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen may relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
If you sleep on your side, place a pillow between your knees.
If you sleep on your back, place a pillow under your knees.
Comeback Strategy
Avoid sitting in one position for long periods of time. Get up and stretch every 20-25 minutes.
Execute each movement required in your sport, gradually increasing the speed of movement, before returning to normal training and competition.
Use a lower back support to keep the pressure distributed evenly on the muscles of the lower back.
Incorporate these prehab exercises into your comeback routine:

Front Pillar Bridge
Lateral Pillar Bridge
Glute Bridge
Hand Walking
½ Kneeling Chop
½ Kneeling Lift
Movement Prep
Incorporate these movement prep exercises into your warm-up routine:

Quadruped Posterior Rocking
Foam Roll (but not directly on the area of a strained muscle)
Quadruped Opposites
How to Avoid It
When lifting heavy objects, keep your back as straight as possible and use your legs. Do not bend at the waist.
Avoid slouching when sitting.
Use a lower back support to keep the pressure distributed evenly on the muscles of the lower back.
Do not increase exercise intensity, frequency or duration more than 10 percent a week.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Shin Splints...the Cause of and Potential Solution to...

I ran across an article on regarding shin splints that I found useful...take a look...

Q - I'm training for a half-marathon and keep getting shin splints. Is there anything I can do to help prevent them? - Linda

A- Poor running mechanics, flat feet, and overuse are the most common causes of shin splints. So to get rid of the pain you feel on the front or inner part of your lower leg, you need to determine what's causing it. Icing, Ibuprofen and massages will provide temporary relief by reducing inflammation, but pain will return without addressing the issues.
If you have tightness in your calf or foot pronation (your arch caves), then an orthotic, or shoe insert, may help in the short term.
Common weaknesses or mobility issues include hip tightness and weak glutes (butt muscles). Adding movements like the mini-band squat and knee hugs to your training sessions will help you maintain proper running technique.
If your hip mobility is good, then you may need to focus on your core stability. Shore up your hips, lower back, and torso with movements like the front and side pillar bridges.
The fastest way to clean up your mechanics and help strengthen your arches: Train barefoot.
Also, your best bet is to see a qualified physical therapist who specializes in sport to identify the cause of your pain.

compliments 8/2/2010

A Study on Sports Drinks as Well as a Recipe...

I noticed an article in an exercise magazine that mentioned homemade sport drink that works as well or better than any commercial drink.The exercise physiologist, Stacy T. Sims, created the formula.

32oz water
1/4c sugar
1/4tsp salt
2 packs of Emergen-C
1/2 pack Kool-Aid (no sugar) for flavor
She and another researcher were consultants to Team Radio Shack on the Tour de France.

If you wish to read some science on hydration and exercise:

Article contributed by Bill, RNA and husband of a fellow RBS' always, these are merely opinions and anecdotes and you should always consult with a health professional before beginning an exercise and/or diet regiment.


Whey Protein

Below is a good article I found on regarding the benefits of whey always, please consult your doctor or health professional before beginning a diet or supplement plan.

Alternative Medicine
Whey Protein for Weight Training?
By , Guide
Updated July 30, 2010 Health's Disease and Condition content is reviewed by our Medical Review Board
A protein complex derived from milk, whey protein is said to offer a range of health benefits. Studies show that whey protein may act as an antioxidant1, fight viruses and bacteria, and keep blood pressure2 in check. What's more, several biological components of whey protein (including immunoglobulins and lactoferrin) appear to stimulate the immune system3. Another supposed health benefit of whey protein is its ability to convert the amino acid cysteine to glutathione (a powerful antioxidant).
Claims for Whey Protein Benefits
Available as a dietary supplement, whey protein is typically touted as a natural remedy for the following conditions:
heart disease5
hepatitis B
In addition, whey protein is said to offer several benefits related to sports performance6.
The Science Behind Whey's Health Benefits
To date, there is limited scientific support for whey protein's health benefits. Here's a look at several key study findings:
1) Whey Protein and Heart Health
Whey protein may help lower blood pressure, LDL ("bad") cholesterol, and C-reactive protein (a marker of inflammation7), according to a 2006 study of 30 people with high or slightly elevated blood pressure. For six weeks, study members received 20 grams of whey protein per day.
In a 2010 study of 20 overweight or obese postmenopausal women, researchers found that a single dose of whey protein significantly lowered levels of blood sugar and triglycerides (blood fats known to raise risk of heart disease when present at elevated levels).
2) Whey Protein and Exercise Training
In a research review published in 2008, investigators found that taking whey protein supplements may help enhance the effects of strength-training exercises. The review also found that whey protein supplementation may help individuals maintain muscle mass as they age, possibly due to its high content of muscle-building amino acids.
3) Whey Protein and Bone Health
Preliminary findings from animal research and test-tube studies suggest that whey protein may help promote bone formation and protect against bone loss-related conditions like osteoporosis and osteopenia8. However, whey protein's effects on bone health have yet to be tested in clinical trials.
Should You Use Whey Protein?
Due to the lack of science behind whey protein's health effects, whey protein cannot be recommended for the treatment or prevention of any health condition. If you're considering the use of whey protein, talk to your doctor before starting your supplement regimen.
Hayes A, Cribb PJ. "Effect of whey protein isolate on strength, body composition and muscle hypertrophy during resistance training." Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2008 11(1):40-4.
Kumegawa M. "Prevention of osteoporosis by foods and dietary supplements. Bone reinforcement factor in milk: milk basic protein (MBP)." Clin Calcium. 2006 16(10):1624-31.
Kruger MC, Plimmer GG, Schollum LM, Haggarty N, Ram S, Palmano K. "The effect of whey acidic protein fractions on bone loss in the ovariectomised rat." Br J Nutr. 2005 94(2):244-52.
Marshall K. "Therapeutic applications of whey protein." Altern Med Rev. 2004 9(2):136-56.
Pal S, Ellis V, Ho S. "Acute effects of whey protein isolate on cardiovascular risk factors in overweight, post-menopausal women." Atherosclerosis. 2010 May 31.
Pins JJ, Keenan JM. "Effects of whey peptides on cardiovascular disease risk factors." J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich). 2006 8(11):775-82.
This page has been optimized for print. To view this page in its original form, please visit:
©2010, Inc., a part of The New York Times Company. All rights reserved.