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Back pain & workouts: how to exercise for a healthier spine

In last week's blog post, I spoke about the four leading causes of back pain. Many times stress through your body can be difficult to control. Maybe you have to sit for work or lift your kids all day. Maybe you're having trouble controlling your emotional stress. Maybe you were in a car accident, and your back is injured. 

 

Today, I want to dive a little deeper into one of those causes of back pain, which CAN be controlled - mechanical stress on the spine with exercise. 

 

Exercise should always build you up, not slowly wear down your joints. We should create strong, resilient bodies to tolerate the less controllable events in our lives. 

 

There's a lot of information in the fitness and physical therapy world about what type of exercise will achieve this. And of course, I have my own opinions that I will share in this article. 

 

I want to say that I've tried and loved just about every type of exercise. I'm not attaching value or meaning...

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The four main causes of back pain

Back pain is complex because your spine is loaded with neuro-sensitive tissues like ligaments, nerves, and muscles that have the primary goal of protecting your spinal cord. But back pain isn’t always due to structural, mechanical damage. 

 

Studies have shown MRI images of people with back pain who have no structural damage, and yet their pain is real. Although back pain often results from structural damage like degeneration or disc herniations, that isn't always the cause of pain. 

 

There are many components that signal pain, and one blog post won't scratch the surface of this topic's complexity. But to simplify it, tissue dysfunction and pain can be boiled down to too much stress without enough recovery. 

 

In order for your body to function well, recover from exercise, build muscle, and be metabolically and emotionally healthy, you have to have a balance between your recovery response, and your stress response. These two systems are called...

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How to solve psoas tightness

Our brains prefer to oversimplify things, and attribute one muscle as our root problem. 

Although it would be easier to blame one muscle for our problems, this is never the case. We are complex system, and the more we can uncover about our body as a system, the better we can treat ourselves. Understanding how our bodies operate is key to feeling freedom and mobility in our joints and giving us the ability to do the things we love without pain.

A popular muscle that tends to get attention is the psoas. Let's discuss what this muscle is, why it gets tight, and how to improve it's function. 

 

What is the psoas? 

 

The psoas is a hip flexor, that also has many other roles. The psoas muscle has two parts:

 1. Psoas major

The psoas major attaches from your lumbar spine (lower back) to your femur (thigh bone). The psoas major is a hip flexor and the connection between your lower body and your trunk.

 2. Psoas minor 

The psoas minor...

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