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Old 11-20-2007, 09:34 AM
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Default My friend had debilitating back spasms.

Despite being lean and very fit, she has long had occasional bad muscle spasms in her lower back. Now they come almost daily. She was a wannabe gymnast in her youth and suspects that she caused some damage. She's now near age 52.

I've recommended magnesium citrate, Vit K2-MK7, acupuncture, EFT, Bio-curcumin, and the Sarno book on back pain.



Any suggestions? Do you think magnesium oil/soaks would help?
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Old 11-20-2007, 11:36 AM
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Perhaps that might help, but my husband gets these too. A chiropractor fixes him right up. for him work stress it the causative factor on top of an old injury.
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Old 11-20-2007, 12:43 PM
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Potassium is another commonly-deficient mineral. In rare instances, even calcium can be deficient (depending on one's diet). Emphasizing potassium-rich foods and/or using salt substitutes like Nu-Salt may help her ensure an adequate intake.

This is an instance where I'd consider seeing a chiropractor (even before acupuncture). I'd suggest getting an estimate, before treatment begins, as to how long it's likely to take in order for symptom withdrawal to occur.

IMO, magnesium taurate/taurinate would be the optimal source of magnesium in this instance. Taurine can also help manage such symptoms ... a powerful duo - magnesium and taurine.
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Old 11-20-2007, 02:18 PM
bifrost99 bifrost99 is offline
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Wink Exercise is king!

I'm 51 and had several attacks of back spasms over several years, which I suspect to be from disk protrusion. My most recent attack was just about three months ago. And before that, sometime last April. They occurred a day after I did heavy back workouts.

I learned about the Egoscue method after that April attack and it quickly led to recovery. I was also able to apply it for the most recent attack. Many of the Egoscue exercises are reminiscent of yoga postures. I just borrowed Egoscue books from the library, and there are some sites that discuss or describe it.

Basically, for lower back pain, we must keep the lumbar area (spine between the last rib and tail bone) in forward extension and/or strengthen the muscles that keep them that way. That is, looking at the spine from the left side, the lumbar area must curve like a letter C. You could tell your friend to simply keep (even emphasize) this curvature of the lumbar spine. It could prove to be a quick remedy for her as well, particularly when she's sitting down. I think my recent attacks were from sitting for hours in front of the computer, thus decreasing this lumbar curvature, even putting it into flexion. Now I see to it that my lumbar spine is extended whenever I sit.

I read that inversion works well for several back conditions, but I had no inversion chair/table. I was doing Roman chair sit-ups before and thought that it should serve as inversion of sorts. In retrospect, my attacks always occurred when I was not doing Roman chairs. Now I'm back to doing Roman chair sit-ups daily. Ironically, a lot of exercise recommendations rate Roman chair sit-ups as dangerous to the lower back. Well, tell that to my back. I now think crunches are more dangerous to the back, inducing disk protrusion, though I never did crunches because I preferred full range movements.

I was and am relatively fit as well, though not as lean as I would like to be, so I also found it surprising and frustrating that I would have back pain. Now I see that there are particular exercises (body core) that are needed specifically for the back, such as the "plank" and its variations, "bird dog" and "bridge." Apparently, the "core" is not that well hit by most other exercises. I think the Roman chair sit-up did hit the muscles I needed, though, in addition to providing inversion.

Preventing Back Pain With Exercise

Basic Stabilization Exercises

Inner, Outer, Whole Unit Ab Training -- This page shows the plank and side bridge as well as other exercises for the "core." In particular, the "inner unit" exercises are what would be needed for the lower back.

The way I see it now, the exercises bring our back up to condition, but we must maintain proper posture, particularly while sitting, to keep the toned condition of the lower back muscles. When the muscles do the work, pressure is relieved from the spine, and disks don't protrude.

Just more to consider.

Gerry

Last edited by bifrost99; 11-20-2007 at 02:30 PM.
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Old 11-20-2007, 03:53 PM
Sally B. Sally B. is offline
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Default Yago for back pain!

My husband used to get lower back spasms. Since he has been doing Yoga stretching exercises daily, especially the one where you put both of your legs over your head while laying on the floor with toes touching the ground just beyond your head, he has had no more spasms. Although, if he gets lazy, his back pain returns! He also sees a chiropractor, but even that does not keep him from having back pain if he doesn't do the stretching, too!

Sally B.
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Old 11-20-2007, 04:50 PM
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Thanks everyone. I'll send her the link to this thread.

Gerry, a few months back she was having back spasms and she tried a friend's inversion machine and it seemed to help. She immediately bought her own machine and quickly worked up to 50 situps from the inverted position. Yet she's continuing to have the spasms at an increasing rate.

She's 5'7", 120#. She says that she's shrunk an inch in height. Isn't age 52 pretty young to shrink an inch? Could that be a clue to osteoporosis?
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Old 11-20-2007, 05:32 PM
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Default Keep that lumbar segment arched!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Iggy Dalrymple View Post
Gerry, a few months back she was having back spasms and she tried a friend's inversion machine and it seemed to help. She immediately bought her own machine and quickly worked up to 50 situps from the inverted position. Yet she's continuing to have the spasms at an increasing rate.
I would think doing sit-ups from the inversion table/chair does not put the lumbar spine in extension as much as the Roman chair type does.

Attached are some Egoscue exercises. I forgot the web pages where I got them, but I'm sure they are easy to find. The exercises in pages 2, 3, 4, 7, 8 and 9 (in spite of their indications based on the title) would help the arching/extension of the lumbar spine. When I had my attacks, I would have pain and stiffness for several days. But when I sit, and otherwise move while maintaining (even exaggeratiing) the lumbar arch, the pain would be absent. Your friend might try this concept of keeping the lumbar arch and see if it works for her.

Gerry
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Some Egoscue Exercises.pdf (163.6 KB, 6 views)
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Old 11-20-2007, 07:23 PM
Mari Mari is offline
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Gerry, would you describe a Roman chair sit-up for us?

Mari
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Old 11-20-2007, 08:50 PM
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I didn't know what a "Roman Chair" was. I googled and found this.
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Old 11-20-2007, 08:57 PM
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Iggy, what you found was a Roman chair back (hyper)extension, not a sit-up.

A Roman chair sit-up could be described as sit ups without a floor. -- using the same apparatus in the picture Iggy provided, or just using what we have at home.

Sit on a chair so that you don't have a backrest, or use a stool. Lock your feet under some fixed or heavy furniture, or have a partner hold them down. Lean back and down, your trunk going lower than the seat of your chair. If you're flexible enough, you might end up looking like an inverted "U" at the end of the move (don't bump your head on the floor!). Raise your trunk back up to the seated position. Repeat as you can.

Variations include where your arms are placed (folded in front, or hands behind head, etc.), or how far you bend forward after rising up, or twisting your trunk as, or after, you rise up.

Here's an illustration:

http://www.building-muscle101.com/ro...r_sit_ups.html

However, the way I do it is different from what is pictured in that I sit near a chair's edge so that when I'm at the extended position, the seat supports some of my lower back just above the buttocks. This also extends the lumbar spine more than in the illustration.

If you're just starting out and your abdominal and leg muscles are not strong enough, you may not be able to raise yourself back to starting position. I would think that's okay if all we're after is just the hyperextension of the lumbar area of the spine (for the back problem). Going into the extended position this way substitutes well for inversion, I think, or may even be better.

As with any exercise, apply extremely critical evaluation of your ability to perform it, particularly if doing it for the first time. If you can't go back up to starting position, don't force it. Have a partner assist you and just lower yourself slowly back to the extended position. If you can't do a single repetition, and all you're after is the effect on the back, you don't have to do any repetition. Just lower yourself slowly into the extended position and hold that position as long as you can. The exercise is mainly for the abs, but using it for the back, we may only need the extended position.

Gerry

Last edited by bifrost99; 11-20-2007 at 09:03 PM.
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Old 11-20-2007, 09:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iggy Dalrymple View Post
I didn't know what a "Roman Chair" was. I googled and found this.
Doesnít look like it would make a good computer chair.
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Old 11-21-2007, 06:29 PM
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Thanks Gerry. I've gotta get one of those Roman chairs. Do you like the simple fixed position chair or the multi-positional models?

http://www.back-exercises.com/Roman-Chair.html

I like the looks of this 45/90 degree Hyperextension Roman Chair by BodyCraft.
http://www.backtrainer.com/Roman-Cha...BodyCraft.html
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Old 11-21-2007, 10:57 PM
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from the exrx.net site.. a great resource:

Roman Chair Situp



and the reasons for the reputation:

Reason for caution

Quote:
Flexible hip flexors and strong abdominal muscles are particular important before performing the Decline Situp, Roman Chair Situp, Leg Raises and Hip Raises since the hip becomes fully extended.

As for having your feet anchored effecting movement from the origin rather than the insertion, this essentially does not effect its activation. The muscle contracts through out itself despite the end that moves (origin or insertion). Are the forces through the Latissimus Dorsi some how different in pullup as compared to the pulldown? Your old physics or biomechanics book will clarify the forces are indistinguishable. Incidentally, the crest of the pubis is often referred to as the origin of the Rectus Abdominis, anyway. Obviously, man made classification systems do not perfectly fit all constructs; these semantics merely propitiate rhetorical arguments.
In a horizontal position, the anchoring of the feet will allow you to stabilize the lower body without extending the legs to counter the leverage and momentive forces of the upper body during its extended leverage in the lower position. Remember when the hips are extended the Psoas is activated more. In an incline motion, the anchoring of the feet prevents you from sliding back, or falling on your head.



If a client has such weak abdominal that their psoas is pulling on the back, corrective exercise should be performed months before they start on intense hip flexor exercises. To say sit ups are bad, or any other exercise is bad is a gross over-generalization.
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Old 11-22-2007, 03:19 AM
bifrost99 bifrost99 is offline
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Default No need

Quote:
Originally Posted by Iggy Dalrymple View Post
Thanks Gerry. I've gotta get one of those Roman chairs. Do you like the simple fixed position chair or the multi-positional models?
Actually, I don't have a Roman chair! at least not those "formal" pieces of gym equipment.

I just sit sideways on a chair so that the backrest is to my side (so I can lean back way below seat level), put my feet under a book case in my bedroom, or a sofa in our living room, and simply go into my moves.

Nothing special.

In contrast to the demo of the exercise provided by scorpiotiger, I don't support my head with my hands, and I lean all the way back before rising back to sitting position. This gives me more of the inversion effect. When I feel like it, I even relax in the extended position for several seconds, feeling the pull on my spine all the way up to my head (because I don't support my head with my hands) -- inversion? -- before rising up.

In addition, as I mentioned, I sit near the edge of the chair so that when fully extended, part of the seat supports my lower back. In the demo, there's absolutely no support on the lower back in whatever position. I tried doing that and my thighs are hit more than my abs, and I could not bend back as far. So I prefer the way I do it, hitting my abs more directly and allowing for greater back extension.

(And Iggy, all those models are for back extensions, not sit-ups, though hitting the back with those exercises would also develop the lumbar arch. While those Roman chairs can be used for sit ups, you might want to consider something more like this (click here).)

Gerry

Last edited by bifrost99; 11-22-2007 at 03:53 AM.
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Old 07-24-2008, 08:56 AM
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Default Help..

I have 4 deteriorating discs in my lower back. This looks like it would kill me in the back! Is this what this exercise is for? If I knew it would help I'd sure give it a try but if its not for what ails me I'll be in pain for days.
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