Posts Tagged ‘back pain’

Working out with Function First

Thursday, August 11th, 2016

null59191463 - businesswoman running on a treadmill. business concept
Once you take the time to think about it, it is easy to make the connection to how better health and fitness increases productivity and happiness at work. According to Chron.com stress impacts everything in your life, including memory and processing new information towards analytical situations. These stressors not only impact concentration, but can also result in costly mistakes in any career field. Furthermore, energy around an office is contagious and employees with low energy and high stress will negatively impact the office atmosphere as a whole.

In addition, when we don’t feel well we are more likely to call in sick, thus getting further behind on our work and, in turn, creating more stress. It is a vicious cycle. Encouraging employees to work out with specific goals of increased functionality and mobility will help them to alleviate stress and increase focus and productivity at work.

This is just one example of how working out with Function First changed a life.

Before I found Function First, I was working out on a regular basis. However, I wasn’t seeing the results I was expecting. I still struggled with movements like squats and deadlifts. Lifting and running were painful so even when I attempted a solid workout, I often felt discouraged or unmotivated. I felt upset and annoyed with myself. I began to believe that working out was always going to be painful and started to wonder why I even bothered. Instead of the sense of happiness and stress relief that I wanted to get from working out, I was feeling more and more stress and fatigue after each session.

This frustration and stress combined with the pressures I was already experiencing at work. I was losing ground and I knew something had to change; not just for my own self-image, but also for my ability to grow my company and support my employees.

Enter Function First

After my first session I saw improvement and was already feeling like working out was something I wanted to do again. I was quickly shown how important it was to have specific, mindful goals during each workout. I gained an understanding that when a movement was painful, there was a reason and a solution. Staying focused on the proper movements quickly increased my mobility.

Soon the pain I had felt while running, lifting, and squatting began to disappear. I began to believe in myself again and began to believe that I was capable of working out in meaningful and productive ways. I was finally seeing the results I was after.

This energy carried over into my professional life as owner of SD Equity Partners. I was surprised to find that I was not only feeling less pain when working out, but was also feeling great throughout my day. The stress relief that workouts once provided me had returned. Currently, I find that I am better able to focus on my work to become a positive influence on those around me. I am able to find joy in my tasks and pride in my own creativity. This energy has also seemed to increase the enjoyment of the people that I work with. My positivity is contagious.

Looking back on my progress I cannot believe how much time I spent agonizing and putting myself through stressful workouts. The problem was that I was not working out with a clear goal in mind. My efforts were unfocused and the pain I felt just increased my stress and lessened my abilities to focus during my work day.

Thanks to the unique guidance of Function First I am not only stronger and feeling less pain, I am now more focused and productive in the office and growing my business more than ever before.

Written by:

Evan Harris
SD Equity Partners – Founder and Owner
Evan Harris

X-Factor plank

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

Ever wonder about some of the different AND effective things we do with the X-Factor workouts? Here is a little sample:

Ron Askeland’s Function First testimonial.

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

Ron Askeland has been a Function First client since 1997. Why? Because the benefits of his programming continue to give him a return on his investment. Ron is a top engineer for Hewlett Packard and often travels the globe for work. And as a dedicated recreational athlete, he knows that if he does not stay on top of his program, the chronic back and neck problems will return. Hear what Ron has to say in his own words:

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Does being overweight cause osteoarthritis?

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

Lower back pain is only second to the common cold for missed works days in the United States. Eighty-five percent of people in the industrialized world will have an episode of debilitating back pain in their life. Many of these sufferers have symptoms related to osteoarthritis of the spine. According to the Arthritis Foundation, forty six million people in the United States are affected by osteoarthritis (OA).

The Arthritis Foundation defines OA as:
Osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease in which the cartilage that covers the ends of bones in the joint deteriorates, causing pain and loss of movement as bone begins to rub against bone. It is the most prevalent form of arthritis.

The hips, knees and shoulders are also common areas of OA along with the spine. When these joints are painful they will interfere with many exercise programs. Since the hips and knees are load bearing joints for walking, standing, etc., they assume a larger percentage of the impact forces during any upright activity. Reviewing any of the literature on osteoarthritis (OA), you will inevitably see being overweight and obesity commonly listed as “causes” of OA.

From a biomechanical standpoint, I do not believe that excess body weight causes OA. I do believe additional body weight can magnify other mechanical factors leading to OA. If we think about the cartilage as wearing out on the bones, the misconception is that it is the entire bone. Instead it is often an area on the bone that is subject to excessive friction relative to the other parts. I often describe this to my clients as a “hot spot” in the joint. If you apply more pressure to that spot (i.e. more body weight), it will certainly be more sensitive than if less weight were applied. Reducing a person’s body weight does reduce the pressure on the hot spot, but it does not reduce the hot spot itself.

The overweight person often says “I can’t exercise because it hurts”. We say, “It hurts because you don’t exercise”. The caveat here is first defining the type of exercise we are referring to. Far too many people who don’t exercise lump all forms of exercise into one big category. And if you speak to any fitness professional, we can break exercise into multiple categories. These can include but are not limited to:

• Corrective exercise
• Flexibility exercise
• Mobility exercise
• Restorative exercise
• Strength training
• Aerobic conditioning
• Metabolic conditioning
• Sport specific exercise
• Mind/body exercise

For us, proper exercise would refer to a program that first influenced how the body moves. This would incorporate a corrective exercise program that improved joint mechanics to better distribute the forces in the joint. This also does not take away the hot spot but it does reduce the pressure on it and improves the overall function of the joint. This in turn reduces the pain and slows the progression of further degeneration.

Let’s use the knees for example. In our example the person has genu valgum (“knocked knees”). This may in part be congenital. But it is also a result of muscle and soft issue influences on the knee joints. The valgus position of the knee increases the pressure on the outer knee and decreases pressure on the inner knee. Therefore, the forces that should be shared on the inner and outer knee are much greater on the outer knee. This often results in accelerated degeneration to the inner aspect of the knee while the outer aspect remains normal or closer to normal.
valgus knee stress
(Illustration credit: Ajit Chaudhari, PhD, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Orthopaedics Ohio State University)

Common imbalances associated with genu valgum are tightness of the hip ADDuctors and iliotibial band. In addition, the hip ABductors are weak relative to the adductors and do not resist the pull of the femur toward the midline of the body which leads to the valgus position of the knee. In many cases the foot and ankle are involved as well.

Addressing the body’s movement patterns through the muscles and connective tissue you improve the joint mechanics and decrease the stresses that precede and/or perpetuate the degeneration. Both sides of the knee joint now “share” the forces a little more thus removing some pressure from the “hot spot”.

This will allow the overweight individual to get all the other benefits associated with the exercise experience including:

• strength
• increasing energy
• improving sleep
• controlling weight
• decreasing depression
• improving self-esteem.
• combating osteoporosis
• reducing the risk of heart disease

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative process and the result of long term wear and tear. A strategy of ice and medications only douses the fire but never touches the fuel. And as long as you are moving the way you have always moved, the fuel will continue to build up. Changing the way you move through corrective exercises can cut off the fuel line to that fire.

See how Function First’s corrective exercise program can help you by clicking here.

Study: Employer Advice and Devices Don’t Prevent Worker Back Pain

Friday, January 4th, 2008

Here is a link to an article in the periodical, Occupational Hazards. It summarizes a study that looked at 18,000 employees from 11 different studies.

Click here for the article

The following is from the last section of the article and is right in line with the Function First Approach:

“This study confirms that much of what is happening at the workplace is well-intentioned but probably pointless,” said Christopher Maher, associate professor of physiotherapy at the University of Sydney in Australia, who was not involved with the study.

According to Maher, regulatory agencies as well as employers make the mistake of concentrating on equipment and policies that don’t work such as back belts, lifting devices and workplace re-design and fail to focus on the “only known effective intervention,” which is exercise.

“We also know that exercise has health benefits beyond prevention of back pain, so you are getting two health benefits (or more) for the price of one,” Maher added.

The hip bone’s connected to the back bone

Monday, December 10th, 2007

The following is an article Zac Marshall, one of our Corrective Exercise Specialist wrote for out newsletter. It got such great feedback from our subscribers, I thought I would post it for anyone else to read.

We regularly send out very informative articles for the general population as well as health professionals. Be sure to subscribe to our newsletters if you have not already.

“The Hip Bone’s Connected to the . . . Back Bone”

By Zac Marshall

We’ve all heard that well-known children’s song about bones: “The foot bone’s connected to the . . . leg bone” and so on. Little do we realize, , the wisdom of this song as it relates to our health. Over the last few decades, one of the most significant principles health and fitness professionals have come to discover about the body is, as this song states, the connectivity of the musculoskeletal system. If we humble ourselves and learn from this simple children’s song, the key to much of our pain and physical limitation may become clearer.

Let’s apply the “Bone’s Song” to the number one reason people visit the doctor behind the common cold: lower back pain. As the “Bone’s Song” develops a key line appears: “The hip bone’s connected to the . . . back bone.” Contrary to this line, when most people think about back pain, there is s common misconception: they only look at the back. The wisdom of the “Bone’s Song” tells us that to understand the back, we must first understand the hip, the back’s closest ally.

Traditionally, the hips have often been an ignored piece of the low back pain puzzle. After all, if the hips aren’t hurting, they’re not a part of the problem . . . right? Wrong.. To better understand the low back pain mystery, it is essential that we look to unveil all the possible culprits behind the symptoms. The possible culprits to low back pain are many, including the feet and ankles; the knee, the upper back, the shoulders, and even the neck. But what we can be certain that if the hips aren’t working, the back is hurting.

There are several reasons why the hips are so commonly connected to low back pain. For one, the hips and the low back are direct neighbors. Thus, when the hip misbehaves, the low back is one of the first areas affected. To make matters worse, the hips have a tremendous amount of responsibility in aiding general musculoskeletal function. Due to their large muscles the hips are appropriately referred to as the “cannon” of the body. The problem with this is, if the hip “cannon” is not contributing properly or adequately to body movement, the low back is left highly vulnerable to undesirable stress and strain.

The low back is left especially vulnerable when the hip experiences one of two problems. The first problem the hip may experience is not providing enough motion (inflexibility). The second problem is not providing enough strength. When either (or both) of these problems are present, the low back often takes a hit.

Let’s focus our attention on what can happen to the low back if the hips experience the first problem: inflexibility. In order for the body to move and function in space the way it was designed to do, the body requires hip flexibility in three dimensional space (front to back, side to side and inward and outward rotation). When the hip experiences limited motion in any one of these three dimensions, it’s neighbor, the low back, is commonly called in to make up for the hip’s limitations. When the low back is asked to make up motion for the hip’s limitation, excessive flexibility occurs in the low back. This excessive flexibility is typically coupled with excessive joint wear and eventually pain.

One common example of the low back achieving excessive flexibility (and pain) due to the hip’s inflexibility is the activity of walking. During walking, the hip muscles must lengthen in order for one leg to extend behind the other. If the hip muscles cannot lengthen sufficiently, the body still knows it needs to move one leg backward. In order to do this, the body will often resort to having the low back increase it’s movement (by arching) in order to aide the leg in moving backward. If this compensation occurs often enough, low back pain is likely to develop.

Another common example of the low back suffering as a result of limited hip motion is in swinging activities. During swinging, the body needs to “wind” up in order to reverse directions and accomplish the swing. The winding that is required is an accumulation of motion at all the major joints of the body, including the hip. If the hip is not able to wind up adequately due to inflexibility, once again the low back will often make up for the difference. In this case the low back will either attempt to rotate more than it is designed to or it will once again excessively arch in order to achieve the movement. Just as in the walking example, if this compensation is repeated often enough the tissues of the low back become irritated and cause pain.

It’s amazing to realize how much understanding we can gain when we take our eyes off the symptom and look elsewhere for the cause of pain. This process is as simple as repeating the words to a simple yet profound song: “The hip bones connected to the . . . back bone.”