Why does your leg hurt again?

There are hundreds and thousands of therapists and trainers, that, when confronted with your hurting hamstring or your terrorised tendon will simply dive in and rub that bit! Maybe they will give you a specific stretch and maybe a reassuring “There there, therapist kiss it better”

The reality is that your body is a global system and highly interrelated. Leg issues can be caused by core issues, how you chew your food can screw your knee!

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An anti-inflammatory vinaigrette for your tendons

According to the tales of “old housewives” and the assurances of hippies, food does have a supportive role in helping tendon pain resolve itself.

There are famous anti-inflammatory foods that, when combined with a healthier lifestyle and actually doing specific exercises, really, really helps.

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DWF: 3 day metabolic conditioning cycle, fixing pain, weight loss stuff!

The DWF, or daily workout and food is aimed at giving you some basic conditioning ideas. For some it’s the only thing they do, for many it’s just part of your training day.

Most days you also need to work on skill ( I often focus on gymnastics), Strength and therapy drills: I need always focus on my vulnerability to Plantar fasciitis, Patello-femoral and back pain. By having a sensible self applied therapy regime, you can stop the problems before they start.

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Muted Hip Function

Effective exercise can generate powerful  huge forces  if they are initiated controlled and dominated by the hip.

Many untrained athletes  have a muted hip which  creates postures and mechanics that reduce power output, promotes postures and mechanics that are considered by  many  to be unsound.

In simple terms the Muted Hip Function (MHF) results from the legs  compensating for the failed of the hip, in effect using leg extension  to compensate for non existent hip extension.

According to the Crossfit Journal the causes and consequences of MHF include but are not limited to:

• structurally disadvantaged spinal posture

• low glute recruitment

• low hamstring recruitment

• pelvis abandoning the spine and chasing the legs

• centre of gravity shifting dramatically backward

• centre of balance shifting toward toes

• knee experiencing unsound shear force

• leg extension being the only productive effort

• hip extension not being possible with low hip angle

• pelvis rotating the wrong way

The cure is deliberate and focused training. Thats why you probably need a trainer like me. Why not join the mailing list a get useful information

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Is Acne bacteria connected to back pain?

The paper by  Hanne B. Albert et al “Antibiotic treatment in patients with chronic low back pain and vertebral bone edema (Modic type 1 changes): a double-blind randomized clinical controlled trial of efficacy throws up a fascinating possibility. That some back pain and sciatica is  caused by a pathogen and as such, can be treated by antibiotics .

The pathogen that could be causing this is Propionibacterium acnes.

If you think you recognise the “acne” bit. You’d be correct. The stuff that ruins your teenage years and gives you acne!
As Dr long in his article  “The Murky world of Mordic Changes” . says “there will always be a proportion of our patients who simply don’t respond to our care…….Could there be something far more ‘pathological’ that might perpetuate lower back pain”
To understand this issue you need to  vaguely understand “mordic changes”. These are changes in the bones marrow of the vertebral body either side of a damaged disc. In stage 1 changes these areas have increased levels of pro inflammatory cytokines and increased levels of innervation

“Propionibacterium acnes bacteria secrete propionic acid, which has the capacity to dissolve fatty bone marrow and bone. We hypothesize that diffusion of propionic acid from the disc into the vertebrae causes the Modic changes. Similarly, as increased TNF-alpha and the growth of PGP-5 unmyelinated nerve fibres have been reported in Type 1 Modic changes, with the inherent slowness of these pathological processes perhaps explaining the delayed onset of improvement observed in this study”.(Albert et al)

Needless to say, shooting up clients with lots of antibiotics has drawbacks!

“High-dose long-term antibiotics should not be prescribed without due consideration. Clearly in a condition as chronic lower back pain there is a potential community as well as individual hazard if used indiscriminately. However, as many patients, as in this trial, are on sick leave, at risk of losing their jobs and have a high analgesic intake, we suggest that antibiotics, when applied along the lines of this MAST protocol may be appropriate in this subgroup, i.e. chronic lower back pain with Modic Type 1 changes. We do not support the proposition that all patients with lumbar pain should have a trial course of antibiotics. The criteria in this study were very clear: chronic lower back for more than 6 months, Modic Type 1 changes in the adjacent vertebrae following a previous disc herniation. As we do with other drugs, we rely on our fellow colleagues to use clear evidence-based criteria and to avoid excessive antibiotic use.”

However antibiotic issues to one side, this treatment is mired in controversy .  Lars Bråten authored a report totally failing to find any beneficial effect.

“Efficacy of antibiotic treatment in patients with chronic low back pain and Modic changes (the AIM study): double blind, randomised, placebo controlled, multicentre trial” (click here for report ) tested patients with chronic low back pain and Modic changes at the level of a previous disc herniation. For three months they were treated  with amoxicillin. It  did not provide a clinically important benefit. These  results do not support the use of antibiotic treatment for chronic low back pain and Modic changes

I note though that that Albert experiment (Pro) used amoxicillin–clavulanate and the Braten report (Anti) used Amoxicillin. Im not clever enough to state whether this would have made any difference.
So, keep an eye on that research!
If you want to keep up to date this back pain and back pain issues join our mailing list

The big warning.
Some back pain is really serious: check your RED FLAGS by clicking here 


Smart phones useage mAy be screwing with your health

Maybe this isn’t the headline , or discovery,  of the century , but smart phones could lead to poor forward head posture, poor rounded shoulders and poor breathing.
Now its not as if the phone jumps out of the package and puts you in a combined head lock  and choke hold,  but it might as well: check out this new report “The effect of smartphone usage time on posture and respiratory function” by Jung et al  smart phones and breathing.
The big take home is this “The result of this study showed that prolonged use of smartphones could negatively affect both, posture and respiratory function”.  Wow.  Modern day scientists  are amazing!
What a lovely phone. I wonder why my neck and back hurts and I cannot breath properly anymore
The truth is this. Using your mobile phone now and then, wont hurt you (unless you walk into a lamp post). You can also  sort of ignore those hippy therapists as  poor posture, as such, wont hurt you. We all know people with disgusting posture who have never had a day of  postural pain in their lives.
However, “postural stress” as used in  advanced torture regimes simply takes a bad posture and makes you hold it for hours. The Scavengers Daughter  was device that held you in a stooped posture for hours and was very effective as a torture.
postural stress
As always,  it’s how much “bad”  you take before you start hurting.
Strangely the Backaholic Back Pain management course has a  specific lesson on self  torture techniques. Its sort of bazaar!
If you want more  back pain tips on information on when the Backaholic course will be released, do join our mailing list.

The big warning.
Some back pain is really serious: check your RED FLAGS by clicking here 

Understand your pain

Underpinning every psychological approach to back pain is education.
It’s seen as crucial that you understand the mechanisms of pain within your body. So here is a super simple introduction to the basics of pain. I started teaching in our kitchen:

We have that basic banana approach. We can now build up to a bit more of a technical  overview. You’ll see, I got kicked out of the kitchen, into the bathroom!

now, its up into the brain! We were relocated to the bedroom

Its back to the bathroom to remind ourselves about what switches nociceptive neurons on and off

back into the bedroom to look at “inhibitory interneurons” and “enkephalins”

Helping you understand how pain works  is certainly  the approach used by  Dr Sarno in his TMS (Tension Myositis Syndrome)programme  and  Dr Schubiner in his MBS  ( Mind Body Syndrome) programme. I  just think our educational process is a bit funnier!
The Backaholic course should be ready in late August/early September, so if you want to fix your back pain, do sign up for our newsletter so you know when its available! Obviously we will send out lots of handy hints and tips between then and now.

The big warning.
Some back pain is really serious: check your RED FLAGS by clicking here