Monday, 27 September 2010

Exercises to Minimize or Prevent Pain

 by Jon Miller - Certified Personal Trainer American Council on Exercise (ACE)


The information contained herein is believed to be true and accurate; however we make no guarantees concerning the veracity of any statement. The writer assumes no responsibility, expressed or implied, due to misuse or misinterpretation of the information or methods used, or for any damage or injury that may occur due to the suggestions and information offered.

Detailer s Age Demographic

16-25: 25%
26-35: 28%
36-45: 20%
46-55: 16%
56 -65: 8%
65 plus: 1.5%

Back Pain

Back pain is a common condition amongst both young and older detailer’s and it’s the largest cause of work-related absence. Back pain can be very uncomfortable, but it is not usually serious. It can affect anyone, regardless of age, but it is more common in people who are between 35 and 55 years of age. In the majority of cases, the cause of back pain can be linked to the way that the bones, muscles and ligaments in the back work together.

[About 25% of Americans are affected by back pain in a given year, and they spend more time at the doctor's office for back pain than for any other medical condition except high blood pressure and diabetes. Instead of jumping for pills or surgery, people with chronic back pain should first seek out a thorough functional assessment from a qualified trainer with experience in sports medicine.] 2

When bones in your back get out of alignment, it irritates the nerves, which then creates problems with the muscles, tendons, etc. Back pain is most common among people who are out of shape or overweight; especially weekend detailer’s who engage in vigorous activity after sitting around all week. And as you might guess, obesity stresses the back.

The American College of Physicians and American Pain Society guidelines for treatment of lower back pain recommend that patients and doctors consider spinal manipulation, either by a chiropractor or a massage therapist for patients with back pain.

The structure of the back

The back is a complex structure consisting of-

• 24 small bones (vertebrae) that support the weight of your upper body and form a protective canal for the spinal cord.

• Shock-absorbing discs (intervertebral fibro cartilage) that cushion the bones and allow the spine to bend.

• Ligaments that hold the vertebrae and discs together.

• Tendons to connect muscles to vertebrae.

• A spinal cord, which carries nerve signals from the brain to the rest of the body.

• Nerves.

• Muscles.

The lower part of your back is known as the lumbar region, which is made up of five vertebrae (L1 – L5) the lumbar supports the entire weight of your upper body (plus any extra weight that you are carrying), and it is under constant pressure, particularly when you are bending, twisting and lifting.

Lower back pain

Lower back pain, also known as lumbago, affects seven out of 10 people at some time in their lives. Lower back pain is a pain or ache on your back, in between the bottom of your ribs and the top of your legs. Lower back pain can come on suddenly or gradually, and is sometimes the direct result of a fall or injury. The complex structure of your lower back means that even small amounts of damage to any part of the lumbar region can cause a lot of pain and discomfort.

Pain in your lower back is usually a symptom of stress or damage to your ligaments, muscles, tendons or discs. In some cases, if a nerve in your back is pinched or irritated, the pain can spread to your buttocks and thighs, this is known as sciatica.

Sciatica is the name given to any sort of pain that is caused by irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in your body. It runs from the back of your pelvis, through your buttocks, and all the way down both legs, ending at your feet.

When something compresses or irritates the sciatic nerve, it can cause a pain that radiates out from your lower back and travels down your leg to your calf. Sciatic pain can range from being mild to very painful

Although ice and heat (the use of cold and hot compresses) have never been scientifically proven to quickly resolve low back injury, compresses may help reduce pain and inflammation and allow greater mobility for some individuals.

In most cases of back pain your back will heal itself, and staying active and continuing with your usual activities will normally promote healing. Back pain will usually last from a few days to a few weeks. Pain that lasts longer usually clears up after about six weeks. However, in severe and persistent cases of back pain, it is important to seek medical advice so that a correct diagnosis can be reached and appropriate treatment given.

Treatment for back pain will usually depend on the underlying cause of the condition. For example, pain that is caused by some types of arthritis may be treated using specific medicines.


There are many causes of back pain, including poor posture, weak back and stomach muscles, and misalignments to name a few. Many of these causes can actually be attributed to one force we must all battle: gravity.

Inversion therapy puts gravity to work for you by placing your body in line with the downward force of gravity. Using your own body weight as a natural form of traction, inversion elongates the spine by increasing the space between the vertebrae, relieving the pressure on discs, ligaments and nerve roots. Less pressure means less back pain.

By hanging upside down on an Inversion Table or inverted hanging frame you reverse the compression on your spine caused by gravity every time you sit, stand or walk. It also reduces back pain and rejuvenates the entire body, helping to relax your back so that the muscles stretch out from being constricted and tightened. Virtually every study ever done has shown a noticeable decrease in pain for the people using it.

[People who have heart disease, high blood pressure, eye diseases (such as glaucoma), or are pregnant are at higher risk for the dangers related to inversion therapy and should consult their doctors about it first. Such people would have to progress very slowly, starting at very light levels of inversion. The first time anyone tries inversion therapy with gravity, they should be sure to have someone standing by, in case assistance is required to get out of the apparatus, or if health problems are experienced] [1]

Exercise Program

Weak muscles lead to back pain; the following exercises are specifically directed toward strengthening the back muscles? Remember, however, to discuss any exercise program with your physician before starting it.

While doing these exercises don't forget to breathe normally throughout the workout routine. Pay close attention to the fact that you don't hold your breath and continue the exercises. Doing so can cause your blood pressure to rise substantially, which goes against the whole idea behind doing these exercises. Also, start with only 5 repetitions in the first couple of weeks. Slowly, you can add more repetitions as the weeks go by

Core strength refers to the muscles of your abs and back, and their ability to support your spine to keep your body stable and balanced. Since detailing involves a lot of twisting and rotating, core strength plays a critical part as a strong core helps work for longer periods with less fatigue. If your typical core workout consists of crunches or sit-ups, you will find that adding exercises for the chest, shoulders, back, hips and gluts will improve your overall strength, cardiovascular exercises will help to improve stamina

Strengthen Your Core

The muscles in you midsection is where your core strength lies. Your abdominal, hips, and lower back aka your core muscles. Three exercises to strengthen your midsection (a good idea if you are re-starting an exercise regime.

1. Side Bridge

Lie on our side with your forearm on the floor under your shoulder to prop you up, and your feet stacked. Contract your midsection and press your forearm against the floor to raise your hips until your body is in a straight line from your angles to your shoulder. Hold this position for 15 – 45 seconds and then repeat on the other side.

2. Plank with Diagonal Arm Lift

Assume a modified sit-up position with your feet shoulder width apart, forearms on the floor. Keeping your torso steady, raise your right arm forward and to the right, so that it points to two o’clock; hold for two seconds, then lower and repeat with your left arm, raising it to ten o’clock; that’s one rep.

3. Single-Leg Lowering

Lie on your back with both legs extended straight up. Keeping your legs straight, lower your left leg until your foot is two or three inches off the floor. Return to the starting position, and then repeat with your right leg; that’s one rep

Strengthen Your Back

a) Back Extension - Prone

1. Lie on your stomach

2. Prop yourself up on your elbows extending your back

3. Start straightening your elbows, further extending your back

4. Continue straightening your elbows until a gentle stretch is felt

5. Hold for 15 seconds

6. Return to the starting position

7. Repeat 10 more times

b) Cat Stretch

1. Get down on the floor on your hands and knees.

2. Push your back up towards the ceiling (like a cat arching it's back)

3. Continue arching until you feel a gentle stretch in your back

4. Hold for 15 seconds

5. Return to the starting position

6. Repeat 10 more times

c) Pelvic Tilt

1. Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor

2. Exhale and press the small of your back against the floor

3. Hold for 15 seconds

4. Return to the starting position

5. Repeat 10 more times

Strengthening and stretching the muscles of your back

d) Wall Slides

1. Stand upright with your back against a wall and feet shoulder width apart

2. Slowly bend your knees, sliding your back down the wall, for a count of five until your knees are bent at a 45 degree angle. (Do not bend too much further than this as it will cause increased strain on your knees)

3. Hold this position for 5 seconds

4. Begin straightening your knees for a count of five, sliding up the wall until you are fully upright with knees straight

5. Repeat the above steps five more times

6. Do these exercises three times per day

e) Prone Leg Raises

1. Lie flat on your stomach

2. Lift one leg off the ground 2 feet into the air

3. Hold for 10 seconds

4. Relax

5. Repeat with opposite leg

6. Repeat the above steps five more times

7. Do these exercises three times per day

f) Supine Leg Raises

1. Lie flat on your back

2. Lift one leg off the ground 2 feet into the air

3. Hold for 10 seconds

4. Relax

5. Repeat with opposite leg

6. Repeat the above steps five more times

7. Do these exercises three times per day

g) Standing Back Stretch

1. Stand upright with feet shoulder length apart

2. Place your hands in the small of your back

3. Bend back slowly, as far as tolerated, while keeping your knees straight

4. Hold this position for 5 seconds

5. Relax

6. Repeat the above steps five more times

7. Do these exercises three times per day

A strong back relies on strong stomach muscles

h) Semi Sit- Ups

1. Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor

2. Raise you head and shoulders only off the floor

3. Hold for 10 seconds

4. Relax, returning head and shoulders to the floor

5. Repeat the above steps five more times

6. Do these exercises three times per day

Lumber Stabilization

Lumbar stabilization exercises are used to help strengthen the trunk and pelvic muscles of those suffering from chronic low back pain. By improving the strength, endurance, and control of these muscles, the muscular imbalances associated with low back pain can be improved.

Technique; the first step in stabilization exercises involves finding the bodies "neutral" position. This is where the low back is placed in its natural curvature posture and it should be a position that minimizes the patient's pain. After this position is found, the patient performs exercises that involve moving the arms and legs off the ground and into the air while holding the spine in the neutral position. The exercises are advanced as the patient improves.

Initially, a physical therapist should be present to guide patients through appropriate and individualized stabilization exercises. As always, consult with a physician before beginning any new exercise routine.


The quadriceps is the main muscle controlling the knee. For normal knee function it is essential that the quadriceps muscles remain strong and well coordinated. The stability of the knee largely depends on this muscle.

The quadriceps, along with the buttocks, is the main muscles which allow us to go up and down stairs, rise from a chair and walk normally. The quadriceps is the main muscle controlling the knee. For normal knee function it is essential that the quadriceps muscles remain strong and well co-ordinated. The stability of the knee largely depends on this muscle.

Lie with your leg out straight. Tense up the thigh muscles, trying to push to knee down and raise the heel. Hold that for a few seconds. Try not to tense up the buttock muscles; you should be able to see the muscles on the front of the thigh tensing up and the kneecap move

Knee Muscles

Lie on your stomach, keeping your thigh down, bend your knee as far as you easily can. This is more difficult because one of the knee muscles is tighter on your front.
This is just a list of the simplest exercises, for an injury or after a knee replacement. There are many other exercises but they need to be designed to fit with the knee problem concerned, so consult your physical therapist.

OTC Medication

Medications are often used to treat acute and chronic low back pain. Effective pain relief may involve a combination of prescription drugs and over-the-counter (OTC) remedies. Over-the-counter analgesics, including no steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (aspirin, naproxen, and ibuprofen), are taken orally to reduce stiffness, swelling, and inflammation and to ease mild to moderate low back pain.

Patients should always check with a doctor before taking drugs for pain relief. Certain medicines, even those sold over the counter, may conflict with other medications, may cause side effects including drowsiness, or may lead to liver damage.


1. WebMD -
2. Relieve Back Pain With Core Strength Training- By Gina Shaw and Michael W. Smith, MD
3. ACE Kick-Start Workout -

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