Episode #181: Why Your Back Hurts

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In this Feb 1, 2012 free audio podcast: Why Your Back Hurts. Also: a functional obstacle course, is hot yoga good, fuelling for a mid-day race, drinking only when thirsty, how to know when to end a work out, help for nerve damage, lifting with scoliosis, and training for wilderness first aid.

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Listener Q&A:A donate button that reads - keep the podcasts coming

Audio Question from Kumar:
Wants to know how to solve his lower back pain.

~ In my response to Kumar, I mention www.runwithnopain.com

Audio Question from Kent:
Looking for ideas for an obstacle course based on real fitness principals.

Audio Question from Megan:
Wants an opinion on Bikram Yoga.

~ In my response, I link to this Huffington Post article on Yoga and Weight Loss.

Audio Question from “Nooner”:
Looking for fueling advice for a 70.3 that starts at noon.

Dan wrote:
dr. noakes says to drink when you're thirsty. makes sense. no reason to drink more than your body needs from a hydration standpoint. but what about reducing the risk of rhabdo and acute renal failure in endurance events? i'm an ultrarunner training for the leadville 100 this summer and i'd hate to wind up in the hospital because i didn't drink enough during my race. i can see a benefit in this situation to drink beyond my basic hydration needs.

~ In my response I mention the article “Athletes: Obey Your Thirst“.

Angel says:
How do I know If I am working out enough or to much? Most times, when the workout video ends (The Daily Burn – where I found Ben) or I finish what I am doing, even though I am trembling, I want to do more. Is the trembling saying that's enough? Aren't I suppose to go till failure? Often if I work out that a.m. I want to work out again p.m. But I hear things about over training etc. I don't know where the line is. Should I go till I am a puddle in the floor or stop when the video stops or the written sets are done? How do other people judge?

~ In my response to Angel, I talk about Rest Wise.

Robert asks:
20 years ago, as a weightlifter, I herniated a disc and a pinched sciatic nerve resulted in severe leg nerve pain and foot drop. Surgery and PT got rid of the pain and most of the foot drop to the point where I can walk and run but not do too well moving my toes or lifting my foot against weights. Now as a triathlete, this limits me in two ways — 1) in the affected leg my leg strength, particularly in the calf, ankle and foot, is weak. This affects balance and eg cycling power. 2) at higher speeds of running, my foot can’t keep up with my cadence and tires quickly. Beyond the normal strength training and PT exercises, do you think there is any way of stimulating nerve regeneration, which is the source of the problem. I realize this is the holy grail of addressing paralysis, and I am 20 years into this injury, but I was thinking that with all your research perhaps you have come across supplements or other promising techniques that help with nerve damage resulting in muscle weakness.

~ In my response to Robert, I recommend www.shopcompex.com and also my recent article about psychostimulants.

Colin asks:
When I was in my teens, I was diagnosed with moderate scoliosis in my lower back and had to wear a brace for a couple years. I'm now 31, and I haven't had any real issues since then despite keeping an active lifestyle that includes running, swimming, weightlifting, skiing, and tennis. The only time I feel discomfort is when I try to perform traditional “main lifts” that place stress on my lower back, like deadlifts and any weight-bearing squats. I don't want to hurt my back, but I also don't want to miss out on the benefits of these kinds of full-body movements. Do you have any suggestions for alternatives? Any help would be much appreciated!

Tommy wrote:
Does your weight affect your power output on a stationary bike? I know it affects your power output climbing hills, but how so on a stationary bike? For example if I'm setting up my weight on a cycle-ops is it only for calorie expenditure?
Also, what's with the deal with professional cyclist freezing their bodies before races? Is this an anomaly, or is this a new pre-race “warm-up?”

~ The article at Outside Online.

Ed wrote:
I am working on becoming a trainer for wilderness first aid. It will include search and rescue and getting the injured person to an extraction point. Occasionally Very Physical. My question is, in an effort to be in better shape than the students, how should I train and what should I be doing in terms of nutrition? I was hiking 3 miles every other day in the hills in our area with a 40 lbs pack. This training helped out a lot with a two week course I went to. I'm 49 and in pretty good shape but want to know more about dietary needs for strenuous hiking. My knees don't do well with running but the hiking works out OK.


Prior to asking your question, PLEASE be considerate and do a search in upper right hand corner of this website for the keywords associated with your question. 90% of the questions we receive have already been asked and answered here at BenGreenfieldFitness.com!

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3 thoughts on “Episode #181: Why Your Back Hurts

  1. Ben says:

    There are new electrical stimulation units available that are specific to treating drop foot. They must be applied by a qualified physical therapist. The most likely place to run across one is in a rehabilitation center either in-patient or outpatient that specializes in stroke care and management. The research behind them and the results are both quite good. Worth pursing.

  2. Mike says:

    I was disappointed that you never mentioned the Foundation book & techniques by your recent guest, Dr. Eric Goodman. I know some of the back issues described in this podcast are possibly beyond the scope of the book, but nonetheless helpful.

    I bought the book almost immediately after hearing your podcast. I've dealt with back pain off and on for a few years, most recently tweaking it doing deadlifts. After just the first two weeks of using the exercises in the book, I was amazingly pain free. Now after 6 weeks, my back feels stronger and I don't fear heavy squats or deadlifts.

  3. Jake says:

    Active Release Technique is one of the best treatments for chronic back pain.

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